"You can't come on here with that thing!"
"No way! I need to get downtown!"
"Mm-mm." The large, black bus driver shook her head and held out her hand in the mudra of renunciation. "You cannot come onto my bus with that," and she pointed at Jacob's feet. "Take that off my bus."
Jacob stepped back gingerly to the curb, the door shut in his face and the MUNI hummed away. Goddamit. At least he was lucky enough to be on a line where a few of the shelters still had payphones. He hobbled kitty-corner across the street. Fifty cents?! Jesus! When did that happen? He ponied up the change and dialed.
"Becca, it's Jacob. Pick up, pick up, pick up, pick up, pick up, pick—"
"Jacob? Where are you? What is that noise?"
"It's traffic. I'm on Divis. Look, I gotta get downtown and take care of some tickets, but the bus drivers won't let me on the bus. Can you give me a ride?" And before she could say no, "Please, Becca? I mean it, I'll owe you one big-time. You won't have to wait; I can take the bus home. I just need to get down to City Hall before it closes."
"Tsk. Let me get dressed. Shit, man, what is it with you and Fridays, anyway? Where on Divis?" She sounded pissed, and would probably bitch him out the next three times she saw him, but dang, he didn't have cab fare, and listening to Becca was better than wearing the Boot for three days.
She kept him waiting almost an hour, so when he saw her roll up he jumped off the bus bench quick and shuffled into the street to meet her car.
She leaned across and unlocked the passenger door. "What the—where'd that come from?"
Jacob sat down and used his hands to lift his Booted foot into the car. "Where do you think? Damn Meter Man saw me on my way to the corner store and nabbed me for having too many tickets."
"I didn't know you had a car." One of Becca's bra straps looked twisted under her inside-out shirt. Jacob thought she smelled gamey. Way to spend the afternoon, Becca. You probably did it one more time before coming to get me, too, you bitch.
"I don't. But I've got five or six outstanding jaywalking tickets." Jacob jiggled his leg. "It was just bad luck he nabbed me." Damn, she was looking good. He remembered the afternoons they'd spent in bed, sex and coffee and cigarettes, a regular City cliche.
She sped off down McAllister. "You really shouldn't let those things pile up. If you kept them at four or under you wouldn't have to worry about getting the Boot." The car lurched to a halt. "Good luck getting that thing off."
"Thanks, Becca. I'll buy you a drink tonight at the show."
She flipped her hair. "If you can reach me through the crowd. See you there, Jake."