It was about 6:30 am, and I had just started my shift the morning after Halloween night and was sitting in line at the taxi stand at the Marriott on 4th Street when I heard an order over the radio for Jackson and Jones. I decided to take it and sped off.
When I got to the address I asked the dispatcher to call the person out. About five minutes later, a guy came out of the building and waved at me. I unlocked the doors but he stood outside of the passenger side door. I rolled down the window. He said "She's coming right out." I said "Okay."
I entertained thoughts of a Halloween one-night-stand. I wondered if she was going to be drunk and have smeared make-up. I wondered if she was ever going to see him again.
About another ten minutes later she finally came out. She was wearing a red dress, black fishnets and a black long-haired wig. She looked really cute. I could tell by the way she was staggering towards the cab, that she was intoxicated.
"You must be really tired," she said.
"I'm not actually. I slept all night. I just got up."
"What about you? Were you up all night?"
"Yeah. And now I'm done."
She told me that she lived in India and was visiting friends for a few days. The house I had picked her up from had been a friend's house. Her friends were still partying, she said, but she was done.
She had me take her to the little alley called Brady, near 12th Street, between Market and Otis. That's where she was staying with other friends.
"I'm going to have to throw rocks at their window, so that I can get in and get money and pay you."
"Oh, you don't have any money on you?"
"What if they don't hear you?"
"They will have to. Otherwise how am I going to get in?" That's exactly what I wanted to know.
I stopped on Brady when she told me to stop. I put on the hazard lights and she got out. She stood near the left rear corner of the car. She bent down to pick rocks off of the ground and threw them. Pitch patch
, they made. She looked up hopefully. She bent down again to throw more. Pitch patch
. She looked up again.
I was watching her in the rear view mirror. The hazard lights were flashing on and off, illuminating her and Otis Street behind us, on and off, on and off. I felt like I was in a movie, mostly because she looked like a movie star in her wig and red dress.
A car appeared from behind us and squeezed by in the narrow alley. It pulled over right in front of us. A tall guy in an orange worksuit got out of the car. I think it was a costume, some kind of astronaut or toxicity specialist costume. I wondered if he was sober. The girl talked to him for a minute. I saw her smiling.
She walked over to my window and said "That's the owner of the building. He is going to let me in."
"Wow. How lucky that he came by just now."
"I know. This whole time I was having faith and I was throwing rocks. I knew I was going to get in somehow. And then he showed up."
They disappeared into the building. The meter kept ticking. After another five minutes, she came to my window again and asked "How much do I owe you?"
"Okay. I'll be right back." I couldn't believe she hadn't gotten the money yet. But I wasn't upset. Somehow she and the situation fascinated me, and I wanted to stick around to see what would happen.
Another few minutes later, she came out again and handed me a twenty through the passenger side window. The meter was now at $16.70.
I asked her if she needed any change back. She asked for two dollars back. And that's how it ended.