They are prejudiced, the cabbies in town. Because the sun has risen every morning in memory, they expect it to dawn during this shift, too, and dawn again one minute earlier each day until the solstice, then later again each morning like the year before. They predict low wages. They anticipate in their cars certain non-lethal mechanical anomalies and for their tips to be not quite enough at the end of the day to retire the business altogether to the younger hacks and fish for trophy ever after. And they don’t take dark-skinned fares uptown. They explain it this way:

Seven times I’ve seen a knife in this cab and two guns. Usually I just see it, it’s shown to me, or it is employed by someone to threaten someone else. But twice it’s used in an attempt to injure or persuade me physicallly. Once I’m stabbed. Once a shot is fired through the windshield. Each time, nine times, I’m the only native caucasian at the scene. So I have a policy. No dark fares after sundown, none uptown any time of day. It’s common sense. You judge from what you’ve seen; you live to serve your sentence.

To confound this logic a group of us are carefully stabbing cabbies. We dress well, carry umbrellas and stand outside expensive hotels with a finger in the air. We kiss our dates goodbye and get inside. We introduce ourselves as Mr. White: a memory point. We launch into our rap, the same one every time. We’ve been disabled, we say, seriously injured in multiple, near-fatal automobile accidents, but we can’t remember what color the cars were. Then we cut them carefully, therapeutically, so they’ll witness to the others that there will always be more than one way to change the odds.

Copyright ©1997-2006 David Hodges

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