Friday, August 04, 2006

The Cab of Doom

We were in Vegas with a couple friend of ours, having a good time, when we stepped into a rather nondescript van-type taxi cab. The driver resembled Odd Job from the James Bond movies, heavyset and bald, swarthy and solemn-faced.

"To the Rio!" we ordered, and immediately hit Mach 9. The tail lights of the other vehicles became streaks, like the stars on the Enterprise's viewscreen as Kirk kicked it into warp drive. I'm pretty sure my jowls are still somewhere on Las Vegas Boulevard, ripped from my head by the g-forces.

Other cars posed no challenge for our grim-faced chauffeur, whipping his vehicle to the left, to the right, and sometimes I swear right effing OVER any obstacle.

In a flash we were within sight of the Rio when Darth Vader appeared to block our path. Unlike in the movies, Darth Vader is not seven feet all and draped in black. He is, in fact, a smallish white woman driving a suburban, but there's no doubt in my mind that this little lady was evil incarnate. I can tell because her mere presence in our lane, impeding our light-speed progress, was enough to drive our cabbie insane.

"Drivers here are fat and stupid!" he roared. "This woman is too busy thinking about her next slice of cheesecake to drive!" Foam was actually flying from his lips in his rage. "Oh I hope she's going to the Rio. I pray for her to go to the same hotel, she is going to pay, please God let her be going to the Rio." More foam, more spittle, more invective, and then It Happened:

She flipped him the bird.

My friends, there are certain things one does not do, as immortalized by the great Jim Croce. You don't tug on Superman's cape. You don't spit into the wind. you don't pull the mssk off that old Lone Ranger and you don't mess around with Jim, our cab driver. I've seen volcanoes erupt with less vehemence. I've seen Starbucks double-mocha lattes with less foam. I've read dictionaries with fewer four-letter words.

"If there is a God this woman will go to the Rio!" he was yelling. And sure enough, she pulled into the same driveway, and headed right towards the drop-off. I began to worry that we'd spend all day down at the courthouse filling out murder witness affadavits. "Fat and stupid, that's what people are here, go get your cheesecake you moron, you are going to pay!" he was growling.

Then, at the last moment, mercy -- she pulled off into the parking garage and we turned off into the valet area. "That's one lucky Darth Vader," I thought to myself.

"Sorry for the aggravation," I said, reaching for the door handle. How the hell does this thing open, anyway?

"No problem," he grunted. No, that's not the button, do you pull on it or is there another handle somewhere? Damn thing ... "You guys aren't from around here, you're not the stupid fat bastards." No, not us, nosiree, we're not stupid, and HOW THE HELL DO YOU OPEN THIS FRIGGING DOOR?!?!

A blank stare, the faint hing of a sneer, and -- is that foam on his lips? Gulp! "Push the button and pull," he says contemptuously.

As we exit the Cab of Doom I'm thankful -- there were witnesses there at the Rio so we were likely safe. But every time we see a cab now I look to see if our friend is driving, so I can dodge behind a pillar.

Or even better, some fat idiot from out of town. I'm pretty sure that's the best decoy.


annie'sbuddie said...

I'm laughin' out loud here & people are coming in my office staring & wondering about me.
Just where is a good SuperHero when you need one?
Paul has named his character "AgingMan with BoredDog".
Hope the rest of the trip was equally as exciting as that cab ride!

Sharon said...

I can you looking like a dog in the back of a pick-up truck with his jowls flopping and ears flowing!

Sounds quite memorable!

Jimmy said...

Jeff, that is too funny!
Maybe Las Vegas could work on a new tourest slogan. Something like "Forget the roller coasters - we've got Crazy Cabs. Twice the thrills and one helluva colorful commentary.

P.S. Does this get me off the hook for leading you into the path of that truck on La. Hwy.1?

Jimmy said...

Here's a better slogan.

Crazy CAb - when you're ready for the ultimate gamble!