Friday, January 5, 2007

Sometimes you gotta kick 'em out

One afternoon I was driving south down Mission Blvd. on a cool breezy autumn day and a short guy in jeans and a black leather jacket hailed me from the side of the road. He was white, had short cropped, jet black hair and looked to be in his late 30's or early 40's. I pulled over and he got in the back seat. He looked like a punker or something. He said he wanted to go downtown to 1st and J st. So I pulled out into the lane and off we went.

He seemed strange somehow. He kept looking all around and acting figity. The very next thing he said to me was, "Hey, you want some drugs?". I said no, I didn't. Even if I did, why the hell would I agree. I had no idea who this guy was and my cab driver buddy recently told me that sometimes cops go undercover to catch drivers who may deal or purchase drugs. I even told him that. Then he pulled a baggy out of his pocket and popped some kind of pill into his mouth. I said, "hey what do you got there, LSD or something?" I noticed his pupils were very dialated. "Oh, no, no," he said. "Are you sure you don't want any drugs?"

Then things got really weird because the conversation continued but it was like we were talking in two totally different conversations. Whatever I asked him, he answered with something totally off the topic, like he had heard some other voice asking different questions. Then he would say something totally random to me. I would try to comment or answer but he wouldn't even be listening or didn't even care what I said. He went on to tell me that that the government was keeping tabs on him constantly. He said that there was a black helicopter that followed him nearly everywhere he went and at night it would hover outside of his downtown apartment and shine a spotlight through his window almost every night. I was thinking to myself he lives in some kind of Edgar Allan Poe story or something. I was answering at first with amazement, and trying to deny that it was really happening to him by saying things like, "are you sure", "maybe it just happened once", etc. But eventually I just said things like, "wow", "whoa" and "yeah, you gotta watch out for that stuff, man." The conversation went on quite a bit and I can't remember all of it, but absolutely none of it made sense.

Even though it was really strange, everything was cool, and I was kind of enjoying the freaky "conversation". Then right out of the blue, with no connection at all to what he or I was saying, he said, "I don't have a knife or a gun. I'm not going to hurt you."

Now at this point I decided this ride was soon to end. We wouldn't be making that trip downtown. "What do you mean? No cab driver wants to hear anything like that brought up. Why do you say that?"

"Oh, I don't know it was just something I was thinking about"

"Well, hey, I just remembered I can't take you downtown. In fact I have to go back the other way." I pulled to the curb right away and said, "You're going to have to get out now." Fortunately he was very calm and agreed and got out. He said, "That's o.k., my problems aren't your problems." Then he put his hand in his pocket, pulled out some cash to cover the fare, including a decent tip, paid me, and I pulled away.

He was the first person I ever kicked out of the cab... He wasn't the last, but he was the easiest.