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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Taxi 3

Working the night shift, I need an energy boost around midnight.  I prefer mine in th form of an espresso.  Since Starbucks closes at midnight, I have to go to McDonalds.  That’s right, McDonalds now offers lattes, cappuccinos, and espressos, but I think they forgot to tell the employees.

The first time I ordered an espresso there was at the midtown location.  I rolled up to the speaker: “I’ll have a triple espresso with three equals.”  “Would you repeat your order, please,” replied the speaker.  “I’ll have a triple espresso with three equals” I said.  “You want three espressos?” she said.  “Yes, but I want them in one cup with three equals.”  “Please drive around to the window,” was the response.  At the window, the woman asks, “You want three espressos in the same cup.?”  Yes,” I said, with three equals.”  “That will be $3.59.”  And, sure enough I got espresso.

Last Saturday night I went to a different McDonalds and ordered a double espresso with two
equals. Well, the poor woman had absolutely no clue, and after explaining it to her three times, she told me to drive around to the window where she said, “That will be five dollars.”  “Whoa!,” I said,“I’m not paying five bucks for a double espresso,” I insisted, at which point she left and returned with the manager.  I had to explain the entire thing over to him.  He did some calculation, and said, “It will be $3.62.”  “Whatever, “ I thought and gave the woman four dollars.  She gave me $4.59 change.  Yep, $4.59 change.  I felt sorry for her, but felt like they owed it to me for instructing their employees how to make a double espresso.  I drove to the next window where the manager handed me a cup that was filled to the top.  “My God,” I thought, “there must be ten espressos in here.”  There wasn’t even one. It  was just bad coffee.

This was my first Saturday night.  I don’t know if it was like this every Saturday night or it was because it was the night before Halloween, but business was none stop.

The first two fares weren’t anything of note.  The third fair was a pick-up at the University of Memphis. I was not given a street name, and had to drive all over the campus looking for my fare.  I radioed the dispatcher who told me it wasn’t the University of Memphis, but University street which was about five miles away.  After heading that way, the dispatcher radioed and said it was the university after all and gave me directions.  Gees!

The fare turned out to be four young men from India who were here attending a conference.  I don’t know if they were interesting or not because on the way to their hotel, the spoke only in their native tongue.

Next was four young yuppie women.  Their husbands were out of town and they were costumed as sluts and wanted to go to a club in midtown.  Along the way they talked about their kids and about a mutual friend of theirs who breast feeds her baby every time he cries, and who for months, wouldn’t let anyone know the baby’s name because she might be embarrassed by it.  Turns out, the kid’s name is Leo.  I guess they call the mother Loco.

As soon as I let them out at the club, a young woman hops in the front seat, slams the door and says, “Take me home.” “Where do you live?” I asked.  “I’m not gonna let that bastard teat me this way,” she replied.  “Don’t blame ya,” I said, “Now where do you live?”  At this point, a six feet two white rabbit approached the car.  Off came the head to reveal none other than her husband.  Apparently he was kicked out of the club for some reason.  “That’s i! I’ve had it,” she screams.  He gets in and she directs me to Mud Island.  He was soused.  According to her, they’ve been married for only two years and she was “sick of his fucking drinking!”  Her ranting went on for the entire trip.  I offered her candy, but that didn’t help except to get a small laugh.  He didn’t say much.  An apology here and there.  When we arrived, she stormed into the house leaving the rabbit to pay the fair.  He was too drunk to count accurately, and as a result, I got a nice tip.  I wonder if Mr. and Mrs. Bugs Bunny have similar problems.

Before I forget, there was a good fare Thursday night when I picked up two middle age men at their hotel in east Memphis.  There were from Sweden by way of Chicago, and they wanted to go downtown to the Rendezvous.  Along the way we talked briefly about Elvis, and comparing the weather here to that of Chicago.  Only one of the men did the talking.  “I read today that there was a blizzard in Fargo, North Dakota.  That reminds me of the movie Fargo and Sweden’s claim to fame.  Peter Stormare, who played the evil, blond kidnapper is from Sweden.”  I pointed out that Peter Stormare also played the nihilist in the Big Lebowski.  This began an hilarious retelling and quoting from the Lebowski movie that kept us all in stitches until we arrived at the restaurant.  Laughter also generates a good tip.  I always liked the Swedes.  “The dude abides.”

Now, back to Saturday night.  I had so many fares, it’s hard to keep up with them.  I had two different groups of optometry students, with costumes ranging from Marlyn Monroe to Billy Madison.  I told each group that I wasn’t the real cab driver.  “I killed the real driver,” I laughed maniacally.  They enjoyed that as well as my candy.

Another fare was a young woman whom I picked up at the Memphis Mental Institute.  She seemed normal to me.  She had been beaten up by her boyfriend three days earlier, but for some reason the sheriff sent her to this place.  I flet sorry for her.  She had just moved here in August and now she has to go back home.

The last fare of the night was a small, slightly plump cherubic-looking woman with a shock of white hair sticking straight out from beneath her crooked baseball cap.  She was like a character from a Dickens novel.  Along the way we talked about the holidays being upon us and how we both like this time of year.  We spoke of the beauty of the fall colors and the smell of wood burning from someone’s fireplace.  We also spoke of looking forward to Christmas and the general feeling of peace and good will.  I let her out at a bar on north Thomas Street.  As she got out, she called to two men who were standing at the bar’s door, “What are you two cocksuckers up to tonight?”
What a sweet lady, I thought.


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© 2010,  Eddie Tucker.  All rights reserved.

(Disclaimer:  The views expressed on this post are mine, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Yellow Cab, Checker Cab, or Premier Transportation Services.)

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