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Read the beginning of the story and find the hints at the main character’s profession and working experience
Outside the garage the air was chilled and the evening dark except for the light from the gas pumps. It revealed scattered specks of falling snow that would otherwise have been invisible. They touched the ground lightly, hesitated, then disappeared. Beyond the garage and out to the highway the darkness expanded wider and blacker, completely unbroken.
“That bloody thing will never get here”, he turned and said to the guy who had sold him the ticket. “It’s a half-hour late already.”
The fellow, held in the spell of the comic he was reading, didn’t bother to look up. He nodded slightly and mumbled in agreement.
“Damn bus. Never on time.” He turned and stared out the window again. The car’s horn demanding gas finally disturbed the attendant’s concentration. He brought the chair he was sitting on back to its legs and himself slowly to his feet. Spider-Man was carefully left aside.
“You’ll just have to wait I guess,” the fellow said on his way through the door. “Wait ?” How much longer ? Come Tuesday morning he would have to be back to start work again.
This long weekend break would allow him momentary recovery from the strain of the previous two months. It had been a hard decline from the eagerness and confidence that he had arrived with at this same bus stop in September.
The bus showed up eventually. He grabbed his overnight bag and climbed the three steps. The driver took his ticket. “You’ll have to stand. All the seats are taken,” the driver told him as he punched two precise holes. He made no reply but walked with his case toward the rear of the bus. He leaned back against the washroom cubicle. And then he cursed under his breath. Standing. Grand Falls was over fifty miles away. At least an hour before there would be a chance of a vacant seat.
“You might be able to squeeze in here.” The voice was friendly though weak and unsure. He didn’t reply right away, but turned and saw two boys. It was only then he was certain he was being spoken to. “There’s not much room. We can move over.”
They were the farthest back of the seats on the bus, just behind where he had been standing and left of the washroom door. It definitely beat standing up. He sat down as the third person in a space normally occupied by two people. Because the others were small, the fit was a tight one but not uncomfortable.
“Where you headed for ?”
His reply left an unexpected silence. He could feel they were waiting for more than one word. “What about you fellows ?”
“Bishops Falls. That’s where Kenny’s aunt is. We don’t live here, just goin’ for a visit.” The kid brushed the hair away from his eyes and scratched the back of his neck in one motion. “We’ve been there lots of times before.”
The fellow who had been speaking was the shorter of the two boys, despite the fact that he looked older, probably fourteen. He had a dark complexion and black hair, which kept falling forward into his eyes.
“My name’s Brian. And that’s Kenny.” They were words that hung loose. Again they waited for him to answer. He knew there was no good reason not to.
“Mine is Dave.”
The boys were eased. “You want a smoke, Dave ?”
“You sure ? We bought a pack between us this mornin’. We could save you a draw.”
Each of the boys put one in his mouth. Brian pulled out some matches from his pants pocket. As they lit up, Dave could see they were seasoned smokers. It wasn’t boyish misbehaviour with them any longer.
They blew smoke rings into the light above the next seat and watched them float away, out of shape.
“Geez,” Brian whispered to his friend after they’d been sitting quietly for only a minute, “we could have that guy up there smoked out in no time. He’d have to throw away his book and come up for air.”
“Go for it.”
Kenny took a deep draw on his cigarette, then burst out with fake sputtering coughs.
“Cut it out, jerk !” Brian warned him in a heavy, lowered voice. “You’re gettin’ ashes all over me.”
A fist banged against Kenny’s leg. “Oow !” The sound rose sharply. There was a brief silence, then a revenge hit from Kenny. It did not produce a great deal of noise overall. It didn’t seem to be bothering anyone, and it wasn’t bothering him. He had grown up through that kind of behaviour too... though he had not been so boisterous.
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