He hung up his phone and- I assume- finished off his cigarette, headed back in and told his boss he was feeling sick. It was Wednesday night after all, so the restaurant was slow and the metro would be super empty.
“I’m going to go back inside and sprint” said Chris Zenti.
He showed up to my place on time, frantically ringing the doorbell while knocking simultaneously. No restraint, at all. He was unhappy to realize my buzzer had stopped working the day before, so had to wait while I came down stairs to open up.
“What the f*ck man?” he shouted. HIs headphones were loud enough I could hear the Young Thug track buzzing between his ears. He hadn’t skated in a week, and was anxious to get at it.
The night prior, a chance trip to Dollarama had netted Zenti a new skate spot. Rather than pause his skating during winter, Zenti takes to the Metro stations and RESQ pedestrian paths late at night. It’s a delicate ballet, dancing around security, pedestrians and late night characters. But it’s warm, and dry, and worth the hassle.
His new spot was a short hallway somewhere near Atwater Metro. There are dead spots between underground malls and the Metro where security is not really sure of whose job it is to kick out skaters. Tonight however, Zenti had competition for being the biggest nuisance in the Metro.
‘Yooooooo broooooo!” he shouted. He walked with a loping gait, either from an injury or some sort of injection. “Bro’s you guys, bro’s, shit, you from Montreal?” he asked. “Yeah, but I live here now.” replied Zenti. “Shit bro, you must get all the b*tches they love Toronto mans here.” he replied.
We found out much later his name was Philly. We also found out much later his “boy” had allegedly got shot earlier that day. He cheered at every maneuver Zenti pulled, oblivious to technicality or skill. “F*ck bros, you bros are cool, you know that?” he said. Zenti laughed and gave him props. Philly reclined against the escalator median, pulling a Pall Mall butt out of his North Face jacket pocket.
“Fam, bless a mans a lighter?” he asked me. I had matches, which he made work.
Zenti was pouring sweat and covered in mud. He had been doing laps of the short hall for half an hour, running and throwing his board down, popping 180’s and front shuvs over the small bump halfway down the run. Errant chunks of road salt had caught him out a few times, sending Zenti sprawling across the dusty ground. “I literally bought this shirt yesterday.” he said to himself after a particularly dirty fall.
It was fun and games with Philly until he got aggressive with pedestrians. His loud cheers echoed while the skateboard clicked and clacked between booming popped tricks. A small symphony of sorts.
The click, clack and boom of Zenti’s skateboard mingled with Philly’s jovial cheers, making a small symphony of the Metro hall. It came to an erupt end when Philly started his “F*ck the cops!” chant.
It started at talking volume, but he was soon shouting in the face of every person coming down the escalator. Inevitably, the tone turned more vile, his voice getting harsher and his chant becoming staccato shouts of “Fuck You!” Inevitably, certain pedestrians began to take offence to his raucousness. “Ya man, we gotta get out of here.” said Chris
.As the double glass doors between the mall and the Metro closed behind us, we could here Philly’s shouts begin to crack and shrill, as he sparred with the man in the black pea coat, who had taken Philly’s bait for an evening conversation.