Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cab Stories: 1

He was 22, thin, good looking, medium height and hip. He'd always been hip. He'd been class treasurer in high school and helped edit the yearbook. He usually obtained the booze and milder drugs for his college frat parties and got laid at every other one. While his clothes - faded jeans with a hole in one knee, green turtle-neck, white jean-jacket - were a tad retro, they were hip because he wore them.

En route we had a hip conversation about Miles. He contended that Kind of Blue, which I was playing, was Davis's greatest album. I held the less conventional view of preferring Sketches of Spain. "I like the melodies," I told him. He grudgingly accepted that as a legitimate position - although an inferior one.

When we arrived at his destination, he climbed out of the back seat and came around to my window to pay. He started to hand me a ten dollar bill, then paused and said, "you know if you could really write what cab driving's like - I mean if you could really capture the experience - it would be literature."

"Well," I hesitantly started to say, "I've made a few notes here and -"

"No! - No!" he interrupted, waving his bill in front of me as to erase my words. "No - if you could really just get it down - you could create a work of genius."

He stood staring at some point over my head. If only he had the time ... if only he chose to dedicate himself to the task ... Yes! Cabbie would be his first best seller, the next avaunt on the non-fiction novel ...

"That was $7.60," I said.

"Oh, yeah - yeah," he said, remembering me. "Make it eight."

"Thanks," I said, handing back his two bills.

En raptured in his vision, he missed my mild sarcasm. "I wasn't just a documentarian," he would tell Charlie Rose, "I was one of them." His success would give him the time he needed to write his true landmark work, Ulysses as a Young Narcissist and Other Tales.

He turned and wandered across the crowed boulevard, floating through the braking cars, honking horns and screamed obscenities on the soft velvet warmth of his dreams.

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