"Marry me and you won't need to drive a god damned hack."
Rain sleets across the windshield as I grip the wheel and peer into the gloom. This guy's nuts, so I don't answer.
Any second now I'll find the street address and he'll be on his way.
Only this is Kodiak Alaska and normal rules don't apply.
"I own a fishing boat." He rasps. "You won't need to work."
At nineteen I can't appreciate his grizzled charm, plus he's old, fifty at least, so I keep quiet.
"There it is." He jerks upright, stabs a finger against the side window, then curls in on himself. "That's my house."
Thank God. I hit the breaks, but black ice litters the roadway and the cab slides sideways.
"Don't stop," he roars, "the bitch is home." Spittle flies as he starts to rant. "Son of a bitch, I knew she'd have company." He slumps in his seat and turns wild eyes my way. "Drive, god dammit, drive."
We hover on rain slicked ice before the tires catch on a patch of sand and launch us forward.
I flex my hands on the steering wheel and blow out a breath.
"That's better," he mumbles when the house is out of sight, " turn around, drive slow, but don't stop."
We drive back and forth and spy on his ex for the better part of three hours. The muscles in my back are stiff and pain throbs in my temple. "I need to refuel." I say, hoping he's ready to go home. "Should I drop you off at the boat?"
He nods and I head toward the harbour. I'm a little leary that he won't pay the hefty cab fare, but he peels off several large bills and I heave a sigh. "Thanks."
"No problem," he says, "so what about marriage?"
I sigh, shake my head, and drive back to the center of town to await my next fair.
An hour later, the side door opens and I force myself awake.
"Hey, I need a ride." Twenty something and whip cord thin a man slides onto the front seat. He's dressed in wet camoflage and leaves a trail of water on the cracked leather seat."Want a toke?"
I glance at the bag of pot he's waving in front of the windshield and grimace. Last week I rear-ended a state trooper. I don't want anymore trouble. "No thanks," I say, "but you go right ahead."
He narrows his eyes and opens the door. "On second thought, I think I'll walk."
Next I'm sent to the bar on the outskirts of town. Crap, tonight's wet t-shirt night and crowds make it difficult to find my fare. I'm out of my depth around invisible t-shirts. I mean, where do you look?
No one's waiting outdoors, so I park and head inside. Just as I feared, the place is packed.
A man catches my arm as I try to pass by. "Hey, wanna dance?"
I pull away and make a run for the ladies room. As long as I'm here I may as well make use of the facilities.
"Ooh, you're cute."
Shaking the water from my hands, I grab a paper towel and look around. A tiny rotund woman peers up at me. Black crumbs dot her round cheeks. She reaches for the back of my neck and puckers up.
"Gotta Go." I squeak and lock myself into a stall.
When I'm sure she's gone, I peep around the door and make a mad dash for the exit. In three hours I have to be back on base for the day shift. As far as I'm concerned, this night is over.
I've been wrong before.
Tucking my chin to keep the sleet out of my eyes, I slip slide across the ice to my cab and skid to a halt.
The woman from the restroom is leaning against my bumper. "Took you long enough." She cackles. "Now take me home."
I give her a look, but she gives me a gap toothed grin. "Fine, but you," I point to the rear door, "sit in back."