By Emma Cosgrove
John Tory sits at the back of an empty TTC bus, grinning wryly. He has never been on a public transit vehicle before and finds it quite neat. He runs his hand slowly along the seat beside him, leaving a dark streak in the technicolour velvet. His eyes close. Visions of tokens dance in his head.
Tory suddenly recalls there is a crowd of roughly 4,350 Torontonians waiting outside for The Announcement. He jumps up, kissing the driver on the forehead before front-flipping out of the bus and racing toward the podium.
The powerful January wind whips his scarf around like the blades of a helicopter.
“I’m going to tuck this in… so it doesn’t… Anyways. Hello Toronto!”
The crowd roars.
“I have been sitting on that bus for the last hour, devising a plan to unite this city, to build ONE Toronto. Because clearly having 17 Torontos, you know, just isn’t working for anyone.
“I have emerged from the depths of this vehicle to deliver my citizens an important message, that I believe — from the bottom of my heart, from the armpit of my soul — will save this city from all kinds of doom. Without further ado, I will reveal my first announcement.”
The crowd falls silent. John Tory raises a fist in the air.
“Fares! Will! Rise! Ten! Cents!”
The masses erupt in applause that rumbles throughout the city. People shriek in delight; some elderly ones fall down.
“If you think that’s fantastic, listen to this,” Tory says, a hush falling over the crowd.
“Our riders have spoken. Dogs must pay. But… CHILDREN! RIDE! FREEEEEEEE!”
The applause is deafening. Nearby windows shatter. Tory grabs a kid from the front row. “Now Sam can go to the park whenever he likes! We are giving him full reign of the city! GO WILD SAM! ALL THE YOUNGSTERS! GO GO GO! OUR CITY IS ONE!”
Children run around erratically like ants, unsure of what to do with their newly-acquired freedom.
“GET ON THE BUS, KIDS. YOU HEARD ME! GO ON, GET! YOU TOO, SAM!” Tory roars.
“My name is Cody—” the kid says, sobbing.
“Shhhh,” Tory says under his breath. “We’re getting you to the goddamn park. It’ll be over soon.”