He nursed a cup of coffee at a table by himself, rolling a copper fare token between his fingers.
Lord, did he hate coffee. To him, it tasted like burnt dirt mixed with water. But, if he loaded up enough cream and sugar into it he could bear it. No amount of sweetening could cover up the shame he tasted in each cup, though.
The diner rumbled as the trolley rolled past, silverware vibrating on the plate. It was Trolley 613. That used to be his car. Before he’d been too drunk one morning to pay attention. His old girl looked good after the repairs and a new coat of paint.
He held up the token, looking through the spaces cut out around the M in the middle. His wife had given it to him the day he’d started as a trolley driver.
It was all she’d left him when his drinking had gotten to be more than she could take. It was the poorest sort of substitute for her.
But it was all he had these days. That, and his sobriety.
He waved the waitress over and ordered another cup of coffee, making sure she brought him extra cream.
The Memphis Street Car Company was formed in the last years of the 1800s out of the disparate and numerous passenger rail companies in the Memphis area. It would lay miles upon miles of track in the Memphis area, and had hundreds of cars working under its banner at its peak. Sadly, the affordability of the car and the suburbs all but killed the company. It was taken over by the city and now operates as the public Memphis Area Transit Authority.