I'm younger than I can believe I ever was, driving the most beat up fucking cab imaginable; an old chevy wagon that actually has holes in the floorboards, in back and front, covered with cardboard. Such a shitty car. My boss is a theif/criminal/carny, who has one nice car that he sends in for all inspections, and then uses the plates on other cars. I don't think he pays anyone off, but he wouldn't tell me if he did (like all criminals, he's cagey).
I get a call into the ghettos, where most cab drivers in Toledo will not go -- super anti rascist batman, I am, I drive anywhere and pick up everyone... I pull down a tree lined street of small, kind of beat up houses, see a group of woman out on a porch crying and screaming and carrying on. As I pull up, one of them walks up to the cab with a hammer and a can of gasoline and gives me twenty bucks.
I don't know what to say, so I take her to her address as she quietly cries. We get there and she directs me to a parking lot beside a small bar, telling me she is going to need a ride home. I pull into the lot.
She gets out, goes over to a dark blue buick and takes that hammer and round houses the metal head into the back window, smashing it out in one fucking peice. Then she dumps the can of gas into the car.... as this is taking place, I am cursing myself for parking myself into a corner where I would have had to run her over to get out, and frantically calling my dispatcher, a vietnam vet who took stoic to the point of half-dead.
I am 24, new at this job and this night and the ghetto and panicking and am calling basically, for cops and help, "96, this passanger of mine, she's lighting a car on fire."
"Has she hurt you?"
"No." I can't believe how flat and bored his voice sounds.
"Has she paid you?" Same voice.
"Doesn't sound like a problem to me. Okay, who was trying to call in while that crap was coming in?"
I try to say something more and he cuts me off with. "96, stay off the air."
SHe comes back to the cab and jumps in and we literally just start to pull away as this huge black guy comes running out of the bar, straight for the cab, screaming at me to stop. Not an option.
I take her home, she gets out, asks for change from her twenty and doesn't waste another word on me.
I don't take home any lessons from the night of hammers and fire... just add it to the list of things I will never understand, could never do, but find so fascinating...