Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Propose or Pucker Up

"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."

Good idea.

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."

























73 comments:

  1. Kelley you have led a life of excitement and adventure. Just think you could be running a fishing boat right now. LOL

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    1. *Gasp* Three of my cousins were captains on fishing vessels and one pilots a research vessel. I was too squirrely.

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  2. Replies
    1. How not to make money, influence friends or raise your self esteem, buy hey, I got happiness cornered. Now if it'll just quit squirming.

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  3. I have nominated you for The Sunshine Award because your blog brings sunshine to my world, even on rainy days. See this post http://sarchasm2.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/the-sunshine-award/

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    1. Thanks Roly, and might I say, great pic.

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  4. Wow! Truly, never a dull moment! Great piece of narrative~

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    1. And to think my mother talked me out of my better ideas. Thanks for the visit Shelly

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  5. Wow. I recently blogged about how when I was nineteen, a twenty-six year old guy seemed too old for me. But fifty? o_O

    -Barb the French Bean

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    1. Everybody was too old for me. Ooh, wait a sec, I'm heading over to your site to see what's up.

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  6. imagination or for real?
    Wow. I think you dodged a bullet with that hunka hunka burnin' love who proposed!

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    1. Real,I don't remember if I slid into a city cop or a state trooper, but I can't forget the interesting characters I met.

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  7. Love, love, love this one. I missed out on that kind of fun, so I'm living vicariously through your nineteen-year-old self.

    Well done!

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    1. I was a stupid kid with a lot of stupid jobs, but now I have something to write about. I guess that's balance.

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  8. What a life of adventure you must have had, and are still having. In this piece you sound like a female Jack London.

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    1. Thanks for the fun compliment Stephen. Hey, wait a sec, is that code for directionless?

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  9. What a great story!! I wanted to keep reading more!!!

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    1. Nah, I'd rather be in Eluthra wondering about Robert. Thanks for the visit Mykuljay.

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  10. That dude with the spittle that wanted to marry you gave me the creeps. Yikes!! I would have never driven him to the corner. You're very brave.

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    1. Gym rat & taxi dude could be fast friends.

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  11. You and me, Diva, the jobs we've had! Only these folks were goin' after something that wasn't for sale. :)
    Fantastic storytelling, as usual, my dear friend.

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  12. This was an incredibly engaging story, and even more fascinating to find out that this really happened to you! I think writing is the only thing left for you to do because there must be innumerable stories just itching to be told from those kinds of experiences. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks Nicole. I don't remember numbers, music confounds me, but I have a knack for recalling odd encounters and useless information.

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  13. Adventure must seek you out. I'll bet you even have cool grocery shopping stories. :O)

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    1. As a matter of fact. Oh, okay, that's a tale for another day :)

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  14. Alaska stories are the best. Good job surviving!

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    1. Alaska was fun. I'm still smiling over your tour guide exploits.

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  15. Replies
    1. Stupidity never ceases. Of course there's more. I hope Mid's feeling better.

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    2. Ha Ha! Excellent : ) She is, and thank you : )

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  16. Oh neat! What an interesting group of characters. The poor driver :-)

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    1. Nah, I was the driver and thirty years later I'm still telling the story. Thanks for the visit Deniz

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  17. Replies
    1. Thanks Mom, it keeps me out of trouble :)

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  18. New follower here! Wow, what a great piece of writing! Loved it! :)

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    1. Thanks Jack, I followed you as well. Have a splendid day.

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  19. What a great story! You are very entertaining!

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    1. In some circles I'm annoying. Oh okay, I'm a crab, but I like it when my fellow man crawls out of the pot.

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  20. You have a wonderful way with words, GPD, and know how to keep your readers captivated! Great post. :)

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    1. Many years of working with a captive audience. Earthling, your icon makes me grin every time I see it.

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  21. As I read this post, all I could think of was, life is like a kaleidoscope. Ugly, old, young, and handsome, these characters add to the fabric of your 19 year old self. And now, we're lucky enough to be entertained with their shenanigans! :)

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    1. What a wonderful analogy Bella, life is like a kaleidoscope. Thanks for the visit Bella.

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  22. I LOVE this! Thanks for coming over to my blog and following! You're awesome! - I'm following you now too! Showin' some bloggee love. :D

    I tried to visit the blog you suggested - myviewthroughkatseyes.blogspot.com - but it says it doesn't exist.
    :( - Is there another address I might try??

    Thank you and I'll be back! - I love your writing!

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    1. Thanks MiMi, love is the best gift. Kats at myviewthroughkateyes.blogspot.com I had an extra s.

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  23. Such a fun story. I also enjoyed your profile. The Glass Castle is one of my favorites.
    Thanks for dropping by my blog and making a comment. I will be checking your blog often.

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    1. My pleasure Charlotte, I loved the clip of Dottie Belle & Billie Shakespeare, and I'll be watching for that grandbaby.

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  24. Replies
    1. Naw, but like you, I prefer the road less traveled.

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  25. I like your way with words and the present tense / first person combo.

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  26. I used to hitch hike in the seventies. The people who picked me up were very ugly girls or gay guys. Your articles are awesome.

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    1. I hitched a ride, once, then Dad got a call and I got a lecture. Your post on the state fair brought back memories.

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  27. Wow, I thought this was a piece of flash fiction or something but read some comments and realise it's true! What a fantastically interesting life you lead - tell us more! Hilarious. New follower and thanks for stopping by my blog.

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    1. Thanks Claire. Have a lovely day -Kelly

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  28. Great writing! Goes to show what a hack writer I am.

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    1. You're great Mrs. Tuna, just the way you are.

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  29. That was so funny! I had a friend who drove a cab for years. He had more stories than I can ever remember. Hope you have more stories.

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  30. Wow! Did you really drive a cab?! You're brave! That must be one scary (albeit interesting) job....You write so well. I felt like I was reading a novel.

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    1. Kodiak was pretty small in those days. I'm not sure I'd drive a cab in the lower 48.

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