When it's -20 on a Saturday night, it's going to be busy, non stop. It was close to the end of this shift, and I'd been watching this poor Mexican guy standing in front of Stop and Shop, freezing for over an hour. He was a regular, I knew where he went, he lived in a cheap apartment building down on Ann st. I looked at him, and couldn't let him freeze anymore, so I pulled over and let him in.
Now, what I wanted to do was fill the rest of the seats with short rides. A lot of short rides, real fast, is the goal. I still had 2 seats open when this guy and this woman jump in the cab in the 600 block of University. They want to go to the satelight dish area, and claim they will give me a big tip. People who claim they will give a big tip usually don't tip at all, but it the was the right kind of destination to fit with the rest of what I had. I would have had to kick them out of the cab to get rid of them anyway. I was stopped at a light, and they like many people think that if a cab is stopped at a light and you run up to it and jump in, the driver has to take you. Well, he doesn't, but it's not always easy to kick them out. The guy sits in the front, the woman sits in the back.
When we get to the satelight dish, about 10 minutes later, only the Mexican guy is left with the guy and the woman in the cab. I turn to the guy and tell him how much, and it isn't much, less than 5 bucks, but he says he's broke and points to the woman in the back seat. She's got vomit bubbling over her lower lip, and it's dribbling down the front of her. She didn't get a lot on the back seat, but any is a nasty mess that I have to clean up before I can take more passengers. Thank god she didn't get any on another passenger. She has her wallet full of id open, and she's holding it out to me as if I'm a doorman at a bar. She has no money. He has no money. She's just puked in my cab.
The ID I'm looking at is a Michigan drivers license, and the address is something like 6,000 Miles st., Detroit, Michigan. The ID is in her wallet, with all her real ID, and credit cards, and who knows what else, and I'm holding it in my hands.
"Where's Livernois?", I ask.
She looks puzzled, puzzled even for a drunk, and slurs back, "It's in Illinois."
"Where's Van Dyke?", I ask. No answer.
"Where's the corner of John R. and Brush?", I demand. No answer.
"Where's Telegraph?", I demand. Again no answer.
"Lady, all the places I just mentioned are main drags in Detroit. This is a Detroit drivers license. Not only are you white, you don't know where any of the main drags in Detroit are. You're not from Detroit, this is a phony ID, you've puked in my cab, and you don't have any money. The fee for puking in my cab and the ride, is 30 bucks. I will take you to a money machine to get cash. If you don't like that idea, I'll call the cops and between the phony id, stiffing me for the ride, and being drunk enough to puke all over yourself, the 2 of you will probably spend the night in jail. Now which one of you is going to go to a cash machine and get some money, of do I call the cops?"
Both of them start telling me that their fathers are lawyers and they're going to get me fired for this. Ok, I say as I take the mike in hand, you have 15 seconds to make up your mind, one, two, three, four........ And the guy stops me and say's he'll go to a money machine and pay me. He says to let her off here. Ok, deal, I say, and she gets out of the cab. I can just imagine being the roomate who was awakened out of a sound sleep, and opened the door to see her standing there with puke all down the front of her. Nice.
As we drive to Ann st., where the silent Mexican guy lives, I'm telling the guy sitting next to me in the front seat that if he jumps out at a stop sign, the other cab companies in town will be notified what he looks like and he will not be given a ride by anybody. After all we don't give rides to people with no money. He doesn't have a coat on, only a sport jacket. I point out to him that he's not dressed for being out in the cold, and that no matter how far he has to walk, it's 20 below, and he has no hat no gloves and no coat.
The Mexican guy got out at his destination and paid me. He's actually a pretty good tipper too. Now we go looking for a money machine. I go for the money machine over by Park and Hughes. As we drive down Badger rd., en route to it, I tell the guy, "This is a bad neighborhood. It's a long walk back down town. You're not dressed for it. Run and no other cab company will give you a ride tonight. When you get out to step up to that money machine, do not run away. Are we clear on all this? You will need at least 35 bucks, 30 was the fee for the ride and cleaning up the cab, the trip to a cash machine is another 5."
He said, ok. We got to the money machine, he got out, got a couple of twenties, and got back in the cab. As we started driving back up Park st., I expected him to tell me to take him back to her house. He handed me the twenties.
"Keep the change", he said, and asked me to take him to an address near St. Mary's hospital.
"Emerald st?", I asked.
"Yeah, just I want to go home. I don't even know what her name is. I was going to fuck that."
After I let him out on Emerald st., I called it a night. It was late, and I had puke to clean up.