The young woman climbed in the back looking at the the floor, the roof, the the seats - everywhere but at me. Anorexic and ugly with a nose ring, crack pimples and tattoos, she ignored my friendly greeting and went into a manic, self-important rant directed to a man standing outside the car. She lay down with her legs stretched across the seat and kept rattling words at the guy she repeatedly called "dude."
They had a high-decibel spat about whether or not he should ride in the front or the back. It went on and on.
I politely asked her three times where they wanted to go. Three time the woman/girl acted as if I hadn't spoken. Three is my limit.
- "Can you hear me?" I finally screamed.
- "Yeah," she replied without looking at me and went immediately back to her chatter.
- "Then get in or get out!" I screamed again. "Now!"
- "Well - you don't have to be rude!" Dude told me as he climbed in front, slamming the door. He looked just like the girl: tattoos, nose ring, anorexic, ugly. "Monclair!" he snapped.
- "So what?" I asked satirically.
- "So you're taking me there."
- "Do you mean, 'will I please take you there?'"
- "Did you hear that Babe?"
- "Let it go," Babe snapped, "he's just a cabbie."
- "P-L-E-A-S-E," he said his voice dripping with sarcasm.
I drove a few blocks before I noticed that Dude wasn't wearing a seat belt.
- "Dude," I told him, "you have to put your seat belt on."
- "I never wear one," he replied in a bitchy voice.
- "If you don't put it on - no Montclair," I told him as I pulled in toward the curb.
- "Oh, all right!" he whined.
- "I can't get it on," Dude said.
- "20 other people managed to put it on today," I said while keeping my eyes on the road, "I've got faith in you."
- "Got it," Dude finally said.
I didn't look at Dude until we were on the bridge. Instead of clicking the seat belt into the holder, he had tied it around his body into three or four knots. I opened my mouth to speak but no words came out. What was the use?
- "Can't you drive any faster?" Babe bitched.
- "It's raining. It's slippery when it rains. Driving fast can be dangerous when it's slippery," I replied with pedantic sarcasm.
- "Oh! Yeah! Right!" Babe exclaimed. "Like I was born yesterday."
Babe paid me and even gave me a one dollar tip. Dude sat there staring into space.
- "You've got to take your seat belt off, Dude."
- "It won't come off."
- "Do you think you could go upstairs, find a knife and bring it back here?"
- "Yeah, sure," she replied in sulky voice, "why not?"
The front door was open and I could hear Neil Diamond of all people blasting from the back of the house. I walked through several rooms to find Babe tweaking in the kitchen. I don't know what drug she was using but I never want to try it. She was jerking around the room like a zombie being zapped with a cattle prod.
I found the stereo and pulled the plug. Babe turned to me and started to scream. She didn't know who I was. She never looked at me before. I pushed by her and opened the drawers until I found a butcher knife. Babe screamed louder as I headed back toward her.
- "Okay," she pleaded taking off her clothes, "just don't kill me."
- "Don't worry," I told her glancing at her bony, drug-addict, tattoo riddled body. I couldn't image doing her but then I'm not a necrophiliac.
- "Well - you took your sweet time," he snapped. "What's your badge number? Your company is going to hear about this.!"
I didn't even bring cab back to the garage. I was going to be fired anyway so I figured I'd hang on to the gate. I just parked the taxi outside and called the dispatcher when I got home. I'm only sorry that I missed seeing Steele froth at the mouth when he discovered that I'd beat him out of $100.