Fred sat on the bench outside the Greyhound station.
He rolled a cigarette meditatively with his dark-stained carpenter’s hands. His eyes were full of calm intensity. Lividly low, subtly strong, his thin frame a mellow wire seated in the dim evening light.
Brent was a bright-faced young man conservative in speech, outlook and dress. Sure of himself, peninsular, of the herd but at its head. Pious, happy, set smooth and strong upon his path. He did not smoke. A Baptist. Judged, but like a good Christian kept his judgments to himself. He was righteous in the realistic sense of the word. The true sense. He looked at me like I was some dangerous novelty, a big wave threatening to send his way a little salty spray.
The bus was empty but for us three. A cavern black except for the lights, the lamps and neons and moonbeams, the yellows and reds and jades and whites all flickering and flashing organic electric.
We talked. On the bus, at the ferry station, on the boat, afterwards back on the bus, all the way to my destination – the glorious and grisly down-town of Vancouver. Sitting on the blue ferry seats, not like the strangers we were but instead like best friends. Myself dipping plain whole wheat bread into a jar of peanut butter, Fred eating his grandmother’s homemade rooster stew, and Brent chowing down on a chicken burger and fries from the onboard White Spot. His burger looked so good I went and got one for myself once the jar of peanut butter had been reduced to the point where each dip I made resulted with my fingers surfacing mucky with the brown stuff.