Car 6

Car 6

Friday, November 21, 2014

Trick or Treat

Halloween is not what it used to be when I was a child in the 1970's. It was one day back then. Today it has grown to be almost as popular and large as Christmas and poor Thanksgiving is lost in the shuffle. Anyway, for adults it has become a time of celebration, drinking and costume parties that start the weekend PRIOR to Halloween.

The Saturday before Halloween last year there was a HUGE party at a farmhouse in Shorewood. It was in the middle of nowhere practically and it was chock full of costumed revelers, kegs and a DJ. I had done my share of pickups out of the farmhouse and I was happy to do so. It was my first weekend in a minivan instead of a crown vic. The groups were larger, the tips were flowing and a fare from the outskirts of Shorewood to Joliet was pretty damn good.

Around 2 in the morning I picked up one last party. It was seven college aged people in costumes going to an apartment near central Joliet. One girl who went by the name Val sat in the front seat next to me since the back was full. She was wearing a VERY skimpy “sexy” Harry Potter costume. I would guess her to be 24...25 if she is a day. Initially one of her friends was going to sit up front and she insisted she sit in front. I will freely admit that she was breathtaking with dark curley hair and dimples as deep as the grand canyon, but she was also 20 years younger than me and very drunk.

When they piled in she asked my name and I told her. She told me the name was as handsome as my smile. Internally I rolled my eyes. I had learned fast that “beer goggles” worked on both genders and drunken flirtation in the taxi was common. I said thank you and we were on our way down the farm road. They asked me if it would be okay to stop at McDonalds. I said sure. They wanted to go inside instead of the drive through so they decided on the one on the East side as opposed to the one on the way to their house. I certainly did not mind. More miles and more time with the meter running. I told dispatch and they said fine. The passengers thought I was a hero for agreeing to this and asked if I wanted anything. I said I was fine. They insisted. I said a sweet tea would be wonderful.

On the drive to the McDonalds the rest talked in the back and Val kept on complementing me and asking me questions.

“I love your bikker jacket. It works on you.”
“Your skull bracelet is amazing and sexy.”
“You have such nice eyes.”
“Married? Kids? Tell me about your daughter? Clubs? Wow! You are funny and not like any cab driver I have seen.”

Okay. I will admit, the ego boost was fun. It was also amusing, but I was not going “there”. I would just say thank you.

We got to the Mcdonalds and they all piled out but left their stuff inside including cell phones to show me they were going to stay. Val told the group she was gonna eat in the cab as collateral so I knew they would not skip. They just laughed as they all went inside. She came out a few minutes later with a tea for me and sat next to me. I took a swig of it and realized it was not sweet tea but just iced tea. I made a face for a moment and I was just gonna let it go and drink it as it was free.

She looked at me and said,”Oh Patrick, that was not sweet tea. I am so sorry. I guess you are just going to have to add me for some sweet flavor.”

“Wow, Val. You are persistant.”

She put her hand on my knee and looked at me and said,”Do you think I am pretty?”

“Yes, Val.”

“I love the way you say my name....Patrick.” she whispered.

“I also think I am 20 years older than you.”

“That would be an issue for a relationship where you had to meet my parents, anything else is an adventure. How long has it been since you had an adventure, Patrick?”

“I'm pleading the fifth, kiddo.”

“Kiddo, Patrick?” she asked, “Nice deflection. Not going to work. Undeterred here.”

I decided to change the topic. “When I told you my daughter was in taekwando, you mentioned you had a second degree black belt and compete. Tell me about that.”

“Well,” she said, “the first thing you should know is I work on my core and am verrry verrrrry flexible.” She rolled her r's like cat woman. Ertha Kitt cat woman.

“I'm sure you are, now tell me about the competitions and what drove you to it.”

She spoke about how she almost got raped when she was 15 from a homecoming date and started studying martial arts to prevent that from ever happening again. She told me about the sense of family she got in her dojo and the accomplishment she felt with every belt and medal from competition. She went on to talk about how much she likes teaching children in her dojo, especially young ladies as they discover they are more than barbie dolls and pretty things, but a force of nature, advancement and accomplishment. She is going for her masters in Psych and wants to be a therapist specializing in children who are abused. I let my guard down a little and spoke about how much my daughter got from her dojo and the work I used to do with teens and young adults. It was a nice conversation.

The meal had ended for her friends and they piled in and we were on the way to the apartment. In that shorter ride one girl started talking about blow jobs. Val piped in again and said,”I give the BEST head out of anyone in this taxi and if I need an impartial judge, we have Patrick right here. How about it, Patrick? Want one that will change your world?”

“No, Val, I am good.”

“No, Patrick” she said, “I am good.” She started licking her straw slowly.Grabbed  an ice cube out of my tea and rolled it in her mouth and placed what was left of it in my cup.

“Dude,” said one of the guys,”he's a mortal, let the poor man be.”

"Don't worry, son,”I replied,”I'm immune” and with that took a swig of my tea. Everyone had a laugh and said I was the coolest taxi driver ever.

We got to the apartment building and I pulled to the alley entrance which was closer for them. They tipped me almost twice what the fare was and the fare was pretty high. College age people almost never tip. They did not know it, but they bought my daughter's Christmas gift that night with the tip. As they all gathered outside I heard them say Val a lot and laugh. Val opened my side door again, said “Thanks Patrick, you a gentleman and that is so sad.” With that she walked into the apartment building and it was then that I noticed she was only wearing a bra and panties. I looked on my passenger seat and there was her sexy Harry Potter costume and I could smell perfume all over it. May the heavens forgive me, she did work on her core.

I shook my head, chuckled and went on to my next fare. At the end of my shift I gave the morning dispatcher the costume to put in the lost and found. The dispatcher looked at me and said,”What is this?” I looked at her and said, “I think it was my tip.” She smiled and laughed and said, “Oh dear, honey. You are still new. Just wait until New Years. It gets weirder.”

“How weird?”

“Panties weird.”

“Im not sure if I love this job or am afraid of it.”

“Honey, enjoy the ride.”


With that I went home and went to bed.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Luck of the Irish

On the weekends there are people who have routines. There are 4 young women who attend University of St Francis. They rent a small house together. Every weekend they have the same ruotine and I have lost count how many times I have shared a piece of the routine with them. They go from their house near the school to a Irish pub owned by two brothers called O'Charley's. It is the reigning dive bar in Joliet for many people. After a few rounds there they will head over to the neighboring town, Shorewood and hit Skooter's Roadhouse. Skooters is a country western themed dance bar. It is THE place to be if you are under 30 and always packed. Unless it is a regular, I hated picking up there. The fares were good, but people in their twenties are still learning their bodies have limits and puke a lot, scream WHOOOO! For no good reason and are generally idiots. These four ladies are in a routine and generally control themselves. The worst they do is one passes out sometimes. Overall, they are bublly and happy and I enjoy the banter.

One night I was taking them to O'Charley's and I asked, Kelly, the one who engages me the most, why they go to O'Charley's. Her answer was interesting. “It reminds me of the Irish dive bar my uncle owned when I was growing up. My dad used to get laid off a lot so he would work for my uncle and I hung out there a lot. Ya know. Family business, family free labor and the regulars...it was like having an extra dozen alcoholic uncles. But there was also something that happens in Irish bars like these and it doesn't happen a lot.”

“What is that?”

“Magic.”

“Magic?” I asked.

“Yeah. I can't explain it because it happens different each time. Somehting happens that you do not forget. Most of the time it is good. Someone wins the lottery, gets a job after being out of work for a long time, a just married couple sneaks out of the reception hall for a pint, a mysterious visitor comes in and makes the night unforgettable. When the magic happens, you tell the story and it is not as good for the people who just hear it. They do not feel it. They can't know how the air changed. So I like to come here because when the magic happens, I want to be there.”

“So why Skooters?”

“Duh! Dancing and cute guys, Patrick!”

I dropped them of and they piled out ready to take on the bar.

As soon as I reported that I was clear with the ladies I got a page to pick up out of one of the hotels near the mall a few miles away. The destination just said 'bar'. I called dispatch:

“Car 22 to dispatch” I said over the radio.

“Dispatch to 22, go ahead”

“This run at the Hampton, did they have a bar in mind?”

“22, they are from Ireland and don't know the area. Be a good ambassador and help them find a bar.”

“10-4”

When I pulled up to the hotel I did not have to ask for a call out. They were sitting outside smoking cigarettes. They would have looked like the brothers in “The Boondock Saints” except their short wool coats were gray.

They were young and clean shaven and looked to be in their early to mid twenties. They smiled as I pulled up and in a thick Irish accent one of them asked if I was their taxi. As soon as I heard their accent, I said yes and they hopped in.

“Okay, young men,” I said, “My name's Patrick, where are we going tonight?”

“We don't know,” said the older broher,”We've never been to America or Joliet before. Your name's Patrick so we trust ya.”

“Wait,” chimed in the other,”only his name is Patrick, what about his heart. Are ya Irish?”

“Part of me is,” I said,”the other bits are Lithuanian and god only knows what else.”

“Then we trust the Irish part.”said the younger.

“How very nationalistic of you.”

“He's now always like this,” said the older,”He doesn't trust Americans.”

“Neither do I” I said.

“But you are an American.” said the younger.

“Yeah,” I said, “makes shaving in the mirror every day a bitch.”

They laughed and then I got back to the point. “So what do you want from a pub tonight? Conversation? Sports? Pool? Darts? Dancing? Girls?”

The younger piped in excitedly,”Girls and dancing!”

“But with magic!” said the older.

“Did you just say magic?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“Alright, boys,” I said,”We are going to O'Charley's where magic will happen and some girls might let you come with them to Skooter's Roadhouse for dancing.” With that, I hit the meter, told dispatch we were going to O'Charley's and put the cab in gear.

Along the way I learned that they were with their dad on his business trip. He goes to the US and London often but has never taken them overseas. He is in Joliet for two weeks so this is their first exposure to America. The oldest loves American Football and is a Green Bay Packer fan and is hoping to get his hands on the rental car to do a day trip to Lambeau field. He even plays American football in a league back home in Belfast.

I told him I know some people that have a unique experimental church in a bar called “The Managerie” in Belfast. He said he knows the place and it is on University St. The younger brother is VERY put off by the concept of church and feels Ireland and the world would have less death if the whole thing went away. He is a musician and a University student studying business.

They asked me what American's know of Ireland and I told them about what we have done with St Pat's day. They got a huge laugh out of the green beer and plastic green top hats. Then came the fear about girls. This came from the younger.

“I'm not looking to fuck about. I just want to have fun and dance. Patrick, do you think the girls will like us? What do we say?”

“Son,”I said, “you guys are going to be the golden boys in there. You will have no problem and need no clever lines?”

“Why?” asked the elder brother.

“You have Irish accents and you are not from here. That alone will get you to the dance floor. You wanted magic? You ARE the magic!”

“So why this Irish bar?” asked the younger, “Why not just the Skooter's?”

“Because it is so damn loud in Skooters that you will not be heard and just blend into the crowd of nothingness.”

“So what do we do at the bar? We don't wanna look like guys out with their daddy.”

“You go to the brunette bartender who is working tonight, order your favorite drinks loud enough to be heard, Then, should you see 3 or 4 girls about your age at the bar, tell them your names, say you are from Belfast, and you would like to know where to go to go dancing. If they ask you about Ireland, say whatever you want. We are Americans, we dont know if it's true or not. Hell, where is your dad right now?”

“Sleeping at the hotel, he had a long day at work,” said the older.

“If anyone asks about family, just say you hope your father is at rest,” I said. “Look, I have enjoyed talking to you guys. You are fascinating and cool and just be yourselves and keep talking and the most important thing. Ask them questions about themselves and be very interested in what they say. That is where the magic will happen and it will change the very air in the room.”

“Magic it is,” said the younger.

“To magic!” said the odler!
“You don't have a drink to toast with yet.” I said.

“Oh yeah!” said the older.

I dropped them off. Later in the night dispach told me that the irish guys wanted me to know I am a 'fooking brilliant magician'.

The next weekend I took the ladies home from Skooters. Kelly told me that magic finally happened and it was just like home. I asked her for details and the ladies just giggled. As they left, Kelly settled the fare and tip with me, looked at me and said, “Luck of the Irish got a boost last Saturday, didn't it?”

“Who me?”

“Yeah, you. I just got another Irish uncle. Good night magic man.”


“See ya, kiddo.”