Friday, August 5, 2005

The Driver (p. 17)

The Driver
Oedipus Jones

I stagger outta the bar and fumble my keys into the cab door. I forgot the fuckin’ handle’s broke off. Reaching through the open window, I pull the handle from the inside. Now that I’m good ’n fueled back up I can finish my goddam route. Driving drunk’s about the least of my concerns. It’d take the shipwrecked jelly of about a zillion dead seals to lube up my social life. Just me and the streets. Me and the cab-riding shit that stumbles out of god knows where from doing god knows what at hell’s ungodly hour in This Town. A couple six double bourbons and I’m the fuckin’ king of the clams riding my lonely chariot through the nights of wine and walkabouts.

I look out the window and see some pussy standing in the streetlight, passin’ a cig between ‘em. Fuckin’ whores. They should do us all a favor and get back in school. Fuck it. Maybe later I’ll quit window-shopping and take ‘em both for a ride. We’ll see how the tips go.

As I drive my way down Hocus Avenue, it’s all I can see. Pussy this. Coke that. Horse another. Booze-a-lolli. Nothin’ fuckin’ changes. I remember growing up in this shit.

Out of a five-n-dime titty club I see a couple a real high society types. Some real Breakfast at Tiffany’s type shit right on my route—lucky fuckin’ day. Not too typical for this stretcha street, but fuck, what is typical anyway? Nothin’ in This Town. Notha-fuckin’-othin’.

Audrey Go-fuckady stretches out her hand. I guess that’s how you call a washed up ol’ drunk to drive your powdered ass home in the art world. I pull the beast on over and she steps up to bat, Handy Joe Pretty-Pants gigglin’ up beside her. He’s still got a martini in his hand, the lucky fuck.

They hop those pretty little asses in the back and I roar off down the avenue. Killer rack on the dame. Monkey suit on the monkey.

“Darling, you really must keep your hands to yourself,” she says to he.

“Where ya headin’?” says me to she.

“Does it matter?” says she to me.

“Not so long as the meter’s runnin’.”

“81st and Pike,” the Monkey mumbles as much to himself as God ‘n Jesus or anyone. “I’m gonna take you back home and tuck ya in real good.”

“Now, darling, you really have had a bit too much to drink, haven’t you? I don’t know how you ever even talked me into this taxicab with you.”

I take a hard right and he spills his drink all over her pretty little feet.

“Whoops! Not so dry anymore, is it? Hgrah hgrah hgrah hgrah hgrah hgrah!” He even laughs like a goddam asshole.

“Oh damn!” says she. “You’ve spilt martini all over my shoes!”

“Better than blood,” says me, looking up in the mirror. She looks back at me with somethin’ in her eye. Somethin’ I haven’t seen in these parts for a long while... fuck even ever. It looks like somethin’ worthwhile… somethin’ noble… all that shit. But whatever it is it all still smells like pussy to me.

“Driver?” says she in that way that only means one thing.

I take my cue and pull the beast over. Fancy-Pants doesn’t know shit from shingles when I throw him in the street, but the bloody slab of face he leaves skidding across the pavement should fill in the blanks tomorrow.

“Thank you, driver,” says she. “He really was becoming quite a bore.”

I take off down the road again and look back up in the mirror.

“What’s your name, doll?” I ask. Classy broads like these love it when two bits calls ‘em doll. Makes ‘em feel all Daisy Gatsby ‘n shit. That same look flashes ‘cross her eye again.

“What’s in a name?” says she, pulling out a cig from her dainty little doody bag. “Does it really matter?”

“Not so long as the meter’s runnin’,” I shoot her a second time.

“Do you mind if I smoke in your taxicab?” she asks with a prissy little flip in the way she says taxicab.

“Not if you tip the driver with one of them pretty long cigs of yours.” I quit smoking six months ago, but shit like this don’t count. She lights two cigs and hands one to me through the chicken wire in between us.

“Don’t most cabbies these days have bulletproof glass between the seats?” she asks like she really gives a damn or two. I take a long, hard drag and nearly halve the damn thing.

“Maybe,” I say, “but I’m more a chicken wire type a guy… Keeps the trash in back.”

I take another look in the mirror and catch a pretty little peak at the cut of her dress. Pretty low cut for a society type. Makes me wanna slip inside some high society myself. I drag the other half of the cig instead and throw it out the window.

“Well, what if I were to pull a pistol from my handbag and shoot you?” says she.

“Well, what if you were?” says me.

“I should say that it really puts me at an unfair advantage, doesn’t it?”

I look in the mirror again and that damn somethin’ is still in her eye. She stares right back and brings the cig between her lips.

“I’m not too worried about it,” says me.

She leans forward, wrapping her fingers through the chicken wire. The cig between her tasty little knuckles points back at her face and makes it glow like a goddam movie. I turn my head to get a better look and she whispers real seductive like: “That’s not my only advantage over you.”

She leans back and takes another drag.

“Oh no?” says me. “And what else do you think you’ve got?”

And some fuckin’ grin creeps ‘cross her face while she’s blowin’ smoke out her nose.

“I know your name, Mr. Joe Squabbleton,” she reads from the license displayed to the back.

I laugh at the silly bitch and say: “Honey, if you’re still livin’ in a world where you can believe a damn thing because it’s printed on some scrappa paper, then you’ve got a couple ways to watch that pretty little assa yours before you come seedin’ back down to This Town again.”

She stares at me in the mirror. That damn look never does leave her fuckin’ eye.

She samshes out her cig on the cab window and says: “This is my stop.” I pull the fuck over and she gets outta the cab. She comes up to the passenger window and hands me fifty bucks. “I believe this should cover it,” says she.

“You want change?” says me.

“Keep it,” says she an’ she starts leanin’ all forward like on her arms. All the bosom in the world mashed up all together here right in fronta me. That low cutta hers is paying off for all the chips and then some. This bitch is good. She musta done this type a shit before.

“Anything else?” says me, lookin’ straight into that goddam somethin’ in her eye.

“Care to come up for a drink?” she asks like she wasn’t the goddam devil tryin’ to close the deal on one more wayward fuckin’ fuck.

“Sorry, doll,” says me. “There’s a lot more money to be made.”

“I’ve got money,” says she, “And a bit else to boot.” I don’t doubt it and I tell her so.

“But I don’t need your kinda money,” says me and I roar off down the road again.

As I drive the fuck away I look from side to side and wonder: Where the fuck am I… and who the fuck is Joe Squabbleton?

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