Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cat fight

It was a really slow night. When there's nothing to do, you can either sit or drive around. Since cab rent is paid by the mile, I usually prefer to find someplace to sit. On this night, I'd gotten a fare out of The Lodge, it looked like they were throwing a party, so I decided to sit in the alley facing their front door. It turned out to be a good decision. I'd gotten a few fares who saw the cab sitting right there, and asked for a ride. The rides all went a short distance, I'd get empty and hurry back to wait for another.

The Lodge is a frat house, Xsi Psi. It's located on Iota ct., which is the heart of fraternity row. It sits on about 100 feet of lakefront lot, which slopes steeply down to the water. It's about a block and a half walk from the house to campus. They say that all Xsi Psi houses, on what ever campus they exist, are called The Lodge, I wouldn't know. It's a nice looking building from the outside, inside, well it's a frat, so I'm sure it looks like one.

These 2 guys come out and ask for a ride. One is average size, one is a big man, about the right size to be a lineman on the football team. The big man sits in the front seat, the little man sits in back. From the time they sit down, the big man keeps saying, "God was she hot. God was she hot."

The little man just rode in the back seat. They wanted to go to Bradley Hall. Bradley Hall, is in the lakeshore dorms, it was the last "jock" dorm, and at the time was still all male. In the 90's, the university in it's infinite wisdom, converted all the dorms to co-ed. Back at the time of this night, there were still 2 non co-ed dorms, Bradley and Liz, Liz was all female, many called it The Virgin Vault. They got out at Bradley Hall, paid me, and I headed straight back to my spot in the alley opposite the front door to The Lodge.

I took a couple of other rides, that I have long since forgotten about, and was again waiting, when 4 girls came out of the door and asked for a ride. They wanted to go to Monona, which is way off campus. I told them to get in, and was just about to pull away, when the front door again opened, and a guy accompanied by 2 women walked out into the night air. The girl on the passenger side of the front seat, and the girl behind me, immediately had the car doors open, and were standing with their hands on the top's of the open doors, screaming obscenities at the trio that had just come out of the front door of The Lodge. They were screaming threats, and curses, things like, 'I ought to kick your ass bitch.'

These girls weren't acting much like college girls, to my thinking. I immediately told them that if they wanted a ride, they needed to get in the cab and shut the doors. If they didn't want a ride, they needed to get out. Ladies, do you want a ride or not? Make up your mind. If you don't make up your mind, I'll make it up for you and kick you out of the cab. One last time, if you want a ride, sit down and close the doors, otherwise, get out. They sat down and closed the doors. It took a minute to pin down where exactly they wanted to go. They wanted to go to Pflaum rd. pretty close to LaFollette HS. Once we had the destination pinned down, I put the cab in gear, and we were off.

I pulled around the corner on to Henry St. and up the steep hill to the stop sign at Langdon st. When I stopped at Henry and Langdon, the 2 girls and the guy they'd been yelling at were crossing the street, they were walking right in front of the cab. It was too much for the girls in the cab. The girl from the front seat, and the girl from the seat behind me were out the doors and attacking the girls crossing the street in an instant, as soon as the cab stopped. I looked at the open doors, and the fight going on in front of the cab in the middle of the street, and there was only one thing to do, I keyed the mike and asked the dispatcher for the police. The dispatcher asked why I wanted the police, and I calmly described the situation, he said ok and a minute later said the cops were on the way.

The 2 girls remaining in the cab, had listened to me call the police, and they sat there like nothing had happened. I was amazed! I told them that the police were coming, and they might want to go pull their friends off their 2 victims before the cops arrived. The fight going on in front of the cab was pretty amazing, one of the 2 girls had been throwing standing kicks to the chest of her opponent. They were pulling hair, and slugging their victims with closed fists, and it was obvious that these 2 girls who were going to Monona knew how to fight. It was equally obvious that the 2 girls they were attacking did not know how to fight. The poor guy was having no success pulling my passengers off his friends, and he was getting beat up pretty bad too. When I told the 2 girls in the cab that they might want to pull their friends off, they jumped out of the cab and did so.

After the the girls going to Monona were pulled off, to my great amazement, all four of them got back in the cab. The 2 girls who had gotten beat up, and their male companion, got up and quickly walked down Langdon st., in the direction of campus. I pulled the cab up in front of the building on the far side of the intersection and parked. One of the girls in the back seat asked why we weren't going any where. I told her that once the cops are called, I have to wait for the cops to come. She said ok, and they just sat there. Again, I was pretty amazed.

Around 10 minutes later, the cops got there. I recall my conversation with the officer pretty well, I told her exactly what had happened. She just shrugged and said, she didn't have a victim, without a victim she didn't have a crime, and that being the case, we were all free to go. So, we left. Off to Monona.

The girls in the cab forgot the whole incident pretty quick. You'd think they would have been livid about me calling the cops, but they acted as if nothing had happened. The girl in the front seat, the really tough one, started saying, "God, was he hot."

The girl in the front seat wasn't bad looking. She wasn't stunningly beautiful, but she was was certainly ok. She had short dark hair, was about 5' 5", had an average build, and was wearing average looking clothes. She kept repeating to herself, "God, was he hot." Monona was a long ride, so I listened to this for a while, and finally asked her, "What did he look like, anyway?"

She had this dreamy quality to the look on her face, and the tone of her voice. She said that he was a big man, about 6'5", with a really muscular build. He had short hair, and was wearing, what ever it was she said he was wearing, and that he was a really good dancer.

She was describing the guy who went to Bradley hall. She was describing the guy who'd said, "God, was she hot.", all the way back to his dorm. No question about it.

I told her, "You know, the guy you're talking about took a cab home a little while before you came out of that frat party, and all the way back to his dorm, he said exactly what you're saying, 'God, was she hot.'"

"Stop the cab! I want to go to Bradley hall. I want his baby!", she blurted out.

I told her that Bradley hall was security locked, and if I took them there she wouldn't be able to get in this late at night. Even if she did get in, this late at night, she wouldn't know what room he lived in, and she'd have no way of finding him. She sighed, and said nothing. Apparently, they'd danced the night away, without exchanging names.

When we got to their destination on Pflaum rd., they paid me and started walking off in 3 different directions. It was then obvious they had asked for the point where the walk to each ones home was about the same distance. I didn't care, I was paid. I even knew what the fight was over. These girls were obviously high school students. The girls who had gotten beat up, and took off walking in the direction of the dorms, they were pretty obviously college students. The college girls probably made a big deal out of the underage girls being at the party. It was kind of amusing, but I didn't care much, they were out of the cab. I went looking for my next ride.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cabs Are For Kissing: Feathers In My Bald Spot

I'm just finding out how to work all the blog bells and whistles. For my own use, keeping track of other good blogs, these create a link features are really nice.
Cabs Are For Kissing: Feathers In My Bald Spot


I was on my way to work and I was approaching my turn off East Washington onto Few st. About a hundred yards up, something strange caught my eye. It looked like an animal rolling around in the street. Being the curious person that I am, I decided to go and rubberneck the thing in the street instead of going straight to work.

When I got close to the animal in the street, I could see it was a dog. The dog was rolling around on it's back, snarling and snapping at the air, barking, and carrying on intensely. It was pretty obvious that it had been hit by a car. East Washington is a really big street, it's divided with a median strip in the middle, and has 2 traffic lanes plus a parking lane on each side. Parked just before the dog rolling around was a City of Madison dump truck with 2 bozo's, smoking cigarettes, sitting in it. The dog was in the right hand lane. I stopped my pickup truck just about even with the city truck in the right hand lane to stop traffic, I didn't get run over while I checked out this injured dog. I could now see the dog's head was covered with blood.

I was just stepping out onto the street and the driver of the dump truck hailed me. He grinned and said that the cops were on their way to shoot the dog. I just glared back at him, and approached the dog. I was going to pick up that dog and take it to the vet. I didn't even think about it. What I did think about was getting bit in the face. I knew I was going to get bit in the face, there was no question in my mind, I was going to get bit in the face. I was just out of biting range of the dog when I hesitated. I turned my face to the side as far as it would go, looked away, bent over, slid my arms under the dog, and lifted her off the ground.

To my utter amazement, I did not get bit. The dog immediately stopped snarling and started to whimper. She was crying. I was still sure I was going to get bit. With my head turned as far away as possible from the creature in my arms, I carried her back to my pickup and put her on the passenger side of the seat. Up close, I could see that she had a big gash on the top of her head, but not too much else wrong with her. She'd probably been hit by that jerk in the city truck, the dump truck was high enough off the road to clip the dog's head without crushing the dog like a car or pickup would. Probably on purpose. And he was waiting for the cops. Taking an extra break, and smoking a few extra cigarettes. Life sure is cheap isn't it? I knew where I'd take her.

A couple of blocks from the cab company, is a vet's office. My own dog was one of Dr. Mike's patients, and I had an account there. I was glad to see that it was open early. I took one last look at the poor pup lying on my front seat, sobbing, and went into the vet's office. The vet tech asked if he could help me, and I said yes he could. I gave him my name, said I was a client, and that I had a really beautiful Irish Setter in my pickup truck that had been hit by a car. Put the dog on my tab, it has no collar. I'm late for work, I'll check back later in the day and see how the dog is doing, it's got a big gash on it's head.

Finally, since I was lucky, and did not get bit while I was picking the dog up off the street and putting it on my seat, and have not so far been bitten today, would it be possible for you to get the dog out of my pickup truck and bring it in? She's just lying there whimpering, but you do this for a living, and I already took my chance at getting bit. I'm late for work, and I'd prefer not to press my luck. Thanks.

When the vet tech brought in the dog, he took her past me, into the back. I never saw her again.

I'd been driving about 2 hours when J.D. said, "R.C., you're where do what?"

I came back with where I was and what I was doing. He told me I had to get empty, and call Roy on the phone when empty.

What did I do now? I haven't done anything today. I haven't done anything this week. Why am I in trouble? What a day, first that dog, and that will cost god only knows how much, and now I'm in trouble for something. Some days are just like that. So, I got empty, and called Roy.

Roy asked if I took a dog to the vet on the way to work. Yes, I did, why, did the dog die? Am I on the hook for thousands of dollars and the vet wants to talk to me right away? That dog didn't look like it was hurt that bad when I dropped it off. He kind of chuckled and said, no I wasn't in any trouble, and the owners of the dog were very grateful to have their dog back. They wanted to know if they owned me anything.

Oh..... I see. I was so relieved, I didn't know what to say. Roy told me that the dog was a patient at that vet's office, and her name was Ruby. The vet immediately recognised her and called the owner. The owner was frantic with grief, Ruby had slipped her collar that morning, and was off for a romp. The injury to the dog was limited to a big gash on the top of her head which took a few stitches, and the dog was already back home.

No, that lady doesn't owe me anything, I'm just glad the dog found her way back home. If it was my dog, I'd want somebody to do the same for me.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bar time, it's -20 on a Saturday night

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.

The con man becomes a personal

It was a slow weekday afternoon, and I was pulling into West Towne to hang in front of the food court. Sometimes, there were time calls at the mall, sometimes flags, and I didn't have anything better to do.

As I pulled off Gammon rd., I came along side Mean Gene coming out. He rolled down his window and asked me if I'd take somebody to the bus, and I said, sure. It was something to do. So the back passenger door of his cab opened, and who should stand up, but that trouble maker with the gravely voice from 2 years ago. He didn't recognize me. He got in the back, and said he wanted to go to the bus. Nothing special. So, I said to myself, I'll take him direct, I just want him out of the cab, I don't want any trouble, and rush hour is about to start, so downtown will be a good place to be.

I drove him to the bus. We didn't talk on the way. When we got to the bus he said it was a real good ride. What was my name he asked, he said he wanted to ask for me in the future. R. C. I told him. It was safe to give him my name, because I was notorious for my policy of, I DO NOT DO PERSONALS. He gave me a twenty and to my great surprise, told me to keep it. He had a wad of cash in his pocket that would choke a horse. While he was stuffing the wad back in his pocket, he dropped another 2 twenties on the ground, and shuffled away from them toward the bus. I quickly scooped them up, and got the hell out of there. Forty bucks was nowhere close to adequate compensation for the trouble he caused me, I said to myself.

What I didn't know, and certainly didn't plan on, was how persistent was. Well, he was persistent the first time I ran into him, but I never talked to him on the phone, so I just didn't know, right? He was now my personal, and if I was on the road, for about the next 5 years, if he was in town, he wouldn't have anybody else for a driver but me.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

drivers nicknames

Jerry is the dispatcher who gave me my nickname, which is R. C. Craw Daddy broadened it to Real Cabdriver, but he's the only one who actually calls me that.

A short list of nicknames I remember would be:

Fast Eddie, Mud Pie, Buntie, Bam Bam, Tiberious, Buck, Flannagoon, Tank, Boom, Knuckles, Wicked Wanda, Air Head, Schmittaie, The Rod, Spike, Light Bulb, School Marm, Bubba, Stone eye, J. Crudley Doright - Crud for short, Scary Jerry, Mr. Squirlie, T-fus, Bumper, The Wombat, Raven, Square Pants, Blondie, J. C., P. C., J. D., The Hog, Trasher, Puffie, Boomtown, The Minus, Hippie, Pin Head, Piggie, Bull Frog, Cadillac Jack, Crazy Terry, Lucky Pierre, Gwench, Jumbo, Schnidley, Ham Dinger, Bull Dog, Max Factor, Lean Jean, Buck, Circus, Worm Boy, Hoser, Mean Gene, Hammer, Craw Daddy, Roy Boy, Hood, The Sidewalk Commando, John Boy, Perfesser Neil Boy, Big T, Kipper, El Dougaie, Duke, Magpie, Smiley, Duh, The Brick, and of course The Psycho Bitch From Hell.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Eel Man

Some passengers have nicknames too, one real character was The Eel Man.

I first met the Eel Man on a Sunday, during my first year driving, back in 1989. He was a con man. The ride was Hayes rd. to the bus, it was around noon on a typically slow Sunday. I was still a rookie, I had a lot to learn about the business. We've always been a shared ride service, but we've always offered people with charge accounts direct rides for an increased charge. A lot of people get in and demand a direct ride. My own personal policy is, if they ordered the ride with a phone call, they get shared ride service, it says shared ride service right on the door, but I was a rookie and still didn't know better.

I pulled up under the awning of this motel on Hayes rd. and the guy came right out. He had no luggage which was unusual, but common enough. He got into the back seat, passenger side and said he needed to get to the bus. I started driving and he right away said that he needed to be there in 30 minutes or he'd miss his bus. The only way to get him there in 30 minutes was a direct ride, so I said I could give him a direct ride but he'd have to pay the premium for it that we charge people with charge accounts. He said he wouldn't pay it but he'd give me a big tip. How big a tip, I asked. A buck he said.

I told him that if he was unwilling to pay for what he wanted, then I couldn't take him, and I'd have to take him back to the motel, no charge. Ok, he said, back to the motel, no charge. So, I turned around and drove back to the motel. When I pulled up under the awning, his door opened up and he sort of fell on the pavement. Sort of fell? It was the clumbsiest sort of fell I'd ever seen. After rewinding that mental video tape we call memory, and reviewing the scene 100's of times since, what he really did was put his hands together like you would if you were diving into a swimming pool, and dove out of the back seat onto the pavement. Then he got up cursing, and stomped into the lobby. I reached over the seat, swung the door closed, and started heading back toward downtown or the airport or anyplace but Hayes rd. on a slow Sunday.

I got about 2 miles away and his ride came back on the radio. This time the dispatcher was asking who could do it right away and get him there in time to make this bus he wanted to catch. So, I bid on the call, I was up too. The dispatcher said, "Anybody but you 71, anybody but you. Now who can do it?"

Turns out that Fred was in Sun Prairie, so Fred got the ride. I later asked Fred if the guy was trouble, Fred said no, he was an ok passenger. I didn't think so, what a wierdo. He looked wierd, pretty fat and sloppy looking. He sounded wierd, he had this distinctive gravely voice, that you'd remember. And he was the clumbsiest guy I'd ever seen.

When I checked in at 3 pm, I asked the dispatcher what the story was. He told me that I'd probably get fired for tossing a retarded man on his nose on the pavement. Excuse me? What are you talking about? That guy at that motel, going to the bus was retarded, and when you took him back to the motel and threw him on the ground on his nose, his brother and the bellman and 3 other witness's watched you do it. I did no such thing! Well, you can straighten it out with Roy tomorrow, but that's why you couldn't have the 2nd call to take him to the bus. His brother called and was outraged!! He said he's going to sue. The manager of the motel called to complain, he said he'd never give out our phone number again. Good job.

There were more calls later in the day from Chicago, from a variety of people. A call from a doctor who said he'd examined this guy. A call from a lawyer who said he'd been retained to represent this guy. And calls from, I don't recall anymore who all. The calls started again on Monday morning, and I was indeed called into the office to talk to Roy. I tried the truth, telling him I'd done no such thing. He didn't have quite enough to pull me off the road for it yet, but as soon as he'd verified some of the details, I was going to be history.

Nice day. Nice company. Nice boss. Well, I was looking for a job when I came here. This is the most outragious bunch of bull I've ever heard.

Back then, I had Tuesdays and Thursdays off, so I didn't get into the office again until Wed. I went to Roy's desk and wanted to know what the score was, am I fired or what? Well, he said, ah, well, ah........ Well, he didn't think I was fired, but the company lawyers still had to take it seriously, and had to check it out.

And people wonder why cab drivers think passengers are, well, passengers. The guy had a distinctive voice, very distinctive. The same guy who was dispatching on Sunday had taken about a half dozen complaints from doctors, lawyers, and who knows who all else, and it finally dawned on him that they all had the same voice. This was back before caller ID. He told the guy claiming to be the injured persons doctor, that he had the same voice as the guys lawyer, and the phone went dead. Not one call since. But the company lawyers had to take this very seriously, and it would be a while before it would be officially declaired to be a complete lie somebody was making up, with the intention of shaking down Badger for money. Well, thanks a lot boss.

End of Eel man adventure number 1, thank god.

There will be, I think, at least 4 Eel man adventures, all true.... perhaps 5 or 6, including a couple (perhaps more) of non cab driving stories, including a story about the best christmas, and best gifts of my lifetime.

Get a job!

Non drivers rarely hear this comment. It has many meanings. It can be a greeting, or a comment of disdain, or simply babble, depending on the circumstances and the tone of voice. When I get out of my car and start walking through the lot to start a shift, I frequently say to the first person I walk past, "Get a job."

The usual reply is, "I got a job." This is a way of saying, cab driving is a job, it's my job, and that's that. The second most common reply is, "I don't wanna."

We sometimes speak of this thing called, "A real job." I got one of those a few years ago. It sucks. It sucks the fat off dead bears butts. That said, many of my fellow drivers, somewhat envie me, I have health insurance (it's worthless), I get paid vacation days (which I schedule on football Fridays so I can drive cab), and I get sick leave (which I'm only supposed to take if I'm dying). In short, any real job that a cab driver can get, is probably over rated. There are exceptions, not many, but they do exist. I told my supervisor, at my real job, that I've had enough of it in general, and I'm going to leave in February (Why February? Perhaps I'll explain that in a later post. The crap that goes on at real jobs is too outrageous to be real sometimes.)

The most off the wall ride

It was a chilly October night following a Big Ten football home game, mid 50's, with light misting rain that made the pavement slick. I was sent to pick up 2 people just off Fish Hatchery, going to Granada Way. When I pulled up to the address, there were 2 guys standing on the front stoop of a condo, one had a brand new winter coat on with the hood up, the other had a winter coat and wore no hat. They were outside, waiting for the cab, right were they were supposed to be. So far so good. I pulled up, and they got in the back seat.

"Where you going?", I asked.

The guy on the passenger side gave me the street name, and I started driving. Every now and then some passenger gives you the creeps during a ride, but it's almost always nothing, and they usually even tip, so you get a little immune to it. If you start treating people like creeps, you will get yourself in a bunch of trouble. The street name he gave was only a couple of blocks long, and since there were 2 of them, it was entirely possible that they'd get off in front of some building that was equal distance from the actual buildings they did live in. It was the right time of day for them to be getting off work if they worked in a bar, or something.

As we drove, I again asked, "So where you going on...", followed by the current street name. (When they tried to clean up the neighborhood a few years ago they renamed all the streets, so it is no longer called Granada Way)

The same guy, on the passenger side, repeated the street name. He sounded a little tight, now he was sounding creepy. It was a short ride, as in 5 minutes. I told myself that I'd feel better when I got them out of the cab, I was just being paranoid, and that after this ride I'd go back down town where I wouldn't worry about the passengers so much.

When I turned on the street, he'd asked for I asked, "Ok, where abouts?"

"All the way down at the end", he said.

Now I felt better. There was indeed a building at very end, in the cul de sac. However when I got to the last driveway on the left he quick said, "Hey, you gotta turn in here."

Ok, these buildings have separate front and rear entrances, nothing unreasonable about that. I pulled into the drive and asked which way, the guy said, "To the right."

I pulled up to the door, and was just turning my head to tell the guy who was doing all the talking how much, when the kid behind me grabbed my hair and slammed my head back against the head rest.

The kid on the passenger side said in a tone that was cool as ice, "I want everything you've got. We want all the money. Everything you've got." He said it very deliberately. His voice had been tight before, it was smooth and confident now. There was not the slightest hint of excitement in his voice.

It took me a split second to say to myself, no way. I grabbed the mike and started to say I need the cops, but didn't get it out, the kid behind me let go of my hair and was trying to cover my mouth with his hands. The kid on the passenger side dove between the seats and with both hands, one on the mike, one on the mike cord, and wrestled the mike out of my hand. Ok, if I can't call the cops, perhaps we can go find one. I slapped the shifter into reverse and floored it.

The pavement was wet, so the tires mostly spun, and I had to let off on the gas a little so they would actually grab. The kid behind me had picked up some kind of rigid object and was hitting me on the top of the head with it. It wasn't heavy, perhaps they brought something like a cigar box to carry the change away in. What ever it was, I knew he was hitting me, but it was like getting hit with an empty cigar box, no effect. The cab was picking up speed in reverse. I needed to back up about 4 or 5 car lengths to make the T-turn to come out onto the street going forward.

As I was looking to the right outside mirror, I saw a knife even with my head, about 10 inches away, out of the corner of my eye. I asked myself, "Am I going to get my throat cut out of this?", as I started to feather the breaks. I knew that if I threw it into drive from full tilt boogie in reverse, I'd risk lunching the transmission. If I blow up the transmission, I'm stranded here with these 2, I can't risk damaging the transmission. I need to slow down to fast walking speed, say 5 mph in reverse, before I pull it down into drive. I keep the knife in view in the corner of my eye, and I see the kid bring up his other fist with some of the mike cord doubled in it. He shoved the knife into the loop of doubled mike cord, pulled hard, and cut the mike cord in 2. By now, the rear door behind me was a little open.

I was just about ready to slap pull it down into drive when the kid with the mike threw it at me, it raised a bump on my head. Then his door and the rear passenger door swung open wide and they both dove out into the darkness. Almost immediately, I pulled it down into drive and gave it gas to go, but light enough to not spin the tires on the wet pavement. As I cut to the right, to go between the buildings, the one rear door slammed shut. When I got to the end of the street, I paused to reach over the seat and pull the other shut.

There used to be a police substation on Badger Road, so I went looking for a cop there. It was no longer a cop shop, what to do? No communications, no cell phone, and all the pay phones in the area have been removed, what am I going to do? Then I saw a Capital cop checking on a State building, so I pulled up in front of him. I jumped out and said, I'd just been in a robbery. He asked where, and when I told him he said, that was out of his jurisdiction. Ok, I said, then could you get me a cop? I have no communication, they cut my mike cord. It took a second for him to say, ok he would, then I told him I needed a few seconds to catch my breath.

They sent both township and city cops to this State office building parking lot. The BIG question was, whose jurisdiction was it. They all told me, more than once, that the chances of catching these guys was slim to none, as if I had a choice about reporting it and getting a police report. They cut the mike cord, they damaged company property guys, I have to have a police report. So, it was determined that the township cop had jurisdiction, and he and I drove back over to where it happened and spent about 2 hours standing in the rain filling out the police report.

J. J. kept asking for on the radio, but of course with no mike I couldn't answer him. After absolutely assuring me that it would be just about impossible to catch the 2 guys, the cop said something like, 'The only way we catch these guys is after they do it a bunch of times and each time we get a little more information, and finally they make a serious blunder and we catch them.' Did I want to go to the hospital? I don't know, I told him. All I had was a bump on my head. He looked in my eyes with his flashlight real good, I think he was looking for signs of a concussion, but that's only a guess. Finally, about 2 hours later, I was free to go back to the office.

When I got back to the office, there was a small group of drivers who'd hung around after checking in to see how it finally turned out. First to greet me in the parking lot was a fellow, I frequently refer to as pain. He asked me how much they got. Nothing, I said. The dove out of the cab, they didn't like the way I was driving. He grinned broadly, turned and said to the there's in the parking lot, "See, I told you, I knew they wouldn't get anything!!!!!!!" Then Bam Bam asked me if I was all right, did I need a doctor. I'm all right, all I want to do is go home.

And it was over, sort of. I'd always wondered if I'd be able to get back in a cab after being robbed. Over the years, I've seen the pain, and the hollow look in the eyes of other drivers after they've been robbed. And many have been robbed.

To get over it, I started to tell the story, mostly to passengers. As I told the story, other stories came back into my memory. Quickly, this story became the 5th knife story. Sometimes I would tell only this story, sometimes I would tell all 5 knife stories. In spite of the fact that they are not cab stories, I will at some time in the future tell all of them, as well as a number of other wild stories that really did happen.