by Alex Ray
From the outside the booth looks respectable. Signposted in English and Arabic it creates a focal point among an expanse of empty concrete. Recent arrivals gather, anticipating onward – or perhaps return – journeys.
Inside the picture emaciates to a lone man, a phone charger, computer chair and a fan.
“It’s 3.3 Dinar for a bus ticket” he says. I hand him a 5 Dinar note. “Do you have any change?” he replies. “No I just got here,” I explain. “Me too,” he smiles and shrugs, as I turn toward the bus.
“What do we do now?” I ask, only to receive a blank look, “wait” he suggests.
The bus driver takes my bags and unsurprised to hear about the ticket booth, gestures and says, “just get on, you aren’t the only one.”
Ten minutes later, as the bus prepares to depart, the ticket seller climbs aboard and drags several of us off the bus, he has found change. We pay, and return to the bus, where the driver curses the ticket salesman for making him late, directing blame where he can, while they both know they are only trying to do their jobs.