Two, long, lovely natural blonds from Minnesota sat waiting in the back seat of my taxi. What we were waiting for was the owner, a short man in his forties, who was standing outside his bar arguing with a tall black man.
"You come in here again and I'll shoot you in the face!" he yelled.
The black man just stood and looked down at the little man. I couldn't figure out what the argument was about. The black man appeared to be sober and was cleanly dressed but he was ghetto. That was probably it. It was an upscale, North Beach place. The owner was probably just a racist.
"What'd I do?" the black man asked.
"Just don't come in my bar," the little man yelled, "you do it again and I'll shoot you in the face."
He finished his threat and jumped into the cab next to the blonds. He rolled down the window and repeated the threat one more time. "You come in again and I'll shoot you in the face."
He was clearly saying it to impress the blonds. They exchanged a look. They were not impressed.
He turned in my direction, shook his head and said, "whatya think of that?"
"I think it's a bad idea to make threats that you don't intend to keep," I said. "You just –"
"Who asked your opinion?" the owner shot back belligerently.
"I thought you did?"
"When I want your opinion, I'll let you know."
"Or what? You gonna shoot me in the face?"
"I wouldn't waste a bullet on your fucking face - you want the ride or not?"
"Well fuck you," he said climbing out of the cab, "Come on girls - let's dump the bum."
"You sure you wanna go with that jerk?" I asked the blonds. "I''m better looking and I'm taller."
They exchanged another look. They instantly agreed about the shortness of my financial status. Wordlessly, they climbed out of the taxi.
It appeared that the owner had been in arguments with cab drivers before and it looked like he was going to do the number one irritating thing that a customer can do - leave my rear side door open so that I would have to get out of the cab and walk around to the other side in order to close the door.
"Don't slam my door," I said.
"Fuck you!" he said, slamming the door shut.
A couple of years later, they found the owner in the doorway of a Tenderloin dive with a big hole in his forehead. Maybe if he'd let me finish my complete sentence, he'd still be alive.
" – you just never know who you're talking to."
Actually, that's not bad advice for me.