"If you really want this job, I need to know; are you prepared to drive liars, killers, thieves and drug dealers?"
"Yes, provided I get to drive a few normal people too."
I have a confession. I am guilty of aiding and abetting criminal activity. And I'm not alone. While I doubt that any cabbie in his right mind (which is an oxymoron, but that's for a later entry) would ever drive, say, a getaway car, we do service all kinds of scum and villainy. After all, pecunia non olet. If we were to apply a rigid legal code and only drive people with clean records, we'd lose a significant amount of customers. And I've driven people to their dealers, from their dealers, and even been given the proposition to help a bunch of scoundrels smuggle stolen copper out of town (I declined). Hell, I'm also quite sure I picked up a goon who had just finished beating someone who owed him money, judging from the conversation we had.
I've mentioned the importance of integrity, and I do my best to maintain mine. However, as a cabbie you are quite exposed and sometimes, the most sensible course of action is to turn a blind eye to some of the customers activities. At other times, calling the police and/or getting the hell away is just as sensible. This is not to say that I'd continue to serve someone I knew had just comitted murder or burglary. But like anyone in the service business knows, some of your customers will be pretty nasty, and making sure they keep that nasty directed away from you is par for the course.
However, this story is from my first year of cabbing. At that point, I was still fresh and innocent, with a twinkle in my eye, and with no real understanding of where I stood in the cabbie/cabbee relationship. I had not yet developed the strict code of Shit I Won't Tolerate In My Vehicle that I adhere to these days. Hell, I had only recently made the transition from the day-shift to night, and had only begun to discover wretched hive that all cities turn into once the sun goes down..
So, I picked up this youngish guy at Fortification Square, which is at the edge of town center. He wasn't going far; only down to Dyke Street, to a bar known for its low age limit and excessive brawling (can't have one without the other). I silently cursed him for the short fare, but I remained professional.
The guy was in his early twenties, dressed like the bastard offspring of a gangsta rapper and a douche bro, sideways cap and all. His manners suggested that he was large and in charge, kind of like a dog whose owners have failed to establish dominance. I'm sure you know the kind. If not, I sincerely hope you continue to live your astoundingly peaceful life without interruption.
"So, Dyke Street, eh?"
"Yeah, but we gotta make a stop first. A couple."
"All right", I said, inwardly cheering. Stops = more time = more money.
"Yeah, take me to Grand Street."
What followed was small-talk so inconsequential I can't remember a word of it. Most likely it was about the weather, about how many cars Taxi M has in its fleet, how business was, etc etc. We arrived at Grand Street, and Gangsta Bro stepped out of the car. I leaned back and waited foir his return. Outside the car was another guy cut from the same cloth as he. They greeted each other with one of those manhugs that start out as a handshake and turn into an embrace. They chatted, I zoned out. Another hugshake, and then Gangsta Bro returned.
"All right, man. Next stop Green Square."
Green Square was barely two minutes from Grand Street, and barely three from Dyke Street. Still, no complaints. Already I had made the amount that I would've made, had I taken him straight to his final destination. At Green square another guy was waiting for us. This one with the slicked back hair and expensive jeans of the upper class brats (I say that without malice. Brat is the colloquial term, used both by the brats themselves and the people around them). Gangsta Bro exited the cab, and repeated the procedure, hugshake and all. But I noticed something. Something changed hands, and suddenly Gangsta Bro had a wad of cash he stuffed into his front pockets.
In my paranoid, unjaded mind, I immediately wondered if Gangsta Bro was a drug dealer.
"Allright, take me to King's Square."
King's Square was barely a block away from Green Square, and Dyke Street was right next to it. Awaiting us were a gaggle of other Gangsta Bros. This time I kept a close eye on them. Hugshakes all around. And then I saw it. A packet of pills, exchanged for another wad of cash.
Well... Fuck me.
I immediately decided to keep my mouth shut. Not my problem, out of sight, out of mind, etc.
"All right, dude. Let's go."
Maybe he sensed something in me. Perhaps I was too quiet. Whatever the case, he pulled out a packet of blue pills and said: "Wanna buy some?"
Weighing my words carefully, I said: "Depends... What are they?"
"Viagra, man. The real stuff."
I noted that all his customers were men in their twenties. He waved that away. Apparently there's a huge market in this town for Viagra. The young men of this country enjoy getting shitfaced, much like the young women, as well as everybody. But the young men also enjoy getting laid. And so, whiskey dick is a very real problem. A predicament. How can are we to drink ourselves back to the ape-ages and still maintain the ability to perform sexually? Viagra, my friends.
And Gangsta Bro had a great connection. He had a friend in australia who bought the stuff over the counter, and sent it over here for a fee. Then Gangsta Bro would sell it on the streets, using some of the proceeds to pay for the cab that would take him to his clients.
The free market in its purest form, ladies and gentlemen.
I looked at the pills, and bit back laughter. "Nah, man. I don't need it."
"You sure, man? This will keep you hard for hours."
"How about this? If ever a lady complains, I'll look you up."
He laughed. "You do that, man! You know where to find me."
We arrived at Dyke street, where he paid and walked off into the night, safe in the knowledge that thanks to him, there would be a few less whispered "It's ok, it happens to everyone".
So, if any of my readers have trouble performing, drop me an email. I know a guy.