So, I was out cabbing on a verrrrry slow Monday night. How slow? I watched two episodes of SG-1 on my netbook and got a 1/4 of a book read between fares. Just when I thought the night was gonna be one of those rare busts, what to my wondering eyes, but a long haul fare from the ‘northern burbs to downtown. I roll to the call and pick up the woman, who smelled of jasmine…heavily of jasmine…when she got in the rear seat.
Fare: “Please hurry. xxx SOUTH xxxx street. My son is in the pentagon and he’s been murdered.”
My first thought here was…well actually I didn’t have any thoughts. This was the most awful, yet strangely poetic entrance to my cab I’ve ever had. So I verified the address on the GPS and we rolled.
Fare: “I’m a secessionist of the UK. We must hurry please…oh can you turn the radio up?”
Me: “Sure. Not going to break any laws, but I’ll get you there as fast as possible.”
Fare: “That’s nice. You know I’m in the UK as a secessionist. We must hurry.”
Me: —-the silence of the “oh dear gods I’ve got a lunatic in the car”.
We drove. and drove….(address was a long way off).
During the drive she muttered of plots and murders and doom and oh yeah, more secessionist-isms in between mumbling along to the lyrics of the music playing on the radio.
Then as we pull up to the house:
Fare: “This isn’t the right place.”
Me: “Uh…you said 1450 xxx South xxx. This is it”.
Fare: “No its one block south of xxxx on xxxx.”
Me: FACEPALM. “Ma’am, that’s waaay north of here.”
Fare: “This isn’t the UK, and I’m in the UK, and you’ve taken me for a ride.”
Me: (with sinking feeling I’m not going to get any real MONEY either at this point.) “So its xxx street without the SOUTH on it?”
Fare: “Yes. Please hurry. I do hope they don’t start shooting with SKS’s.”
Fare: “Yes. Please hurry. I don’t want to get shot by the SKS’s.”
Me: At this point, I KNOW the woman is severely schizophrenic, and feel bad, yet oddly at this point I’m somewhat entertained. As a writer, plot lines start swirling through my brain, all of them terrible, yet intriguing in a train wreck sort of way.
I roll back to the corrected address, which of course, wasn’t the pentagon. It was one of the those tenement motel/apartment places where the “lost people” sometimes end up.
I got paid. Part of it in quarters, but money is money.
Cleared the meter and rolled on.
I sure hope she didn’t get shot by the SKS’s.