Gone Wrong

An Adult Adventure Novel Inspired by Modern Politics

Chapter Two tells the story of the origin of "Cabman".  

   

         

          

              I was with a date that seemed promising. We waited out front of the Mark Hopkins, the too tiny wedge shaped driveway at an awkward 45 degrees to the intersection of California and Mason. I just stood and stewed. People had developed a complete disregard for the other guy. Ego. No interest in anyone else. The art of listening vanished. I’d be eating dinner in a restaurant. The noise level would be phenomenal. I’d look around. Tables of four, of six. Everyone talking at once. No one listening. No thought that I might want to hear what my date was saying 24 inches away. The same thing happened everywhere. Cell phones, doors slammed in faces. But the taxi cabs. That’s where I finally lost it.

            My date and I had downed a cocktail or two at the Top of the Mark. The doorman is waiving cabs in the narrow entrance of Nob Hill. The line is long, but he’s doing his best. It’s summer, early evening not yet dark because of daylight savings. The sky’s gray, the wind ripping at us. The flag on the pole 20 feet up looks varnished stiff. Then six partiers, walked from the hotel out to the street entrance, laughing, smug. Well dressed; invested in appearance and privilege. The lead asshole intercepts the next cab coming in and they all pile into the taxi. Laughing. Looking back at us. I lose it. I don’t even know how I got there, but I’m in front of the taxi banging on the hood. The bottom of my fists working like alternating pile drivers as the yellow metal begins to give way, small dents forming. The driver’s lost somewhere between pissed and scared. The partiers are yelling to get moving. I must look like a crazy man. I don’t hear anything. I’m enveloped in silence. Everything is automatic, unplanned, but happening exactly as it should.

 

 

     

             A guy about my height, clearly dedicated to the weight room unfolds out of the taxi. He’s yelling I think, but I can’t focus on what he’s saying, only his approach. I take two steps, move inside his personal space and stare at him. Saying nothing. Not moving. Daring him. Wanting him to do something. Swing. Push. Anything. Any provocation.

            Voices drift into my periphery. I’m being cheered on by those waiting in line. Several start to close towards us. I’m unmoving. Unblinking. I can see his eyes shift between me and those approaching. He yells one more time. Something. I could care less. I shorten the distance between us. I can smell alcohol. Feel his breathing deepen, quicken.

            He breaks.

            “This isn’t worth it. Let’s get out of here. This asshole is crazy!”

            His friends vacate the cab as if in a fire drill. They swiftly move out of the parking lot, onto the street and cross against the red light without looking back. The men leading the retreat; their high-heeled dates following in teetering short chop steps dictated by 4” spikes and incredibly short, tight dresses.

            I slowly begin to refocus. Laughing and pats on the back. A cacophonous applaud. The first positive reinforcement I can recall in months. For anything. My date and I are regally placed in the same cab. The driver asks without turning, “Where to?”  As if that mattered. As if anything was of significance other than the victory just witnessed by all.

              My date laughs, “That was crazy wonderful!”

            Somehow everything is different. Sharper, clearer. As when the optometrist makes the last minor spin of the dial fine-tuning focus. No blurred edges. I can smell the complexity of the city as never before. I’m in a zone I never knew existed. I’m pervaded by a sense of security, a knowledge that while what I just did was monumentally stupid, it was right. Not just right for me. Right for everyone. It made everyone just a bit better. A bit happier. I wanted nothing more than to do it again. And again. And again.