It was after 2am. The PURE nightclub at Caesars was beginning to slow down and as usual, the cab line was huge. I loaded a single gentlemen and he gave a destination of the Mirage.
Short rides don't bother me too much for the most part, especially when it's busy. But this ride is ridiculous because the Mirage is literally right next door. With a decent sling-shot and a rock I think you could hit the Mirage hotel tower from the cab stand at Caesars if you had to. Thankfully, traffic on the BLVD was lite so I knew I would be dropping off and picking up again in no time. Nonetheless, I think the guy sensed that I was a little perturbed considering I didn't say one word to him upon hearing his destination.
After making a left to head northbound on the BLVD we quickly approached the only stoplight in between the two places. It's actually less of a stoplight and more just a signal for the crosswalk there. We got to about 50 ft short of the intersection and I noticed an ambulance with its lights on and sirens screaming heading the opposite direction. Dismissing my green light, I immediately pulled over to the right lane and came to a complete stop just prior to reaching the intersection line. Besides the fact that such a practice is the law, you need to do this on the off chance that the ambulance needs to do a U-turn or needs the intersection for some other reason. In keeping with the norm in Las Vegas, most cars ignored the sights and sounds and continued on through the welcoming green light, those of them now stuck behind me honking and wondering why the fuck I stopped. Sure enough the ambulance continued on SB and thus, I ultimately stopped for no reason. We preceded on and at the next light we made the left onto Mirage's property. After coming to a stop at the front door, the meter showed $5.20. My passenger hands me a $100 bill and said as he opened the door and let himself out:
That was a good move back there, you keep it.
...and he slammed the door shut and started walking away. I rolled my window down to say:
What are you a firemen?.....paramedic or something?
Thinking he had to be and he's tired of stupid fuckers not yielding to him when they should. He turned around and began walking back towards my open window. He pointed his finger at me in his very best "I want you for the U.S. Army" way, and said in a drunken slur:
Fair enough, I'll stop asking questions now.
I was on the nut at the Bellagio, it was slow so I had it parked right in front of the loading area, giving me a view of everyone walking in and out of the casino. This is useful for two reasons. One, because people watching in Vegas is a good way to pass the time and two, it gives you chance to survey your potential passenger(s) before you load them. I wasn't there for long when I spotted a guy exiting the hotel via the revolving door. It only took a second of looking at him to realize that he was incredibly mad about something. His body language said all you needed to know. I would like to say I locked my doors at this point, but against my better judgment I didn't. I would like to tell you that because I probably should have, but I can't. In all honesty, the thought never even occurred to me.
He made a bee-line straight towards me and from that it was obvious that he was in need of a cab. Before I could contemplate any further he had the shotgun door open and he sat down right next to me. Although it's not entirely uncommon that a person flying solo sit up front with you, it's definitely not the norm. As soon as he sat down I immediately sensed the negative energy. Before he could even tell me where he's going he yelled "FUCK!" as he punches the dashboard above the glove box as hard as he can. The whole car shakes and I say:
You can stop that shit right the fuck now dude, otherwise we're done here.
Sorry, sorry.....can you take me to Desert Inn and Durango?
He said as he was rubbing his hand.
I know that area well. I live right by there. I liked the idea of clearing up there that way I could swing by the crib afterwards. But, this anger and frustration should tell you something. If it doesn't you probably wouldn't make a good cab driver. Obviously, dude is mad about something and it's one of two things in all probability. Girl problems, or in all likelihood, it's a money thing. Dude just lost his ass in the casino and decided the remedy for such a problem was to start working his overhand right on my dashboard like it was a heavy-bag. So before I even turn the meter on or put the cab in gear, I ask the only question I gave a shit to know the answer to:
Do you have any money? .....Because you're going to have to show me some before I take you that far, or anywhere for that matter.
Are you serious?
Do I look like I'm joking?
I knew right away from his answer that I was on the right track. No way this guy had any money. Certainly not enough to take him all the way to the west end of town. Finally, after he realized I wasn't kidding, he shrugged and dove his right hand into his right pant pocket.
Then, he seemingly played pocket pool for the next minute. It was weird, and I found myself laughing. It looked like he was trying to remove his hand from the pocket with his hand stretched out, fingers as far apart as they could go. Obviously, it's difficult way to remove your hand from a pocket if you've ever tried. It reminded me of when OJ couldn't get that glove on. He tries yanking his hand out with a sudden jerk on a few occasions to no avail. His hand is stuck in his pocket. Certain the guy is fucking with me, I proclaim:
Look, maybe you should get another cab if you don't have any money
What, this... won't cover it?
He replied as I noticed that he's finally achieved successful removal of his hand from the pocket and in its grasp is the largest stack of one hundred dollar bills I'd seen in a while. Easily thousands of dollars, maybe tens of thousands. It was more than one should be able to successfully fit into a single pant pocket really. I wondered how somebody with that type of dough in their pocket could be so mad. I've had half of that kind of money in my pocket before and I had a fuckin boner at the time. I thought about inquiring to that effect but all that stumbled out of my mouth was:
Yep, that should cover it.
I was in the downtown neighborhood and I heard a distressed female voice over the two way. In the background you could here a strange banging noise:
THIS IS CAB 5959 I NEED METRO RIGHT AWAY AT MAIN STREET SOUTH OF CHARLESTON! ...DISPATCH THERE IS A MAN JUMPING ON MY HOOD AND WINDSHIELD!
For some reason, dispatch did not respond right away. There was a brief pause and you heard her voice again:
I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO...THIS GUY IS JUMPING ON MY HOOD, HE'S CRAZY OR SOMETHING, HELP ME!.
Still nothing from dispatch, but then there was a male voice come over the air, sounding as calm as if he were in the middle of Sunday School:
Uhhh, drive away.?
I nearly sprayed the remains of my half gulped Dr. Pepper onto the windshield. Then in a hurry dispatch finally makes their first appearance.
No no no driver, don't do that. Put the cab in park, lock your doors and roll the windows up. Metro is in route.
At that very moment two squad cars go screaming by me lights and sirens blaring and it occurred to me that I was only two blocks from her location. Apparently Metro was already well on their way to handling the situation, but I just had to go have a look see. So I followed the cop cars and as I turned the corner onto Main I could see it clear as day.
Some drunk asshole with a 40 ouncer wrapped in a brown paper bag clutched in one hand, dancing a jig on top of this chicks cab. The driver had every reason to be as nervous as she was I suppose, but it was one of the funnier things I'd witnessed in a while.
It was Mama Mia! show break at Mandalay Bay and I loaded two seventies something ladies. They gave me a destination of The Orleans. This verbatim conversation began with me posing the question:
So how was the show?
The lady sitting on the right replied:
Oh it was wonderful, we really enjoy musicals and that one was very good.
As you should, considering the ticket prices these days. I'm glad you had a good time though....so where are you from?
We're from Louisville.
Ah, Kentucky ey? Derby's coming up pretty soon isn't it?
That's right, next week.
Now the Derby is the three year old event right?
See...I know a little about the ponies. You guys ever go?
We haven't missed it in 30 years or so.
Really!? That's cool, you looking forward to this year?
Oh yeah, we always have a great time, even in the infield, which is where we usually watch it from.
There was a short pause in the conversation as we sat at a red light near the Orleans. I guess I was racking my brain for the next progression in the conversation. Then it occurred to me, like a beam of light from above:
So, is Seabiscuit like, your all time favorite movie?
We don't like movies really, never watch them.
So you've never seen Seabiscuit?
Well I guess you'll just have to come back here and catch Seabiscuit the musical then.
Oh my goodness there is a Seabiscuit musical playing here?
I took a radio call at the "Gun Store" on East Tropicana. I had just dropped off across the street at the Wally World and caught a lucky break when the call came up right after I cleared. Considering my proximity, I was all over it. The Gun Store is actually pretty cool because you can rent and fire fully automatic assault rifles there. Ever shoot an AK? It's pretty fun. Anyway, I loaded a middle aged white guy, dressed in a trucker hat that was mangled to the point that I couldn't make out what it was advertising, a short red flannel over a sleeved long john shirt and he completed the ensemble with blue jeans and a pair of work boots. He wasn't going very far so he wasted no time in informing me of his new toy:
Just bought a real nice piece in there...
I thought to myself, awesome, but said nothing. A normal person might buy a car, but he wanted a new six shooter. There was a brief pause, and then he dropped the figurative bomb:
Do you wanna see it?
No thanks. I'm trying to quit.
Oh a funny guy huh? ...No for real, lemme show you this thing, it's pretty bad ass.
He said as he opens the box and holds the fucking gun up so I can see it in the rear-view.
Yeah, that's a nice one.
I don't know the first thing about guns but I didn't think it would be to wise to insult the guys new gun. I mean it could have been the crappiest gun ever forged from molten steel and I would have complimented him on it. Obviously this guy is dumber than a box of rocks, not realizing the consequences of pulling a gun on a cab driver. But, I had a good feeling about the guy. I think ignorance was prevailing over mischievous here. I think he was just happy that he had a down home English speaking cabbie from Iowa that he thought would, and could appreciate his new piece. It reminded me of a kid on Christmas that just had to show off his new dirt bike to anybody and everybody. But it made me wonder if perhaps he had bumped into a police officer first before me, would he would have shown it to him as well?
Hey excuse me Officer,....Wanna see my new gun? It's pretty bad-ass!
A driver came over the air of the two-way in an obvious Arab slang. He had a run-out and was seeking assistance. Dispatch is always there to help you, however they generally have a fairly short fuse towards drivers who not only are difficult to understand, but fail to follow radio simple communication procedures as well. Our Arab friend was one of those.
__78 HAD RUN OUT! NEED TA HELP!
Driver, calm down. What is your cab number?
__78! SEND TA RIGHT NOW! THIS BASTARD TOOK OFF!
Driver watch your language these are public airwaves you can't talk like that. Now, calm down and I need you to tell me your cab number before I can help you.
Driver, you're cutting yourself off. Hold the mic button down, wait for a second, then begin talking. You have to press the button before you begin talking, otherwise we can't hear you.
Dispatch are you no going to help me?
Driver I'm trying to help you! What is your location?
Smartly, dispatch temporarily gave up trying to obtain the cab number. The driver replied:
___SELL and 215.
Ok, is that Russell & 215?
Ok, that's a copy, but I need the exact address driver. I can't just send the police to Russell and 215. I need an exact address. Where exactly are you?
__sell & 215. I told you. Are you not going to help me or not?
DRIVER! I'm trying to help you!
_________ going to help me I'm just going to park the cab right here and quit. I'll take bus home.
Driver don't do that. I'm trying to help you but you're cutting yourself off, and I can't send you any help until you give me your cab number and a exact address. Can you give me your cab number and a exact address for me to send metro to?
There was a 5 second pause, and the driver replied:
____atch isn't helping me, I'm going to go find this guy and fucking kill him. I'm going to kill this fucking guy!
Admittedly I started laughing. It was funny considering the guys accent combined with his poor English, nevertheless dispatch was quick to respond:
Now driver, we don't kill people here at Las Vegas Cab. At least not on purpose we don't.
We had just exited the southbound I-15 headed east towards the BLVD on Flamingo. I was loaded with three younger white guys, about my age I suppose. One of them sat shotgun, the other two in the back. They were drinking fairly heavily and were already well on their way to being wasted. We were forced to stop at a red light on the freeway overpass and we came to rest in the middle lane, the first car on the stripe. A pimped out Honda Civic pulled up adjacent to us on our right hand side. It looked like the guy had dropped a lot of money into his car. Either that or he bought it off of the makers of the Fast and Furious. The Honda was packed full with 4 guys in it, they had their windows down and the driver was saying some nonsensical shit to us that I couldn't even hear. He stared at us while redlining his motor and it looked like tough guy wanted to compensate for something by beating my completely stock commercial vehicle, in a street drag.
My guys were having none of this and were egging me on to give it a go. In fact one of them even said:
C'mon, this things got a V8 in it doesn't it?
Yes, I'm sure that's what we'll be able to attribute our certain victory to.
I said sarcastically.
As dumb as it was, I thought it was kind of funny that this guy was acting tough and my passengers were giving me shit about it. So setting my better judgment aside, I decided to play along.
I replaced my right foot with my left on the brake pedal and proceeded to lightly work the gas with my right one, torquing the car down. The cab wants to move forward but of course it can't. But more importantly, I know this to be the international signal that you want to race. Studying the light signal patterns as I do, I was certain I was going to beat him off the line because I knew exactly when the light was going to change. If nothing else I knew I could beat him off the line, whatever was to happen after that, who knew?
I continued eying the green light for the traffic exiting the freeway from the northbound direction. Pulling my stare away for just a split second, I noticed in the rear view mirror the Metro Patrol Car two cars behind me. I could just see the top of the light bar resting above the cars behind me. Good timing. I turned my head back in time to noticed the opposite light change to yellow and I knew the green was ours in four seconds. I revved it up and the cab is inching forward, at the same time I began repeatedly elbowing the guy sitting shotgun while saying:
Watch this! Watch this! Watch watch watch!!!
As soon as the light was ours I flipped my left foot off the brake and floored it....
For about 5 feet. The Honda fucking roasted his tires and got half sideways as he blew our doors off. Immediately after that the squad car lights um up and cruises past us to go catch the Honda.
As we slowly caught up and passed the pulled over Honda my passengers are dying and hanging half out of the windows giving those guys the finger and yelling:
Ahhh stupid fuckers!
..among other things. Good thing I seen that cop though.