Monday, November 9, 2009

People from the past

I ran into a few people from the past over the weekend.

To the best of my knowledge Butch and I are the only 2 drivers who have really escaped robbers. They say that Useless One escaped, but he did he? The bad guys got his cell phone which they used to call a cab from a different company, and they put the driver from that company in the hospital.

Many years ago, there was a string of robberies which happened about once a month. It was always the same story. 3 guys, black, about 18 years old, a dark one who looked about like so, and a light one who looked about like so. I figured it was a gang initiation, but the company was always very adamant that I was wrong. That makes me believe I was right, of course. The way it always went down was the guy sitting behind the driver would throw something over the drivers head, draw it tight around their neck so they were strangling, and the other 2 would pound the crap out of the driver. After the driver was beaten up pretty bad, they'd ask for the money. No opportunity was given to simply give up the money.

When these guys tried to rob Butch, he won the fight. He laughed about it, and would say, "They was just flappin", to describe the fight. Butch must have had a bit of practice, when they try that on someone with no experience, the element of surprise is probably enough to win, all by itself.

Back in those days, another driver was said to have won, but that kind of depends on what you call winning. When they started beating the crap out of him his foot came off the brake peddle. His cab was in reverse and he was on a grade that went down to his rear, so the cab took off backward and wasn't going real fast, but was gaining speed. One or more of the kids pounding on him decided to exit the cab before the cab wreaked and didn't quite make it, his arm got pinned between the open cab door and a tree, so he got caught, and hurt pretty bad.

The white chick Butch was with was pretty skanky. He didn't remember me. He's been gone from our company for close to 20 years, and out of the cab business for around 5. Almost no one remembered him.

I had Mona and Stella in the cab. Mona has been Mona since before I started driving. She's never been all there, but age hasn't been kind to her. I really wondered why someone would take a ride a single block on Williamson st. When she got in the cab, I greeted her by her name and asked where she wanted to go, she gave an address a block and a half up the street. When she got out, I saw why she took the ride. The skirt she was wearing was mostly gone in the back all the way up to the waste band, which revealed the diaper she was wearing. At least the seat was in the same condition when she got out as it was when she got in, whew!

Stella was at the grocery store on Broadway. I guess most of the drivers know that ride and won't take her. She's also been riding since before I started driving and she always talks non stop a mile a minute the whole way. Most of what she says is a complaint, one after another, and she's always got 3 complaints about the driver before you even get the cab in gear. Her groceries MUST be in the back seat. Bull shit, groceries go in the trunk, but all the other drivers....... All the other drivers don't know who you are Stella, and don't know that it won't shut you up, and since you won't shut up, why should you get special treatment? Answer: You should never get special treatment. But once in a while I will take her because I need the good will it generates with the dispatcher.

I took The Cookie Lady to the same grocery, she'd gotten out of a week in the hospital. She too, figured she'd gotten crappy service. I started work at 3 and she was bitching that she'd called for a cab at 2. I drove out there from downtown to do that ride too, again to make points with the dispatcher. Ah, let no good deed go unpunished, right?

And finally, drum roll perhaps, the final ride of the weekend I did was positively creepy. A couple of guys, 25 - 35 years old perhaps, got in to take a ride to a small club to hear the metal band playing there. When the subject of smoking came up, the guy on the passenger side commented that he'd quit smoking once for 2 years, but started up again. The guy sitting behind me commented, "Yeah, but that was when you were in prison."

"You were in prison for 2 years? What did you do, if you don't mind my asking", I asked.

"Robbed a bank. Actually robbed a few banks", he replied.


I asked him a little about it. He said that the papers in the community where he was at the time gave him a nick name.

Then the guy behind me commented that they had a buddy who'd killed a cab driver. Really!? Here in Wisconsin? He said yeah, here in Wisconsin, and went on to say the guy would get out of prison in 4 more years. If he killed the cab driver around 20 years ago, the guy he killed was my best friend. The guy said that his friend was 16 when he killed the cab driver, so sure enough, their good friend Peter had killed Jim Bob. It was awkward to say the very least. They said nice things about their friend, and I said to not worry about it, it was a long time ago. What a blast from the past.........

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