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.

***

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