The social etiquette on a tram is slightly more relaxed than on a train, except at peak hour where the same rules apply — don’t look anyone in the eyes and don’t talk to anyone unless there are flames and or gunshots involved.
It was well past morning peak hour, and the inhabitants of Sam’s tram were introspective, but not unfriendly. The young boy accompanying his mother on a trip to the city could have been Sam, many years ago. The boy smiled at Sam and Sam winked at the kid. The mother glanced at Sam, gave him the usual appraisal, are you going to be a problem or are you just one of those rare friendly souls who sometimes escape into the real world? She completed her appraisal in the blink of an eye and decided that he was harmless and went back to reading her book. It was hard to see the cover, but it looked like Somerset Maugham’s, The Moon and Sixpence. This lady has taste. The thought of reading an old book, first published in 1919, did not deter her. The little boy would grow up with books in his home and a mum who would be able to introduce the best of them — what a great thought.
The rest of Sam’s fellow passengers were the usual mid-morning crowd. A couple of well-dressed businessmen on late start flexihours, a smattering of retired people out for the day, a couple of high school girls who looked old enough to be at the end of their schooling life, and the lady who sat opposite Sam.
The tram driver knew his job well — he was considerate of his passengers and did not use the full acceleration potential of the powerful motors, he made their ride a smooth experience. Even so, whenever the tram moved away from a stop, the passengers seated side-on tended to sway with the motion of the tram. The lady seated opposite Sam was in her early forties, well groomed with medium length dark chocolate brown hair — with a wave and a sheen. She swayed gently with the movement of the tram — it was hypnotic. Her high heels were open toed, and Sam could see immaculate pink toes. Her dress, a sheer, lightweight fabric would have revealed a great deal more if it had not been for a petticoat. The dress came to her knees and a gentle, cool breeze wafted through the carriage as the doors opened, causing her dress to move away from her knees revealing a portion of thigh. After teasing Sam, the dress settled back in place without the woman having to make any adjustment.
Naturally, Sam wondered what it would feel like to caress those thighs. Would they be smooth and soft or firm and athletic? Would she move her knees apart, ever so slightly, as a signal to go further along that silken road?
Sam imagined the touch of the soft fabric of her dress on the back of his hand as he caressed her skin. He could smell her perfume and faintly hear her breathing —
“Hey, mister. Who do you barrack for?” said the little boy with the well-read mother. He was next to Sam, who wondered how long he had been standing there.
“He’s mad about football,” said his mildly embarrassed mother.
“I follow Fitzroy, big man,” said Sam.
“You mean Brisbane Lions, don’t you mister?”
“I most certainly do not. Fitzroy it is, and Fitzroy it shall always be,” said Sam in an exaggerated manner complete with a big smile.
“Good on ya mate,” said the old-timer at the end of the tram. “Go the Roy Boys.”
The little boy ignored Sam’s patriotic speech and proceeded to tell him why Collingwood was the greatest team ever. Sam listened patiently, as men had done since the dawn of Australian Rules football, to small boys and their dreams of glory.
The lady with the exquisite thighs was preparing to alight from the tram and so was Sam. He wondered where those thighs were spending the rest of the day. The two travelers stood together as the doors opened and he got a whiff of her alluring perfume.
“When my appointment with Dr Doug finishes, I’m going to visit Scarlett, and I hope to God that she isn’t in a meeting! I have some urgent personal business to attend to!” said Sam inside his head. At least, he hoped that he hadn’t said it out loud.
An hour until Scarlett — he could wait, but it wasn’t going to be easy.