The Cabbie

Author’s Note: This is another story that came from a prompt. This one was inspired by the Writer’s Digest prompt Follow that Man. This is the edited version:

Prissy. That’s what I’d call it. A little girl, hair up in one of them up-dos my wife always goes on about, wearing a polka dot blue dress with red heels. Ain’t no reason a girl needs to wear heels. Even the way she gets in my cab: palm on the door, like touchin’ full on would give her cancer.

And her voice just bleeds goddamn privilege, “You see that Mexican restaurant across the street? In about five minutes, a man is going to come out of that restaurant, and I want you to follow him.”

I nod to show I’ve heard. Goddamn boss pullin’ me out with orders to do whatever she says.

But waitin’ patiently ain’t for little girls. I peer at her through the rear view mirror. Wouldn’cha know it, she’s goddamn bitin’ her nails.

“Stop that.” I say through the mirror. She looks up with some kinda practiced neutral face. “Stop that. You some lady, ain’tcha? Lady’s don’t go ‘round bitin’ their nails.”

I smile crookedly. I always wanted to show up the man. And she the man. If I ain’t seen a little girl so gussied up before, I don’t know what else counts.

“Just watch the restaurant.” She authoritates back.

My hands grip the wheel so hard. I’ll watch the goddamn restaurant, your majesty.

It don’t take long for her majesty to start kickin’ my passenger seat.

“Stop that.” I say, louder this time. “My cab ain’t for kickin’.”

“What is it for then?” She keeps her eyes nice an’ level with mine.

I meet those little blue bulbs head on, “Drivin’.”

“Then get to drivin’. He’s right there.” She’s pointin’ through the window. “The thin one going bald. Follow him. When he gets to the South Bridge. Call me.”

Droppin’ her cell phone into the passenger’s seat she heads out the door.

I yell, “Wait a minute! What the hell? Cabs don’t work like that!”

“I prepaid for this reason, sir. Now if you want an extra two thousand, you’ll do as I say.” She takes a nice long look at me. “Got it?”

Extra two thousand. Well now, she’s a goddamn liberal too.

I nod. She slams the door. I drive away. It ain’t until two hours in that I start to wonder if she was lyin’. And by the time I get to the goddamned bridge the bald man already jumped.

But she’s standin’ there.

“He’s dead.” She says as I get outta the cab.

I stand still, hand on the door ‘case I gotta run. “That’s no good.”

“Here.” She throws me the money. “You did what you could.”

“I don’t even know what I did.” I say, my knuckles goin’ white on the door. I don’t like bein’ played with.

“You didn’t need to. Go ahead, check how much.” She nods to the money in my hand, gets in her own car and goddamn drives away.

I count quickly. Two thousand. With lipstick. Prissy.

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