I receive a fare from my cab’s computer monitor, a $10 voucher. I’ve transported the woman before. She’s on disability because she’s too crazy to work. Plus, she’s an artist. She’s very creative, which is why she can’t hold a job. 38 years old, tanned, fit, well-dressed. But the stress is killing her.

I pull into her driveway where she lives with her mother, a saint, I’m sure. The house is a half-million-dollar job up in the foothills. She comes walking from around the back of the house carrying two buckets full of mesquite branches. I don’t question. I put the mesquite branches in the hatchback of the cab. The branches are too long for the hatchback to close. I begin breaking them in half to make them fit. Then she comes back with two more buckets of mesquite branches and I do the same with them.

“I’ll be right back,” she says and runs into the house.

I get all the mesquite branches broken down and close the hatchback and wait.

Five minutes, ten minutes….15 minutes. I stand outside the cab. A hummingbird comes near me and studies my red shirt. What’s up, little fella? He zips away. Maybe he was a she.

I walk to the door of the house, knock, no answer. Every minute I wait is lost money for me, lost time. What the hell? How did I get here? Appreciate every moment of life, I think. Gonna die anyway, I think. Why worry?

Finally, she comes out.

“I have to go,” I say.

“Just a couple more minutes!” she says.

“Is this a game?” I say.

“Okay!” she screams, “Maybe I won’t even go today! I don’t think I can ride with you if you are going to be so rude. I will be moving from Tucson tomorrow and you’ll never have to see me again! You’ll like that, won’t you? You’ll be really happy then!”

“Jesus,” I say.

Then she comes over and gets in the cab. I drive in silence to this place she’s going to, a pottery studio. She gets on her cell phone and starts texting, texting, texting…finally, she finishes.

“I just made a complaint about you to your company,” she says. “Good luck having a job tomorrow.”

“Hurray,” I say.

We get to the pottery studio, Fort Lowell and Alvernon. Tiny parking lot, designed by an idiot. I unload her buckets of mesquite branches as she runs up to a woman in a tie-dye shirt and embraces her. The sisterhood.

When I drive off, she gives me the middle finger. Then she picks up a mesquite stick and throws it at my cab. She throws like an artist: misses me by 30 feet. I give her a beep of the horn and zip away, off to search for flowers and nectar before I kiss the big one.


This is an excerpt from Mather Schneider’s new memoir, 6 to 6. You can purchase the book from Terror House Press here.