Mather Schneider

Dan Tells Me a Story at 4 a.m. While We Wait for Our Cabs

So I’m up in the fucking foothills and I get a call over the computer, that little beep comes on to tell me a fare is in my area. We never know what we’re getting into, do we, just the general area of the call, that’s it. Could be fucking Charles Manson for all we know. Still, naturally I accept it; there’s just not enough calls to reject one, you know that. You accept them and you take your chances.

The address is way out in zone 584, which isn’t where I’m at at all, I’m in fucking zone 457! You know how the dispatch system does this sometimes, these mistakes, but I figure what the hell, I go for it. Takes me 25 minutes to get there, and I can’t find the place at first, my GPS system takes me straight at a brick wall and insists I go through it. That female computer voice of the GPS navigator is always sending me down dead ends. Reminds me of my ex wife, ha ha. They might as well program that voice to say, “Turn right in a half mile on Grant Road, you worthless idiot.” Ha ha. Anyway, I find a way around it and find the other part of the road and find the right address.

It’s a fancy house like all the houses up there, those rich fucks and their fancy houses, but the first thing I notice is a burrito laying in the yard. It’s just laying there half open, chicken it looks like.

Then I notice other things in the yard: lettuce, carrots, something that looks like oatmeal, a freezer pizza, all just thrown about. What the fuck? I think. I try to call the number but of course there’s no answer. So I get out of the cab and head for the door, I mean, hell, I drove all the way up there. As I’m walking to the door I see other things in the yard: a pile of Tums, beans, rice, a broken bag of flour, an opened can of ravioli, some broccoli, and other things too.

I knock on the door and a lady comes and opens it half way. She’s very short and old and has a cigarette in her mouth about 2 feet long. Whacko! I think.

“I can’t come outside,” she says.


“I can’t come outside, someone is trying to poison me.”

“Don’t you need a cab?”

“I need you to go to Walgreen’s for me,” she says. “I need some Bling H2O and some cigarettes. Marlboro Lights.”

She stuffs 50 bucks in my hand.

Shit. So, ok, I drove all the way up there after all. I head down to Walgreen’s which is only about a mile away and go in there. I leave the meter on of course.

Turns out Bling H2O is just bottled water, so I grab some of that. Then I wander around and look at some magazines, go to the bathroom, you know, to get that meter up a bit. Then I go to the counter.

I’m not a smoker so I don’t know about this shit, but I guess there’s a few kinds of Marlboro Lights. So I call the whackjob up. She answers this time. What kind of Marlboro’s you want? 100’s, she says. I tell the clerk. 100’s are the long kind. Learn something new every day.

Well the water and cigarettes are 9 bucks, and when I get back out to the cab the meter still only says 17 dollars, by the time I get back to her house it says 22.

I knock on the door again, standing there with my little sack. She opens up, and I give her a five. I kind of peek into the house and I can see the floor is covered in what looks like Cheerios. Must have been 20 boxes of Cheerios I swear to God, they were like an ankle deep. She was wading through them in her house slippers.

“Where’s the rest of my change?” she says.

“That’s it,” I say. “9 bucks for your crap, 22 for the trip and 10 for being your little errand boy.”

She scowls. “But that’ 41.”

For a nutbag she sure knew her math. I peel off 4 ones and thrust them at her. Some people.

She closes the door and I go back to my cab, looking at the spinach and the fish sticks and the bread thrown around in the yard. The javelinas are gonna have a feast, I think. Then I see a can of coffee there. I pick it up, it’s half full. Folger’s. So I take it with me, why not. Shit, maybe it’s poisoned, maybe it’ll kill me, put me out of my fuckin’ misery. But it wasn’t, I drank some this morning, tasted pretty good.

So, how was your day yesterday? You make any money, or what?

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