The Taxi Driver

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
I am a Stand-up Comedian. My Best Friend is a Taxi Driver.

Submitted: March 22, 2014

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Submitted: March 22, 2014

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Last time I checked, Death was looking at his reflection in the pond. He is still probably checking himself out. Honestly, he is a good-looking dude. Not like in the conventional Brad Pitt way. But like in a weird Woody Harrelson way. I met Death last week. He came to one of my shows. He thought I was an okay Stand-up comic. Not good just okay. Death is the most accurate friend I’ve ever had.

 “You know it is a shame that every show always has me wearing a hood. This face is good enough for TV,” he says.

“Yeah, you wish,” I say, eyes closed, trying to find some peace in the grass. The park is my favorite place to hang.

Death doesn’t say anything back, I just hear his footsteps start to pace around. It sounds like he is deep in thought. I like that.  It means he is about to drop some wisdom on me. He is about to say something profound I can feel it.

“Fuuuuuck.”

 Well I wasn’t expecting that. I look up to see what Death is looking at. There is a little boy, probably no older than ten, hanging out by the door of Death’s taxi. Death is a taxi driver for a living. He cab company is called “Thinly Veiled Metaphor”.

“Damn, that must suck,” I say.

“Its… bittersweet,” says Death. He lights a cigarette and takes a drag.

“What makes it okay?” I ask.

“Well for me it’s nice change of pace to talk to someone so innocent,” Death says, stomping out the cigarette he just lit. It looks like he doesn’t have the heart to smoke it. “But then you realize you’re talking to someone who hasn’t lost their innocence. That’s what makes it shitty.”

“Do the kids get to pay less at least?” I ask, genuinely curious. I think the taxi is the most interesting part about Death. I’ve asked him to ride in it once, but he pretended not to hear me. I wonder where it goes.

“Naw I get paid in their souls.”

“Really?”

“No not really,” Death looks at me like I’m stupid. “What kind of demented shit do you think I’m in to? I don’t get paid. I do it because it’s my job.”

“That makes no sense.”

I want to ask Death more questions, but he is already gone.

**********

Text Message Conversation between Death and Me:

Me:  What you up to?

Death: Just chillin with the twins.

Me: The twins?

Death: Love and Hate. Between you and me, they are kinda assholes.

Me: That doesn’t surprise me

Death: Get this, Hate makes alarm clocks for a living.

Me: Of course he does

Me: Let me guess, Love is a wedding planner?

Death: Naw she’s a lawyer. Honestly, their parents are much prouder of her. Anyway what do you want?

Me: Can I get buy an 8th off you?

Death: Right now?

Me: Yeah. I can’t watch White Men Can’t Jump if I’m not stoned

Death: I hate that movie.

Me:  Why?

Death: I hate Wesley Snipes

Me: What?! Why?

Me: He’s awesome

Death: I don’t respect someone who doesn’t pay their taxes.

**********

We are sitting at a diner. Death is wearing sunglasses. He has his head in his hands. 

“You doing good?” I ask loudly.

“Shhhhhhhh,” Death responds, head still down. “Could you keep it down?”

“No problem buddy,” I respond loudly.

Death looks up and glares at me. He only had one shot last night. The dude really can’t hang. He wasn’t kidding when he said he never goes out.

“Thank you,” Death says as the waitress brings him coffee. He turns back to me, “So how’s the comedy been going?”

“Yeah. It’s been nice,” I say.  “It can really suck sometimes though. It’s like having an abusive girlfriend.”

“Well, you always were a little self-destructive. Makes sense you’d pick a volatile girl. Can you pass me one of those?” Death says, pointing to a pile of Splenda® packets. Death never uses real sugar. Maybe he’s diabetic.

“How am I self-destructive?” I say, handing him packets.

“Look who you choose to spend your time with.” He says.

“Fair enough,” I say. Time to change the subject. “I haven’t writing a new joke in ages.”

“That sucks,” Death says, shamelessly pouring Splenda® in his coffee. He has to be diabetic. There is no reason to voluntarily use Splenda®.  “You could write one about this obsession you have with my taxi.”

“Uh,” Well that caught me off guard. Might as well be honest about it. “That’s all I’ve been thinking about late. I want to know where it goes.”

“You’ll find out one day, everyone does,” Death says. He takes a sip out of his now probably horrible tasting coffee. He slowly picks up a menu. “Hey what are you gonna get? They changed the menu here and I have no idea what I want.”

“I haven’t looked yet,” I say. I stand up and pull a joint from my pocket. “I gotta use the bathroom.”

“In here? Are you crazy?!” Death asks incredulously.

“Probably,” I call back.

**********

I grip the wheel of my Camry, slightly annoyed. I always have to drive. Death hasn’t driven once.

“Hey how come we never hang out with other people?” Death asks laying back in the passenger seat, feet up on the dash.

“How many people do you think want to hang out with you?” I reply.

“Good point,” Death says, lighting up a cigarette. His third of the trip.

“Careful, those things will kill you” I say.

“Haha, Eeyore’s got jokes,” Death says sarcastically. He calls me Eeyore when he can’t think of a clever response. It’s weird, I know. He says that’s the cartoon character I remind him the most of. Funny thing is, I’ve always identified more with Piglet.

“Plus, I am way too cool to not smoke,” Death adds.

I can’t disagree with him there.  I definitely would smoke if I could pull it off the way Death did.

I see a road sign. There is a four-way intersection coming up in 500 feet.

“Which way?” I ask.

“I don’t know, you choose,” Death replies.

We are now 300 feet from the intersection.

“I have no idea. Help me out,” I say.

“You’re the one driving, not me,” Death says.

200 feet.

“C’mon tell me where you wanna go,” I say, my voice rising, my heart starting to race. Death doesn’t answer me.

100 feet.

“L-Left right, that way looks more interesting, right?” I ask Death, my voice shaking with panic. Death just shrugs.

I blow straight through the intersection. I don’t choose a direction. The car is silent. I can’t even bring myself to look at Death. I am too ashamed of my indecision. It looks like we are going to aimlessly driving for a little while more.

“You know, one day you are going to have to make decisions without anybody’s help.” Death lights up another cigarette. He never takes his times enjoying a cigarette. Just smoke one after another, with no consequences. I guess that’s a benefit of not being mortal.

“I know I just-.” I say.

“Confidence,” Death interrupts, “you could use more of that. You gotta be more decisive than that.”

“You know we wouldn’t even have this issue if you drove every once in a while. Maybe next time we can hop in your cab and –” I start saying.

“You know, I feel like sometimes all you can talk about is my cab,” Death interrupts. “It kind of annoys me.”

“I just want to take a ride,” I say.

“Eventually,” he says.

“That’s what you always say,” I reply, disappointed.

**********

I open my eyes and all I can see is darkness all around me. Why is it so dark? And more importantly, why does it feel so familiar?

Far off in the distance something catches my eye. I strain them and I make out what seems to be a spotlight.

Curious, I walk toward it. Every step I take is thunderous, echoing in whatever dark cavern I seem to be to be in. The echoing footsteps sound foreboding. Like my own body is telling me to stay away. But I’ve made it this far. Might as well keep going.  The closer I get, the clearer that spotlight becomes. It’s shining on Death’s taxi.

I’ve never been this close before. The closer I get the more I feel fear spilling into my body. I get up next to the car. I should be excited, but I’m not, I’m scared.

I open the passenger door and take a seat in the back. It’s so cold. I’ve never been this cold.

“Welcome,” Death says from the drivers seat. No emotion. “Ready for your ride?”

“Oh hey man,” I say. “I just wanted to check the cab out.”

“This trip is a one way trip. I hope you had all of your affairs in order,” Death says, almost robotically.

“Why are you talking like that? I just me dude.” I say. I’m getting a little concerned. Death doesn’t sound like himself.

“And Mr. Kagawa,” Death says, motioning to the seat next to me.

I look next to me. There is an old Japanese man sitting there. He smiles at me.

“Oh um, Konichiwa.” I say, awkwardly.

“I was born in New York, asshole,” Mr. Kagawa says. He is rolling his eyes.

“I know some of you are surprised to be here. I know some of you are not. Either way, I sincerely hope all of you lived your life the way you wanted. I hope you feel like you have earned this trip,” Death says, unaware of the awkward interaction behind him. 

“I don’t know if I’ve earned it,” I say. I’m starting to feel panicked.

“If you are here voluntarily this is your last chance to get out,” Death says.

“Should I get out?” I ask. I poke Death on the shoulder to get a response. My hands are shaking.

“Last call to leave is right now,” Death says. He ignores my frantic pokes. He puts the car into drive.

“Should I leave?” I yell at Death. He still doesn’t answer me.

I don’t know what do. I’m shaking so hard right now. This is it. I finally get to see where this goes. This is what I wanted right? Then why don’t I feel at peace? The taxi starts slowly moving forward. Fuck this.

I jump out.

I lay on the ground. I’m holding back tears. The taxi rolls forward a couple feet and comes to a stop. Death gets out and walks toward me. He has a smile on his face.

“I’m glad you chose to get out,” He says. He extends his hand to help me up.

“What the hell man,” I say. I hit his hand away. I get up myself. “Why were you like that in there?”

“I take my job very seriously,” Death says, as I take deep breaths to collect myself.  “I have to. I kill people for a living, remember?”

I don’t know what to say to that. Both of us are just silently looking at each other for while. The silence is broken by the sound of knocking. It is coming from the cab. Mr. Kagawa is impatiently tapping the back windshield. He is pointing urgently at his wristwatch.

“I find it fascinating that people are like that. Always rushing to get nowhere in particular,” Death says, shaking his head. He turns back to me. “Hey, I know you’re mad at me, but c’mon man, we’ve been friends for so long.”

I say nothing.

“Well, would it make you feel a little better if I told you where I take my fares?”

I nod.

**********

“I think I have a joke. Its kinda about you,” I say to Death. I pass him the joint..

“What is it?” Death asks.

“I’ve been having some very dark thoughts recently,” I say, smiling “I can’t stop thinking about Wesley Snipes.”

“That is so stupid,” Death says, letting out a small chuckle.

That’s new. I’ve never made him laugh before. 


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