So after work tonight, me, Charm and Mack were on the train without valid tickets, and lo and behold, there were ticket inspectors. "FUCK," we collectively thought. "But! It is 11:30pm on a Friday night and the train is filled to the brim with drunken idiots, surely they will go for them."
They did not! The four burly inspectors made a beeline for us girls, sitting innocently with our groceries (and our invalid Metcards). Each of us had a 10x 2-hour trip Metcard with an expiration date of some hours ago. If we had bothered to swipe our tickets before boarding the train, the machine would print an expiration time of two hours from now, thus proving our tickets were valid for that trip. But we had opted for saving $3.70 in the hope that inspectors would be scarce at this time of night. Oops.
As we presented our expired tickets for inspection, the leader puffed out his chest impressively.
"AHA! This expired at 7pm! So did yours, young lady! Why didn't you validate your tickets? Where did you get on? Where are you going?"
Mack and Charm were too terrified to answer, and I was panicking myself, but I took a stand (a stand filled with lies). "We DID validate them!" I claimed, fraudulently. "We just finished work and were running for the train so maybe it didn't scan properly! We just got on at South Yarra, and we're getting off at Flinders!"
Ringleader: "If you girls validate those tickets at Flinders and they print out new times [thus proving our tickets weren't valid for the current trip], you will each get a $178 fine."
The inspectors didn't traverse any of the train, choosing instead to hover threateningly behind our seats, and I heard a group of drunk boys snickering as they jumped off at the next station scot-free. Typical! As we arrive at Flinders St station the inspectors SURROUND us three small girls, and march us to the gates like criminals (which I suppose we were) while EVERY SINGLE OTHER PASSENGER runs like the wind laughing their arses off in their escape. Poor shy Mack by this stage is almost crying.
We get to the gates and I go first, swiping my Metcard. THE TIME DOESN'T PRINT.
Charm and Mack follow. THEIRS DON'T PRINT EITHER.
The ticket inspectors snatch my ticket away and are befuddled. "This isn’t valid! The time is expired!"
Suddenly, for some reason – possibly inebriation – I jump onto my high horse and cling for dear life. "My ticket IS valid, just like I told you! You SAW me walk through the gate and validate it, for God's sake. Here, want me to show you AGAIN?!"
And I snatch the ticket back, swipe it, and the time doesn’t print.
The inspector starts to backpedal. "Well, sometimes the machine is faulty, perhaps YOUR ticket is faulty." He grabs Charm's Metcard and swipes it – the time doesn’t print.
I grin, sensing the tables turning. "I'd like to see each and every one of your colleagues' IDs, please. And what's YOUR name?"
"Why do you want to know?"
"Because you've unfairly set upon us, when we had valid tickets (LIES), and I have the right to know who I'm dealing with."
"Is there a last name that goes with that or what?"
He grimaces. "Donald Johns. Look, we're just doing our jobs, going by what we see on the tickets."
Me: "Yes, that's perfectly understandable; however in this case, you're clearly mistaken." LIES!
The group backs off. "Look fine, next time if the ticket doesn't print, take it to the station and get a replacement."
"I wasn't aware you could do that, thank you. Although it IS a little impractical to do so at this time of night, wouldn't you say?"
Female inspector, trying to maintain a shred of authority: "Well, do you still want all our names too?"
Me, airily: "Oh, it was an honest mistake, I'll let you off this time." The NERVE of you, Black Cat - you, who didn't have a ticket in the first place!
We go our separate ways. Once the inspectors are out of earshot...
Charm and Mack, crying with laughter: "HOLY SHIT CAT, HOW DID YOU KNOW THAT WOULD HAPPEN?!"
PS: Answer is, I didn't.
PPS: And I don’t condone being a smart-arse to ticket inspectors when you’re actually the one in the wrong. This was pure, unmitigated luck on my behalf. What was that about Black Cats and luck, again?