It was 11am on July 3rd., the middle of the monsoon season. I was sweating in my taxi when I was dispatched to a nightclub named November. A poor neighborhood of trailers and railroad tracks and seedy corner stores and a snarling pit bull in every stinking chain-linked yard. The sign: “NOVEMBER BAR AND CABARET.”

I splashed my cab through the pothole puddles in the parking lot and stopped. I got out and walked up to the heavy front door, opened it.

“TAXI!” I yelled into the moist smoky darkness. “TAXI FOR ED!”

My eyes adjusted. The bartender was a big female Filipino frog with murder in her ribbit. A giant horseshoe bar charred in black cherry light. Light fixtures in the shape of breasts poked out of the ceiling. Six or eight men hunched around the sloppy gargoyle bar. Shadowy booths along two walls, cubby holes in an opium den. On the far side of the room, there was a small circular stage about three inches high where a woman danced naked around a flimsy pole. She was at least 50 years old and looked to have formerly been a man.

The old white man who was Ed arduously lifted himself with his hands from his stool at the bar and stood up. He turned and approached me, where I wavered at the door like an apparition.

I drove him to an address up the street. He didn’t say a word the entire time. Maybe he was too drunk. Or, maybe he was just stupid. He swayed with the turns and burped and frowned at the dark clouds which were still bright compared to the bar.

The fare was $15.25. The old man dug a 20 out of an ancient wallet, handed it to me. Then he got out slowly and stumbled into a trailer in a dilapidated court called Twin Palms. A naked baby sat on the floorboards of the porch of the trailer next to Ed’s. The baby was alone and it stared at me as I drove off. It kind of looked like me, I thought. He had his mouth open like he wanted to throw a fit but didn’t quite have the energy to begin.

***

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
  28. Bitcoin
  29. At Least it Isn’t Raining
  30. Marshmallows on Everything
  31. Mermaid with Doctor’s Mask
  32. My Other Jacket
  33. Late
  34. The Hideaway
  35. You Can Have a Seat, Sir
  36. Book People
  37. 112 Degrees
  38. No Way
  39. El Pendejo
  40. Batman
  41. Plasma
  42. The Jumping-Off Place