On Mickeys way back to the Plaza,
the nametag hanging from the rearview mirror tells him his taxi
driver is named Ahmad, the same name as the driver of the taxi
he took to LAX. He even looks like the same guy. Of course,
hes wearing a turban, and Mickey can only see the back
of his head. Theres no way to be positive, but its
a pretty cool thought.
looks back at Mickey and begins talking.
day, theres this lady I pick up
Mickey takes the bait.
every day, I pick her up, and she only goes a block.
Mickey stares at his finely manicured hands.
I ask her, I see you walking to the car, why dont you
just walk the block? I mean, really, its not worth her
time, never mind my time. I mean, cmon.
about a week ago, I pick her up and drop her off one block away.
I get a call, so Im distracted, and I accidentally hitI
meanbump her as shes crossing the street. Now she
walks the block. Funny, eh?
collects Civil War pornography. Mickey takes another downer.
looks out the window and peers into the offices as they pass
by. The modeling gig isnt going to last forever, but he
sure as hell isnt going to end up in one of those buildings.
want to do something else, Mickey says out loud.
looks back, wondering what kind of drugs Mickey is on.
dispatcher comes over the radio, drowning out the talk radio
station, and begins yelling at Ahmad, because he was late picking
up his last fare. Im sorry, Ahmad, but this is the
third time. Consider this your last fare for our company.
Ahmad mumbles something under his breath. Mickey isnt
sure who Admads talking to, but hes able to make
out the words fuckface and cocksucker.
The rest is lost in his accent, but those two words: clear as
fucking day. Ahmad glances at Mickey
through the rearview mirror (catching him checking out his hair).
He shakes his head and grunts, so Mickey says, Bummer,
locks all the doors, rolls up the windows, and steps on the
cool. Mickey tries to talk down Ahmad, who is driving like a
maniac on FDR drive, going around turns that Mickeys Porsche
would have trouble handling.
cannot go on like this! Ahmad screams.
has a plan until they get hit.
explains to him that he can work for another taxi company, and
Ahmad tells him that this is the third company in the last month
that hes been fired from.
asks him to pull over and let him out, because he doesnt
want to get into an accident and have his face scarred. Ahmad
says that hes going to drive them both off the Brooklyn
a picture of Kip Winger on a Back to the Eighties
issue of Rolling Stone wedged under the drivers
seat. Mickey hates to think this is the last thing hell
see before he dies.
is driving in the breakdown lane. He almost takes out a Ford
Taurus that is overheating and then just misses a tractor trailer
thats changing lanes. Mickey cant look. Instead,
he stares back down at the magazine. In the upper right hand
corner is a caption: Was Garth Brooks serious when he
created Chris Gaines? Good question, man, but no one can
answer right now.
sharp left turn out of the breakdown lane causes Mickey to hit
his head against the window, messing up his hair, leaving a
gel residue on the glass. Paul Harvey is telling the rest of
the story on the radio. Hes talking about how kitchen
appliances arent as safe as they used to be.
Harvey doesnt sit in the exit row.
approach the Brooklyn Bridge. Ahmad is chanting something in
Arabic or English. Its hard to say. All Mickey can focus
on is Kip Winger. For what its worth, he wishes he had
across the bridge, Mickeys taken all his downers. He can
see Ahmad gripping the wheel like he really may take a turn
for the worse. Off the bridge.
time to change. Mickeys thoughts with his life on
yells at Ahmad, telling him to stop, and at that moment, Ahmad
slams on the brakes and pulls to the side, against the bridge.
Ahmad turns up the radio and tells Mickey to quiet down, so
radio announcer is reading the daily lottery numbers, and Ahmad
appears to be making checks on a piece of paper (maybe a lottery
ticket) as the numbers are called. After the first five numbers,
Ahmad puts up his right hand. His fingers are crossed. Please
let it be the number thirty. The next number is thirty.
Ahmad screams. Its a scream of joy. Mickey hopes its
a scream of joy. On the side of the bridge with traffic passing
by on the left, pressed up against the bridge on the right,
is screaming something about a winning lottery ticket. Ahmad
holds the ticket up to the rearview mirror,
next to a pine tree deodorizer. Do all taxi drivers have the
same new car scent pine tree deodorizer that has turned brown
because it was bought years ago? Its gotten to the point
where its uncomfortable if a taxi doesnt have one
much did you win? Mickey asks Ahmad, just trying to make
conversation, sounding a little freaked out.
Thats cool, man. See? Fuck this taxi. You dont need
it; youve got thirty-five grand right there. Cool.
Mickey hopes this doesnt mean hes going to take
both of them and the ticket off the bridge.
million, says Ahmad. You have been very good to
me, my friend.
next five minutes are a blur for Mickey, but heres the
gist of it: Ahmad repeats the amount five times, Mickey says
No way, man six times, Ahmad calls someone and speaks
Arabic to them, confirms the numbers, and then he reaches into
the back seat and grabs Mickeys arm in a strange, friendly
sort of way.
us go to Paris, says Ahmad.
what, dude? Mickey definitely doesnt understand
his accent. I thought you just said Lets go
my friend. Lets go. I dont know anyone in this country.
Will you go? Just for the night?
up on downers, this sounds like a good idea to Mickey. He agrees
to go for the night. After all, Mickey knows agency-type people
I feel mentally raped. Cool.
theyre headed to the airport.