The midnight bus across town. Nobody’s idea of fun. But beggars can’t be choosers and without her job Louise would have been a literal beggar as well as a metaphorical one. Accordingly, five nights a week found her crouched in a corner of the upper deck making herself as small and inconspicuous as possible.
Fridays were the worst. At the end of the week it was all an exhausted Louise could do to endure the scent of vomit and the sting of routine abuse from drunks and tired whores.
This particular Friday, the bus was full to groaning and she was squashed in next to a huge woman with pendulous breasts and galloping halitosis. Five youths in hoodies erupted up the stairs brandishing knives. Louise’s companion screamed before throwing herself to the ground and rolling around as if in a fit. The would-be steamers stared
“Woss wrong wiv ‘er?”
One stepped in for a closer look and the jerking woman set her teeth in his calf, gnawing on him as if he were a chicken drumstick. He screamed and dropped his knife, too shocked to even kick out at her. His mates stared round-eyed.
“I’d watch that if I was you,” Louise ventured. “She probably has rabies.”
They turned and ran, falling over each other in their haste to be elsewhere.
The fat woman sat up and winked at Louise.
“Well done, love. I usually has to bite at least two…”