Nine Out Of Ten

"Man's Best Friend"
Image Source: Meredith Kleiber

It’s a racket, ya know? Like any other job, really. Lots of people get in here, they expect Travis Bickle an’ gun fights an’ crazy stuff, but it ain’t like that. Nine out of ten fares, nothin’ happens. I pick people up, take ‘em where they wanna go, they pay me, an’ that’s it. Nine out of ten fares.

Most of my fares are real nice. Sure, I get plenty of obnoxious drunks, an’ rich old ladies that come in with a superior attitude. But for the most part it’s all uneventful. Sometimes my fares an’ I have great conversation the whole trip, an’ sometimes it’s silent the whole way. That don’t bother me. I gauge it out dependin’ on the vibe I get from the fare. They don’t want to talk, they don’t want to talk, an’ what am I gonna do? That’s fine with me, an’ I can’t take it personal-like. But it ain’t like some people think, like how people think I must spend the whole ride tryin’ to talk about every little thing an’ muttering about cheapskate fares an’ how I’m gonna drive off a bridge with a fare one of these days.

Not to say that things never get interesting, of course. I’ve been hacking nights for twelve years now, an’ just when you think you’ve seen it all, well…I ran out of gas on bridge-an’-tunnel jobs on two consecutive nights once, if you can believe that. I’ve had more near-miss bathroom experiences than I can count. An’ I once had a lady JUST missed havin’ her first-born in my back seat! Got her to the ER just in time.

An’ sometimes things can get scary. Had a guy once, got in, an’ I could tell he was tweaking. I was about to pull over an’ kick him out when he pulled a blade an’ stuck in into the back of my neck. Naturally this one night I got a cab without a partition. My insides was turning to goo, but I kept calm as I could an’ kept driving. Tough to do with a shank in your neck. I kept scanning the street, lookin’ for a spot where I could pull over an’ jump out, but all the meters was full up. An’ this guy was getting real agitated. Finally I saw a spot an’ pulled over, an’ the guy tried to make his move an’ jump me across the back seat. Let’s just say that I was glad that night that I was packing an’ knew what to do with my piece.

But like I say, that’s the exception. Nine out of ten fares, nothin’ happens. I pick up people up, take ‘em where they wanna go, they pay me, an’ that’s it. I go home in the mornin’, an’ I’m a husband and father, puttin’ my kids through school. One fare out of ten is a doozy, but for the most part it’s just a racket, like any other job, really.

14 comments
  1. Nice slice of life. Leaves me hoping it’s a set up for a longer tale of one of the 10th fares…

    • One never knows what’s going to come up… *evil grin*

  2. I’ve been watching the tv series, Hack, lately, so this resonated. Did you ever see Jarmusch’s Night on Earth? One of his bests.

    • Jarmusch is great. Haven’t seen that yet, but definitely will now, thanks.

  3. Great noir piece. Dug it!

    • As always, thanks. ;)

  4. morezennow said:

    Another fine conjuring up of a glimpse into the high life of a Big City dweller! Drive on, Mr. Westbye.

    • …doffing my driving cap…

  5. This was a fun read! Your stories almost always make me read in weird voices…in my head. Not that I’m saying you’ve made me schizophrenic…well…you know what I mean.

    • OH, we know what you mean. We know what all of you mean…

  6. Love it! The photo and the story go together perfectly. Great job once again!

    • It all starts with the image… ;)

  7. I liked this short. I love a peek into the average person’s life…

    • Thanks so much! Come on in and grab a seat: I’m posting M – F now. ;)

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