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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Taxi 18

A compilation from two day shifts

I finally decided to surrender to baldness.  It happened one day in the cab when I looked in the mirror and saw the few remaining hairs on top of my head standing straight up about three inches.  “Sheesh!,” I thought, “I’m beginning to look like Professor Irwin Corey.”  So that night I shaved the top of my head.

Professor Irwin Corey
I was actually cursed to be bald many years ago.  When I was a teenager, I had a head of nice, thick hair.  One day at the barbershop, the barber, out of the blue said, “You’ll never go bald with that hair.”  It was the dreaded “reverse-never-going-to-happen curse.”  Someone says it’s never going to happen, and of course, it happens.  I only wish it had worked when, years later, a woman I know read my horoscope, and told me I would never be rich.  Apparently the “reverse-never-going-to-happen curse” occasionally shoots blanks.

Driving 302, a Grand Marqui with nice leather seats and only 172,000 miles. The Marquis have a very smooth ride, unlike the Impalas which have lousy shocks.

I picked up a guy at a law firm on Adams to take him to the airport.  “Where you flying to?.” I asked. “Charlotte,” he answered.  He said he’d been in Memphis for just a couple of days with a buddy.  “I’ll never come back here,” he said.  “I’m sorry to hear that,” I said, “What happened?”  “I spent the night in jail.  Had too much to drink on Beale Street, then went to the Westin to get my bags.  I wasn’t staying there, but just left the bags there for awhile, and they gave me a hard time about it.  Things got outta hand, so they called the cops, who showed up in about two seconds.  I tried to outrun the cops, but they got me and charged me with public drunkeness, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest.  Fortunately, my attorney got the charges dropped, and is going to try to get my record expunged.  I could be in bigger trouble if he’s unsuccessful.”  “How so?,” I asked.  “Im an airline pilot, and could lose my job.  And, I fly international which means every time I land, authorities check my passport, and I don’t need an arrest record showing up.,” he explained.  I tried to ease his concerns by telling him the court will most likely expunge his record since they dropped the charges, and if this is his first offense.  “It’s no fun spending the night in jail.  Happened to me once many years ago, so you’re in good company,” I offered.  Got to the airport, and wished him good luck.  Running from the cops?  What a dumb ass.

When he got out, another fellow asked if I was free.  “Yeah, where you going?, I said.  “Beale Street.  Meeting some friends later,” he replied.  “Where you from,” I asked.  “Cleveland.”  “Humph!, “ I muttered, “With all due respect, Cleveland doesn’t deserve the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame.  I dare anybody to put together an hour’s worth of Cleveland Rock N’ Roll.  It was born here.”  He took it in good spirit and admitted I was right.  “We tried to get the museum here, but the wheelers and dealers couldn’t come up with enough dough,” I explained, “So I can’t really blame Cleveland.  He asked where he could get some good barbecue on Beale Street.  “The best place downtown is the world famous Rendezvous.  It’s just two blocks north of Beale,” I offered, “I can take you there if you want to eat now.”  On the way I pointed out Sun Studio, “That’s where the revolution began,” I bragged.

Went to Holiday Inn Express in midtown and picked up a family of four.  They were from Switzerland, and wanted to go to Graceland.  The father had a kind of Elvis-style hair and shades.  He and I chatted about Elvis and Switzerland.  He said they live on a mountain overlooking a beautiful valley.  Turns out he was here to record a record at Sun Studio with Jerry Lee Lewis’s band.  A Swiss rock n’ roller.  What dya know!  He told me his name, but when I tried to recall it later in the day, all I heard was Shiny Doorknob.

Went to Motel 6 on Pauline in the medical center where I picked up a drag queen named Candy.  Tight shirt, tight jeans, platform shoes, blue eye shadow and orange wig.  Since it was a guy, I figured he could put his bag in the trunk himself, like most men do, but in his/her most feminine voice, he/she said. “My leg hurts, can you get my bag?”  I thought, “My back hurts and my toe is cramped,” but I relented, “Yes mam.”  The bag weighed a ton, and I wondered how he/she got it down from the second floor.  “These people here are mean.  I need to go to another motel,” he/she said.  We headed to the Lamplighter at Lamar and Bellevue, not exactly The Plaza.  I got the bag out of the trunk and said, “Be careful,” to which the reply was, “Don’t worry about me honey.”

While in midtown, I was signaled to go to a medical research building on Cleveland at Monroe where a young man in scrubbs got in, headed to the airport.  I always like to know where people flying out are going.  “San Antonio,” he said.  “Did ya really think yall could beat the Grizzlies?, I asked with pride in my voice.  “Yeah, I know,” he replied, “The Grizzlies really gave the Spurs a hard time.”  Now that I had weakened his defenses, I thought I would go in for the kill, “Ya know, you’re one ugly bastard.”  Just kidding.  He was a nice guy.

Got to the airport, and he handed me his credit card.  I swiped it on the computer but the swipe wasn’t working so I got an impression of it on the receipt.  I’d have to enter the information in the computer manually, so instead of keeping him waiting, I returned the card, and bid him a good trip.   Then I entered the info only to learn the card was declined.  Twenty nine bucks just evaporated.  I still have the receipt and occasionally run the card info, but it continues to be declined.  Next time, nobody leaves the cab without proper authorization.

As I was leaving the airport, I was signaled to go to the airport hotel and pick up a guy named Jonathan.  It was the weekend for the Beale Street Music Fest, and there were about fifty young people standing in front of the hotel, presumably waiting for rides.  I entered the “call customer” code to let him know I was there.  While I was waiting, two guys and a young woman asked if I could take them downtown.  “I’m booked,” I said, “but if he doesn’t show up soon, I’ll take you.”  Again I signaled the customer that I was waiting.  After the third signal and no response, I called the trio over and said to one of the guys, “If your name is Jonathan, hop in.”  He didn’t get it so I said, “Your name is Jonathan, and the meter’s running.”  They got in and off we went.  I could tell they were stoned because they laughed at everything.  I let them out at Beale Street and got a good tip.  “Sorry, Jonathan, but business is business.  Hope you’re not still waiting.”

Went back to midtown where most of the cab business is.  Picked up a couple at a music store on Poplar headed to Beale Street.  I heard the woman ask the guy if he got his strings.  This was the weekend for the annual Blues Awards.  I asked him if he was in a band performing at the awards.  He said he was solo, blues mandolin.  He also said Downbeat Magazine gave him a four-star rating.  “The highlight of my career” he said.  He looked to be around fifty, so he must have been at it awhile.  He was nominated for Best Instrumentalist Blues Award.  I told them I used designed the Blues Awards posters for twenty-two years.  Small world.  When I dropped them off, I wished him luck. His name is Rich DelGrosso, and his web site is

Stay tuned.......

© 2011,  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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