They would gather at the shiny blue bus parked outside the coffee shop and headed for Niagara Falls and the casinos.
The young man whose cousin knew a guy who needed a good warehouse forklift operator.
The divorced driver who had been sober these past eleven years, and who desperately needed to bring others some happiness.
The two young women whose uncommon approach to amusement would help the one cope with a devastating marriage break-up.
The man who stole purses in the midst of the excitement and clatter. He knew that he had the best bet in the house.
The non-custodial father who wanted to see Marineland and the Falls with his teenager before a new job took him out of province for several months.
The spinster who looked forward to a delicious meal and the chance of casual anonymous conversation.
The two couples of seniors who simply needed to feel young again ‘midst the bright lights and music. Years back one of them had had a big win. They held on to the hint of escape from fixed income.
The on-and-off city worker who used the bus ride to read his adventure novels and used his crack numbers system to work the slots.
The sleep-deprived grad student who had stood before with the crowds at the railing watching the cascading turquoise and feeling within her that strange compulsion to jump.
The young man on workers’ compensation with a bad leg and “bored out of his tree”.
A forties-something woman whose folly with department store credit cards had led to another addiction.
The well-dressed man with the comb-over who had heard that many of the waitresses were fun-loving. He held a one-way ticket.
A small-time bar musician and singer with tickets to see a couple of the Big Names.
The retired public school teacher who liked to be reminded of her many class trips. She had known love, and that richly. A Father had died with lung cancer. A young Husband had been lost in police service. She knew that she needed no other good fortune.
It was hoped to be a good and safe trip. Hoped.
There were Christmas decorations inside the bus.
The rain had started. Roads looked slick. But the forecast bet on clearing up by early afternoon.