Mister Notwithabang… woke up late this morning. Forgoing his traditional tea and digestives (McVities), he ran to catch the bus. Though he made it to the bus stop in record time, with his book-bag swinging wildly behind him, the incoming bus did not stop, driving past without even a hint of slowing down. Whether this was because the bus could not slow down for fear of triggering an explosive, or because the bus driver figured that shortening the ride of the current passengers outweighed the happiness granted by stopping down for one rider, was unclear. The outcome was the same; despite his best efforts, Notwithabang… was late and getting later.

After a string of such disappointments, a bus driver finally honored his sense of duty (although he dearly hated doing so) and stopped at the glass alcove. Notwithabang… hastened aboard, but realized that there was nowhere to sit. Although he held on admirably, he was tossed to and fro, and as the bus lurched, he was thrown into one lady after the next. While they maintained their composure, pearls in place and hems pleated, their purse-dogs were less forgiving, yapping and snapping in chorus as our hero developed a series of bruises from the metal poles dotting the bus.

After much further jostling, he made it to his cross-street. Walking briskly to the train, he stepped into Starbucks, in the hope that some caffeine could buoy his lagging spirits. Returning to his predetermined route with newfound pluck, he made it to the train station in record time. Unerringly, he reached for his student transit pass, and deftly ran it through the reader at the turnstile. The light flashed and the mechanism beeped cheerily as it did every morning, so Notwithabang… went walking through… until the turnstile stopped him in his tracks with a dull “thunk.”

He tried his pass repeatedly, but he got little other than a red light and a hectoring “buzz” for his efforts. Walking over to the attendant’s booth, he explained his problem as best he could. As pleading and patient as he had made his case, he was unprepared for the gale-force sass he was met with in return.

“Don’t be telling me that! You used that card already. You is gonna have to wait eighteen minutes before you use it again. Don’t be trying to cheat me, now.”

He contemplated sitting around at the station for eighteen minutes. But he realized that he was already late, and furthermore, didn’t deserve to get ordered around. So he waited for another train to come in, and as a woman exited through the handicapped door, simply walked on through. As he left the escalator for the platform, he relaxed. He was finally going to make it to class, and he had managed to avoid getting mad at the lady in the booth. While she certainly wasn’t being charitable, he knew that if he made more of an argument, it would just drag both of them down.

“Attention! *Bleep!* Upper platform! White male, black shirt, black hair, book-bag! Upper platform! White male, black shirt, black hair, book-bag!” Imagine his surprise when he heard this pipe in over the loudspeaker. His hand started to tremble so violently that it sent a fine spray of coffee in either direction. But suddenly he realized that the same grand CTA, which hired the mean bus driver and the nasty booth lady, probably hired lazy security guards, too, and all was well. For the moment.