I caught the last 75 bus out of Ballard Friday night--it was a cold night, rain spitting, the wet streets overrun, for some reason, with ladies in skirts and heels.
Just after we turned off Market Street, a pair of twenty-something guys boarded the mostly empty bus. They sat up front on opposite bench seats, hunched over, faces pallid in the ghostly Metro lighting.
"What you don't want to do is mix ativan and dilaudid," one of the guys said. He had short dark hair and wore a hooded sweatshirt, keeping his fists jammed in the pockets.
The other guy--slender and bearded, with a tartan cap and a backpack--said softly, "I know a guy who took ativan, dilaudid and Chloraseptic, and now he can't remember an entire week."
Both stared at the floor for awhile.
"So if it comes to standing up for yourself, or leaving a party, what do you do?" This, abruptly, from sweatshirt guy.
"Oh, leave the party," tartan cap guy said, looking alarmed.
"What if the party's at your house?"
A pause. I closed my book, interested. Tartan cap guy started to answer. "Next stop, Greenwood Avenue," the driver intoned, over the intercom. Drowning out tartan cap guy.
Sweatshirt guy sat up, animated now. "If the party's at my house, I keep a baseball bat handy."
"A baseball bat--"
"Covered with duct tape," he added, swinging the imaginary bat.
Tartan cap guy was shaking his head. "No no. Call the authorities. You call the authorities immediately."
Sweatshirt guy hit the cord and stood up, shaking his head. "Nice talking to you. My name's Jay." They shook hands, and he left the bus, pulling up his hood and swaggering off into the night.