by Harry Canyon • Originally Published february 2007
She stood in the rain under a streetlamp. She just stood there staring blankly down the street. She wore a trench coat and heels. Her hair was long dark and wet. I had a fare in the car, a bunch of drunk guys. They mocked the girl under the streetlamp calling her a sorry ass bitch and shit like that.
She certainly looked depressed standing out there in the rain. A large puddle had collected in the street under the lamp. The girl stood there on the curb and looked like she might just allow herself to fall into the puddle like a guy in front of a firing squad. The drunks in the cab laughed and talked more shit as the rain came down even harder. She looked down and away as I closed from down the street.
At the last second I stepped on the gas and swerved toward the puddle. I couldn’t have hit it better. The wave I sent up onto the sidewalk was like a tsunami at Waikiki Beach. Her ass was soaked and the guys in the cab were howling. Well, I got the drunk guys home and they gave me a fat tip for soaking down Sad Sally back there under the streetlamp.
I swung back down there. The girl was still there, sitting on the sidewalk at the base of the lamp. She had her knees in her chest and her face in her palms. A narrow little driveway was just down the sidewalk from where she was sitting. Slowly, without splashing, I waded my taxi through the gigantic puddle and up onto the sidewalk. I put the window down and called out to the wet brunette. She ignored me at first then suddenly lashed out expressing her hatred toward cab drivers. She cried out with various curses and I calmed her with sympathetic words. Eventually I coaxed her to the cab and gave her a dry towel that I happened to have with me. While patting herself with the towel she told me her version of the soaking, and expressed how the guilty taxi was the same color as mine.
“That fucking new guy!” I said. “It must have been that asshole new guy.” I acted really angry and said that I would kick his ass when I found him. She started coming around and told me where home was. I backed out of the driveway and lit up the meter. We were only down the street about a block or two when I saw another taxi painted the same color as mine. “There’s that son of a bitch!” I yelled, growling deeply out the back of my throat. I couldn’t even tell who was driving the other taxi but it didn’t really matter, the car was the right color.
Quickly I pitched my cab sideways in front of the other taxi. I jumped out screaming mean and ran right up to the other cabby’s window. “You little bitch,” I said. “You splashed that poor girl! And, and you swooped my fare at the Bear,” I spat at his window and kicked the side of his cab. Luckily for me it was one of the lame ass new guys and he didn’t know what was going on or what to do. He just locked the doors and trembled like a coward in the driver seat. I gave him a hard, “See ya later,” and went back to my cab.
The wet brunette saw the whole thing. She liked the fact that I defended her. I drove her home. The bars were closed and I knew that she would be the last of the lonely, wandering fares. So when she invited me up to smoke a bowl I locked up the cab and went on up. We didn’t even smoke the bowl. She was on the rebound and just wanted some attention. So I bounced on the rebounding brunette, soaked her down with another tsunami and then bounced out of there.
Later at the gas station I ran into the cowardly cabbie. He apologized for a bunch of shit and even gave me some money for swooping one of my fares. I don’t think he really swooped my fare and I don’t know what the hell he was talking about, but I kept the ten bucks anyway.