Costume Cabbie: The Amy doll
It was Memorial Day. The End Up was open until 2pm. I spent the first couple of hours picking people up at the End Up and taking them to wherever they were going. I was driving for DeSoto that day. The first time I stood in the taxi line at the End Up, the Green Cab that I have been driving, number 914, pulled up behind me. I knew that Brad Newsham, who this blog has been linking to since its birth, owns the medallion for number 914. That Brad was driving for them had been one of many things that validated my decision to switch to Green Cab.
I got out of my car and knocked on the Green Cab's window. He thought I was a club kid that had come out of the End Up. Of course he did. I looked just like one.
"Are you Brad?" I said.
"Hi. I'm Vera Fleischer." I held out my hand. He looked at me befuddledly. I told him that I had emailed him many months ago and asked about his cab stories that had been published in the Chronicle and told him that I was an aspiring published writer of cab stories myself. That seemed to ring a bell for him. I also told him that I now drive his cab for Green Cab sometimes. We talked for a while, and he ended up giving me a copy of one of his books, All the Right Places, which I started reading in line at the airport later that day. It made me smile many times.
One of my fares from the End Up was a girl with luscious lips and a bearded hooded guy. They had just met. They invited me to join them for breakfast at IHOP where I dropped them off. I declined. They also invited me to play "slaps and tickles" with them.
"Did I say that out loud?" the guy said.
"Yes, you did, " said the girl.
Another fare from the End Up were two guys. After we dropped off the first one, I said to the second one
"So I have a crush on this other cab driver. I just heard his name on the radio, and now I'm feeling all excited."
"Does he drive for the same company as you?"
Later that day I picked up two guys from Portland at Sutter and Kearny. They had to go to the airport. About half-way to the airport, I noticed my pink and black arms and legs, and I was feeling a lot like a doll. I said
"What do you call those dolls that are modeled after celebrities? Just dolls?"
"Yeah, I think so. They are dolls."
"Like, the Brittney Spears doll?"
"Yeah. Why do you ask?"
"Because I look like my friend Amy today. I'm the Amy doll."
"So what's your name, Amy doll?"
"Vera." My mind blew for a moment, thinking about names and identities, actors and characters, souls and bodies.
At the end of my shift, the gas man said
"You look very nice today."
"It's like... wait. It's... it's the raver style!"
"Yeah. Kind of."
He looked at me proudly.