Friday, November 28, 2008

Junior, aka The Minus

I had fun with The Minus when I ran into him at a wedding a couple of years ago. He got banished from cab driving for failing to pay his cab rent many years ago, but aside from being grayer, he looked like the same old Minus. So, I walked up to him, threw my arms around him like a long lost friend, and exclaimed "Minus!!"

He looked at me puzzled, and said, "Yeah, I know, I've got one tattooed on my forehead. Who the hell are you anyway?"

I smiled and said, "You haven't changed much, it's good to see you." Then I went on my way. He spent the rest of the afternoon asking people who I was, and of course nobody remembered what my name was when he knew me and I do look a little different, it just made no sense what so ever to him.

I will always remember him as he was one night with Pin Head, they were both trashed and he was kind of singing, "A Minus and a Pin."

His official nickname at the cab company was Junior. He's Fast Eddies little brother, so Fast Eddie got called Senior, and Minus got called Junior, over the radio.

The absolute, classic, Minus antic dote happened one Sunday morning at The Union House. A bunch of drivers went for a few after work beverages, and he was sifting through his cash and saying, "This one's for me, this ones for THM, this one's for me....." And finally said, "The hell with THM.", and bought the house a round of drinks. According to Fast Eddie, he hadn't even made check in that day.

My classic Minus memory was a call at the bus. I was in the back lot, he was next to the window, we were both standing next to the dispatcher in the office when the call came in. The back lot smoked the window by 50 yards, so I knew I was up, he was closer to his cab, but running through the shop doesn't take much time. Dispatcher asked me where I was, Ingersol and Wash, asked Junior and he said his cab was broke down. What he'd done was floor it backing out of the lot, and thrown it into drive with it floored, which is a really good way to spread pieces of transmission all over the pavement under the car, which is precisely what happened.

But he is definitely part of the family. How could a guy who talked of spanking dead presidents (laying a bill down on the bar), and cold cracklers (bottles of beer for after work), not be loved by all, even if he couldn't drive a cab?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

My favorite Christmas

My cousin, upon hearing this story asked, what did I get. I got the memory.

I used to have this personal some people called The Eel Man. Weird guy, he'd come to town and pay me to let him ride around in the cab while I ran other rides. For some reason, he always wanted to tip the dispatchers too. Usually it was 1/2 gallon of vodka for Big T, and a case of bergie bocks for Curley. The other posts that refer to him, are the first 2 rides I ever did for him, and he was never less than weird, be it good or bad. I think he was a con artist, but I never asked.

He was The Eel Man because when we'd dine in the sushi place, he'd throw down $60-$70 bucks worth of eel. For those of you who never had sushi, eel is cooked, tastes just like walleye, and is usually one of the most expensive items on the menu. I was kind of partial to the spicy tuna which is raw, and the steak in a sushi place is really good. Of course when we ate out, it was his treat.

I had a weird SO back then who had a son who didn't like me. The first time he brought Glow over with him I thought, wow, she fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. I was told they really loved each other and she was real good for him, which is true, they're still together, and their son is in high school.

The second time they visited they disclosed that Glow was pregnant, and she told me she was going to go down and get on ADFC in a few days. "Ah, wait a second. Are you sure you want to do that? If you get on ADFC, your kid isn't your kid anymore, but rather a ward of the court, and if you wanted to visit a friend in Chicago, legally, you'd need to get someone to give you permission in writing to leave the state." What I really didn't want to see happen was for ADFC to screw up the fathers life, which it would have, and the out come of that be that instead of a happy family of three living in a little house in the woods and racing go carts on the weekend, the kid would have no father today. Glow was kind of taken aback, and asked where she was supposed to get the funds to have a baby. "Gee, Glow, you're Ms. Natural anyway right? Why don't you have a midwife do it, and have the baby in your own apartment?" She'd never considered that but she liked the idea, did I know where she could find one. Turns out a couple of drivers used them, Hammer's wife to be, and a really fine lady named Nora. I got Nora's phone number for her, and that's the way little Joe came into the world.

Since I had an opportunity to have a real family Christmas, I told Glow that I'd buy a tree, and decorations, if she'd be willing to have it at her place. I told her she got to keep the decorations, which were mostly quantity 1 fancy ornaments, which came from a trendy little shop on Monroe st. I like Christmas trees a lot. The tree came from a cut your own place in Middleton, a perfect Frazier Fir. Phil's gift was to be a CD player, boom box, what 18 year old can go with out his tunes? Glow's gift was a really nice pair of hiking boots, which she said were the best Christmas gift she'd ever gotten, they were waterproof, light and well insulated.

When we had Christmas at Phil and Glow's it was perfect. The tree was perfect, the gifts were perfect, it was simply the best ever Christmas of my life. The greatest gift I gave that Christmas was to the unborn baby, I gave him a really happy family to grow up in, just blind luck.

So how does the Eel Man come into this story? He came to town one night in December, and after we'd dined at the sushi place, he told me to come shopping with him. He was paying me by the hour, so what the hell. We went into a music store, and he said that if I wanted anything to put it in the basket. I got kind of embarrassed at around $125.00, and said we had enough CD's. The CD's were mostly chosen by one of the kids who worked in the store. I told him they were to be the first CD's for Phil's new CD boom box, Phil agreed with his taste, said they were great.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

An ok weekend

Considering how bad it's been lately, this weekend wasn't half bad.

Nobody told me they were going to kill me, or something graphic like grinding all the skin off my face on the sidewalk. Nobody tried to beat me out of a fare. The money was ok, relatively speaking. A hotel employee from a far west side hotel told me they had 30% occupancy on Friday night. 30%??????? On a football weekend???????? Yeah, I will count my blessings, I did much better than they did.

I told a passenger 2 of the knife stories, she was entranced. I told another group three of them, they wanted to get a ride back to the hotel at bar time to hear the rest of them. All in all, except for the snafu at St. Mary's, it was a really laid back, enjoyable shift last night. I had fun. It's supposed to be fun. It's not supposed to be pain, or terror, I didn't have to show anybody the Hyde who lives in side me.

My return to being a full time driver is set for mid January. I can't wait!!!!!!!! I will drive on Thursday, I need to spend this holiday with my family. Never before in my life have I known how much I love them all, even the ones I can't stand. Everyone should spend the holiday with loved ones.