And he, Larry, could see for a moment Molly’s Diner where he’d eaten the last time they’d turned him out of 54 Division with his jacket and wallet on its rigged up chain and no laces in his runners so he’d had to curl his toes into bird’s claws to keep his shoes from dropping off his feet as he walked while holding the left side of his body gingerly, a little impacted at the waist, so breathing had been a little easier if he kept to shallow breaths and looked up out of one eye to see which way was Molly’s. He’d ordered a western and removed the peppers with the tines of a fork as the sandwich cooled. A coffee and refill watching the big-faced clock nearing 11 am but not looking to either side as he’d felt others shifting their plates of pie further down the Formica runway. The sun had come in through Molly’s big plate window and warmed him where he sat but eating was hard as it laboured his breathing and he was sure, by the western’s mottled second triangle, that his ribs had been bruised maybe cracked but whatever.
Published in TOK: Writing the New Toronto, Book 4. Purchase the book to read the full piece.
Toronto locations referenced in this piece
“Now they’d passed 54 and Molly’s and Cherry Street and he knew the docks were off to his left but there were two in back with him and they’d pulled his hat down over his eyes and his jacket up over his head like in a hockey fight . . . ” —Cherry Street
“Larry heard the tires on gravel now and was picturing in his mind’s eye the taller poplars on the Leslie Spit and the low stands of reddish dogwood and some other brambly plant he didn’t know the name of . . . ” —Leslie St. Spit
“King subsumed by Queen, a single monarch’s processional under metal banners slows crossing the bridge—the pigeons, like Riopelle, are putting the paint on thick and human volunteers walk mastiffs, pit bulls, diabetic shepherds past high end furniture . . . ” —King & Queen