New Year’s Day 2016, 4:33 a.m. I picked up a guy in my cab, a young hipster dude. He said he’d been up all night building web sites. He’s a web designer, freelance, yeah, pretty cool, he’s doing really well. He wanted to go down to an all-night coffee shop, said he was gonna buy some “Bitcoin” from a guy there. He couldn’t believe I’d never heard of “Bitcoin.”

“Bitcoin is the only currency you can rely on these days,” he told me. “It’s a kind of crypto money, so when the whole system goes to pot and the dollar is worthless, people with big coin won’t have to worry.”

“What if the computers go down with the whole system?” I asked.

He chuckled.

“Well, if you’re in-the-know, you have a backup,” he told me. “I could explain it to you, but we don’t have the time.”

I took him down to the all-night coffee shop and he wanted me to wait for him. In a few minutes, he came out smiling. Then I took him back home.

At his apartment building, he tried to pay the cab fare with his debit card. The card was declined. It said “insufficient funds.” He pulled out another and that was declined too, message reading, “Do not honor.”

“I don’t accept Bitcoin, sorry,” I said.

He said he’d be right back with some money, hopped out and ran into his apartment. He never came back. I could have called the cops, but the last time I did that, they didn’t show up for three hours. I could have pounded on his door and played the tough guy, but I didn’t have the energy for that. I just said fuck it and drove away. $28 in the hole to start the new year.

I turned the radio to the George Strait marathon on 99.5 and hoped the world wouldn’t end before they played “How ‘Bout Them Cowgirls.”

***

For all installments from 6 to 6, click here.

Previous installments:

  1. Traveling Mercies
  2. Next Time, Take Skyline
  3. Suicide Lane
  4. Morenci in My Rear-View Mirror
  5. A Spiritual Adventure
  6. Sonja’s Ring
  7. A Pair to Draw To
  8. Grocery Day
  9. A Day with Melanie
  10. The Hot Light
  11. Drano
  12. The Cab Knows the Way
  13. Dodi’s Luck
  14. Don’t Die Before Your Mother
  15. Bob’s Big Day
  16. Nothing But a Human Being
  17. John’s Dream
  18. God Didn’t Get Me No Weed
  19. Ramirez
  20. What’s Going to Happen to Me?
  21. Do I Look Like an Indian to You?
  22. The Maze
  23. Fun with Ruby
  24. Portrait of the Artist as a Certified Loony
  25. Turn Around, Dumbass
  26. Red Bull Blues
  27. The Great Desert Palms Escape