“YO! Sheila! You comin’?”
I could hear Jinx’s voice through my iPod Nano headphones. I looked back to see the five foot two, brown-skined, curly, dark haired Sheila standing on the platform in her black tights and yellow tank top. Looking at her feet, her yellow dunks matched quite nicely. Unconcerned with my stare, she shook her head at Jinx at response, with a thin smile than almost seemed to explain why she wasn’t aboard the 110 Islington Bus. But what did I care? She was just the girl told us to reach. Mandem were on board, ready to see what this Lakeshore jam had for us. That’s all I really cared about. “Aiight den. Call me when you reach.”
Jinx explained as he stuck his head back inside. I could tell Sheila not reaching was bothering him somewhat, but was too into the latest Cam’ron track to care.
“Go getcha wet wipes… go getcha wet wipes..”
Despite the loud bass, I somehow managed to hear Donut’s voice through the earbuds as the bus closes it doors as proceeded to pull out the Islington subway bus terminal.
“Nigga chill on that track, you’ve been bumping it non stop since we left the block.”
“Shut up bro,” I quickly responded, “because the second I put these down you’re all on them.”
Jinx laughed. So did Kickz. They all knew it was true. I continued to listen to Cam’s newest ish as the 110 began to pick up speed down Islington. Leaning my durag-tied head against the window pane, I paused the music for a minute and just admired the view. Wasn’t much, aside from a few bungalow houses and some parks, but it was a new part of Toronto I had never seen before. That’s what mattered to me. My nighttime view was disrupted with laughter from the back of the bus. Mandem had gone to sit with a few girls who, from the looks of their attire, looked like they were on route to the same destination as us, but I knew they weren’t.
“.. just reach yo. Like, what else are you really doing tonight? Watch ‘Pimp My Ride?'”
Everyone laughed. If there was one thing Donut could be counted on for, it was his laughter.
“Yo. Imagine there was a show, ‘Pimp My BUS?’ I’ll tell Xzibit straight. YO dawg, this driva need fi tek weh!”
The laughter soared. Donut had the right idea. I smiled to myself as I eavesdropped, thinking about the actual possibility of pimping out the transit tide experience. I looked around the bus and just tried to picture what I saw, but with Gucci leathered seats and Louis Vuitton railing poles. After about three minutes of luxury public transit daydreaming (though the time was 9:15pm), I coiled up my Nano headphones and proceeded to the back where the new bus chilling spot had clearly been established. I sat down across from Jinx who couldn’t help but stare at me with concerned eyes.
“Yo. You sure this is the right bus?”
RIght then, the bus stopped and the girls Donut and the rest of the crew had been chatting up, got up from their seats. and got off. I had barely noticed that the bus had turned off Islington.
“Ya dawg, I’m sure. 110.”
“Cus yo, my homegirl Brandy’s already there and she said as soon as the bus turns off Islington, we get off. And the jam is on LakeShore. Look outside, this is not LakeShore.”
My nigga was right. My mind immediately began to dive into an unfamiliar world of transit uncertainty because, like Donut and his laughter, the one thing I could be counted on was my keen sense of direction and transit knowledge.I was not looking forward to coming to a realization that I had made a mistake. Just then, Jinx’s cell rang. It was Sheila. Nervous about what the call might say regarding our journey, Jinx got up and stepped toward the front of the more or less, empty bus to take the call. Kickz seemed quite comfortable in this Champion hoodie and Adidas Stan Smiths. And unlike the girls from before, I also knew why his hands were tucked within the inner part of his hoodie. That was for the whole crew’s protection. I could almost see the blade’s tip poking through the cotton polyester, but I wasn’t worried about that. Not now. I looked at Donut who appeared somewhat confused as we both anticipated what Sheila had to say.
“… you’re there already? But how is that possible, we left before you.”
That’s when I knew I had made my first mistake as the crew GPS. The frustration in Jinx’s eyes grew. He hung up the phone, and then proceeded to walk toward the front of the bus. After a few brief words with the driver, he walked back toward us.
“Yo, what’s going on dawg?” Donut asked.
“We took the wrong bus,” Jinx explained, his eyes steadily focused on me.
“What? No we didn’t,” Donut blindly defended me, “the bus said 110 on it. This is the right one. Besides, Kiddz never makes a mistake.”
“Ya. This is the 110B. This doesn’t go to Islington and Lakeshore.”
By now, all three had directed their glaring eyes at me, as if my own pride now, shot down wasn’t enough.
“Yo. Nigga. Are you serious?” Donut was in disbelief.
“…There’s a 110B?” I asked sheepishly, trying to deflect some of the anger by my misinterpretation.
“Yes nigga. And we’re on it.”
Jinx was not happy. Neither was Donut. And now, neither was Kickz. Suddenly, the bus made a sharp right on what, looked like LakeShore Boulevard. I stood up, and attempted to stir up momentum that we were still able to attend the jam if we got off now and walked back.
“Nigga I’m not walking, are you crazy?” Donut was clearly not thrilled by the idea. “I just bought these Dub Zeros last week!”
“YA. FUCK THAT.” Kickz clearly had his mind made up. With the atmosphere of frustration building higher and higher, we sat back down until the bus pulled into the GO Station a minute later. We knew this was the last stop and, to release some tension, we got off in an attempt to figure out how to get back. Just then, I heard an unfamiliar voice talk in a familiar matter.
“If you boys wait for the streetcar here, that’ll take you to Islington and LakeShore. If you want some transfers, come up and get ’em before I leave.”
They’re couldn’t have been a happier moment. In a dash to the front, the four of us nearly stepped on each other’s shoes to get the extra transfers offered by the bus driver.
“Maybe this bus driva nah hafi tek weh afta all!” Donut exclaimed, with smiles from chubby cheek to chubby cheek. We got off and, watched our beloved 110B drive away into the summer night. It was now 9:35pm. Although somewhat comforted by the transfer, there was still an uneasiness in Jinx that I couldn’t quite pinpoint. Almost like he was waiting on something.
“Yo. You’re good?” I asked hesitantly, still unsure as to whether he was over the route mistake by me or not. After about thirty seconds of silence, he spoke.
“Yo. Gee just texted me. He said the Havenwood is POPPIN. He’s with Bones.” Now all four of us were circled together, unsure as to the crew’s next move.
“So what, you’re saying you want to roll to that instead?”
“Well, I would but, how do we get there from here? Like it’s already almost 10.” A thick silence cut through the air between the four of us for about thirty seconds. And then it hit me.
“YO. Is this Long Branch GO?” I blueted out, almost as a means of asking myself instead of the mandem.
“Ya,” Jinx answered in an unsure tone.
“Yo. The number 5 stops here bro! This can take us all the way up there!!”
“Ya, you’re right!” Donut seconded me. “Long Branch GO, it stops here!”
Building up excitement for our new plan, Jinx was still unsure. He had removed the tied durag from his gigantic puff of hair that he had tied behind his head. The streetlight shone in such a way that his hesitant facial expression combined with his light-skinned complexion made him seem almost sad, though I knew he wasn’t. Feeling obligated to make up for my most recent transit blunder, I reached for my Motorola flip phone inside my faded Akademiks jeans. I searched the grounds for the Sauga stop number and proceeded to call in the number to determine the arrival of the next number 5 bus. Stepping away form the crew for about two minutes, I returned with the most utter excitement.
“FIVE MINUTES NIGGA! FIVE MINUTES!!”
“PROPER!” Kickz said, still maintaining his G stance so as not to scuff his Stan Smiths.
“Ok seen!” Donut was happy too.
Before we even got to talking about he were going to enjoy the night, the bus rolled up in early fashion. Pulling out our outdated transfers from earlier in the day, we boarded the bus with excitement Michael Jordan would have been surprised by if he had seen it the day he drained the fade way over Russell for his last ring. Getting comfortable on our renowned Mississauga Transit bus seats, the talk about what crews were there, what niggas were most likely not going to be there and what bitches we were going to see was non stop. Suddenly, we were interrupted by Jinx’s cell phone ringing. It was Sheila. As before, he stepped away to take the call. He returned less than a minute later and the sign of relief from the face. Almost as if the tension I had noticed since the station as suddenly been removed.
“Yo,” Jinx said as he sat back down.
“What’s poppin dawg?” Donut asked, still full of excitement.
“The LakeShore jam just got shot up. Sheila just told me.”
The air went still. We all looked at each other for a few seconds before smiling.
“SEE. TOLD YOU DAWG. EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON.”
“Yo, Kickz. You couldn’t have said it better my nigga,” I replied. Jinx threw on his classic smirk that allowed me to recognize him as my nigga for the first time that evening.
“See?” Donut remarked, “even when he fucks up with his GPS, my nigga Kiddz is still on point! Yo. Respect dawg, for helping me dodge a bullet!”
We all laughed. Just then, my phone buzzed. It was a text from Denise. Under normal circumstances, I would have left it there for about an hour before reading, but thinking back to last week when her even, thick, lightly glossed pink lips and my body had close to three hours in inseparable moments, I had to read it now.
“Come get these pussy thirsty ass niggas off me. I’m at Havenwood.”
If was definitely going to be a good night.
An excerpt from ASS: A Smart Story. Ch. 3: A Summer of Sin