Play Nice

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[This is where the summary would go if I'd bothered to write one.]

« Week 54Week 55 »
Sex and Drugs

I slid into the cab and, despite the warnings on the window, slammed the door shut. I shivered and pulled my coat tightly around my body.

“Where to?” the cabbie asked.

“Fifth and Amherst,” I said, not looking at him.

“Woo-eee. Only two things people want there at this time of night. Sex and drugs. Which one you looking for baby? Maybe I can help you out.”

I didn’t need to look ahead to know that he was trying very hard to see through my wool coat. I fought down the small wave of revulsion caused by his oily gaze. Scooting forward, I stared at the documents on the dashboard.

“Look—Jeffrey—I’m not here to make true your very own Taxicab Confession. You either take me where I need to go or you pull over and let me out so I can get another cab, preferably one with a less talkative driver.”

He sneered at me and mumbled something under his breath. It didn’t take much of an imagination to figure out what that something was, but I was long past the point where someone like this would cause me any harm.

“So what’s it gonna be? It’s late and I’m not out here in the cold to get to know you better.”

“Relax sweetheart. I was only messing with you. Chicks nowadays: can’t no one tell them a joke.” With that he turned his attention to the road and cranked up the radio.

I sat back and fought the urge to close my eyes. Instead, I turned my head and stared out the window, paying close attention to the people on the street corners. Soon the cab came to a halt, I paid and opened the door, stepping out directly into a puddle. I cursed as the lecherous driver burst into laughter. “Girl, you lucky if all you get dirty down here is a shoe.”

I slammed the door and stepped onto the sidewalk. I stomped my feet and looked up and down the street. The cabbie had been right of course. The street was nothing but drugs and sex, young girls stoned out of their minds, in skimpy outfits that made me shiver from the cold, strutting what they didn’t have. I stared hard at the cars that drove slowly by me, hoping to cause some shame where none existed.

I opened my coat and pulled a picture from my back pants pocket, squared my shoulders and inhaled deeply, taking in the desperation and loneliness that wafted up from the street. Walking to the body nearest me I stuck the photograph under the girl’s nose and asked, “Have you seen this girl?”

“No, but for $20 I’ll pretend to be her.”

Ten cities, dozens of dark, fetid streets and always the same responses. I wondered if someplace there wasn’t a machine that cloned all of this despair. “Are you sure you haven’t seen her? She’s 16, name’s Sonya, has a tattoo of a caterpillar on her left shoulder.”

“I said I haven’t seen her, so leave me alone before you scare the business away.”

I handed the girl my card and moved on. I didn’t look back. I’d watched too many of those cards fluttering to the curb; precious few made their way into a pocket or someone’s murky memory but it was those precious few that I was hanging a lifetime of hope on.

Published 02/16/04 in Writing • | Views: 4101 times | Print

7 Comments & Trackbacks

this would make a great chapter, or part of a chapter, in a detective novel.  do you read people like sara paretsky or sue grafton?  val mcdermid?  good modern girl sleuth stuff.  and this is nice, tight writing.

Posted by romy  on  02/16  at  02:13 PM

i went through a girl sleuth phase a few years ago. read everything i could get my hands on. i think i overdid it though because i haven’t been able to pick up another one since. i have a problem with that ‘everything in moderation’ thing.

Posted by patricia  on  02/16  at  06:12 PM


Posted by srah  on  02/17  at  11:55 AM

loved it.

Posted by elfie  on  02/17  at  08:23 PM

Geez… That post just reminds me that theres… ‘bad’ places out there, and I should be thankful I don’t live anywhere as bad.
On another note, that FILTHY, STINKING, DISGUSTING, NO-GOOD-OR-RESPECT, LOSER of a driver… That bit kinda grossed me out/ really pissed me off. The nerve… (maybe you could be nonchallant about it, but, urgh, it’s me isn’t it?)
  I’m dying to know who Sonya is, but, I refuse to ask, coz, well, it’d be rude and seriously intrusive.
But, otherwise, that was a REALLY cool post.
Makes my mind tick.

Posted by Kyree  on  02/19  at  11:20 AM

Kyree, all of the posts that fall under the writing category (and sub-categories) are all fictional. Just my little ol’ brain making shit up.

Posted by patricia  on  02/19  at  12:00 PM

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