He gets in the cab outside the apartment complex. He’s maybe 25 years old. His fingernails are long and filthy and he’s wearing $90 jeans.

“Take me to the Northwest hospital,” he says. “ER. Shit, I just came home a couple of hours ago and found my wife on the floor. The ambulance came and they said I could ride with them, but when I went to get my coat, they fucking left me. I mean, she’s been depressed lately, but I didn’t think she’d go this far. Her doctor gave her pills for her depression and she fucking took the whole bottle.”

“Oh, man,” I say, “I’m sorry.”

“Fuck, the holidays, you know?”

“Yeah.”

“Hey, is there a mini-mart we can stop at? I need a Red Bull. I don’t want to fall asleep.”

“Sure, there’s one on the corner here.”

I pull in and he gets out. I can see him through the window of the mini-mart; he goes up to the counter, then apparently forgets something and runs back to an aisle and comes back to the counter again. Then he points and I can see the cashier pulling out some lottery scratch-offs. He stands there and scratches them off while a couple of other people stand behind him in line. He comes out.

And I take him to the hospital.

***

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