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The Musician... see you among the stars

Chapter 35 - The Cab

Inside The Cab

Chapter 35 - The Cab

As soon as I arrived home from L.A., my credit card payment was waiting and it was already overdue. With the little money I had left, I sent in the minimum payment of $26.00 immediately. I was low on money, and I needed to conserve my dollars.

Then I received a call from an agent of the IRS. She wanted to know why I haven't sent my payment of $2000.00 in yet which I accidentally claimed after my first six months working for Sam Goody's. I tried to tell her that the form I sent them was a mistake and not filled-out correctly, but I was no longer working for them at this moment and I didn't have any money to send to them. She threatened to attach interest on the payments. I told her that attaching interest will be counter productive, because I can't even pay the $2000.00.

To make matters worse, a collection agency called shortly thereafter and wanted to know why I am not paying my student loan of $200.00. I told them that the student load was paid through the financial officer at the college and their records are a mistake. They refused to believe that and so they also threaten me.

I was getting hit with a lot of shit. All these things came at me all at once within a three day period. I told my mother that I was not around if anyone called. My mother would now have to screen my calls. My mother did that with precision even though she didn't like it. I needed time to get myself and my finances together now that I'm back in New York.

My mother told me that she was disappointed that I blew the $3000.00, but that she was very happy to have me back. She told me that she had a tough time walking for food, and that she felt very much alone. She also told me that she had problems sleeping at night, because she was afraid that something would happen to her and there would be no one around to help her. She told me that it was no problem if I wanted to stay in the basement apartment. This was very nice for me to hear. However, I told her that I didn't blow the money, because I was really freaking-out at the time. I told her that my mind now feels so much more refreshed. I also told her that I just went through four and a half years of college, and I needed a break desperately. She sort of understood the reasoning, and it was indeed true. I needed to clear my head from all the heavy college work and the intense public transportation traveling I was doing at the time.

The IRS didn't waste any more time. They were mailing me an interest payment every week. The TWA credit card company mailed me a bill for $89.00. I sent them the minimum of $26.00 instead. I had no choice for my money was scarce. The bills and demands for money kept coming and it was driving me nuts. Then the lady agent from the IRS called me again and told me that if I didn't pay them the money that they were going to put a lean against me. I was tired of all the bullshit threats by now from everyone so I told them to go ahead. Do whatever you want to do. Shortly thereafter, another credit card bill came in from TWA again and now the payment was $150.00. The minimum went up also to $60.00 I give up! I'm not going to communicate with any of them anymore. That is it! I just got back in town from an after college vacation and I'm getting hit with excessive amount of bills and threats.

I had heard from my friend whose father gave me the cigarette company job. He told me that his father got fired. I was happy to hear that. He also told me that he was working for a cab company in Coney Island. He said that he was making good quick money, and suggested that I give it a try. I desperately needed money so I applied for it. Coney Island was now mostly black and populated with drugs. I started to drive the cab and I began to make some money again. I was working the night time hours and doing a lot of short runs. I was crazy out there. I picked-up all sorts of weird people looking to by drugs. I was very naive of the business and it wasn't a problem, but when I started to become smarter after driving a while, I got very scared. When you don't know what you are doing you have no fear. Then as you start to realize what you doing, you suddenly see the danger. After about four months of driving, and the those months went quickly, I got very scared and decided to drive for another company.

I joined another company close to my house. I enjoyed working there, because I could walk to it from my house. I also told them that I could not work past 12 midnight. I knew that after midnight the people that I would pick-up would be very questionable. They also had frequent calls to and from Manhattan. The important thing about this company was that they had a contract with the City of New York to drive around social workers. They did a lot of this type of work during the week and it was great money. It paid $15.00 an hour to the cab driver. I worked some the great hours doing that.

I would go in to work at 4 o'clock and I would be assigned immediately a social worker in downtown Brooklyn. I would be clocked-in by the company by company paper work. I would arrive about a half hour later at the Social Workers office and check-in. They would have me wait for an hour or two and then they would hop in the cab. I would drive them around all night long, and drop them off at home. From 4:00 to 11:00PM at $15.00 an hour times seven hours equals, $105.00 a night for me. Quick money! Great!

One Friday night after two months working for the company, I got a pick-up in Brooklyn going to a club in Manhattan. I had turned my radio off once I made the drop-off in Manhattan because I wanted to see if I could find a girl to play with for a moment. I looked around my famous spot in the East Village. I was very picky on who I picked up. Usually it was a girl that was just starting to hook. Those are the most comfortable and beautiful girls to be with. I spent about three hours looking around when I suddenly saw a beauty. In order to pick-up a beauty you have to be extremely fast. If you find a spot to make a U-turn and return back to where you seen her, someone else would have gotten her already. This I knew from experience. Anyway, I seen this beauty, and I made this quick sudden illegal U-turn to get her. When I finished the turn I heard breaks squealing. Apparently, some crazy nut was traveling very fast, tried to jump the light, and I suddenly made a U-turn in front of him. As soon as I completed the turn I heard the breaks squealing and suddenly I got tapped in the rear of my cab. My cabs rear-end slightly lifted off the ground a little. I turn my head to the right and I saw this car go up on the middle divider of the road. I stopped my cab and the occupants of the car that slightly hit me, became confused and ran past my cab, and proceeded to another car that they thought cut them off. I made another quick U-turn and got out of the area quickly.

I drove to a quiet spot and looked at the damage. My right-hand rear light was broken, but I didn't notice anything else. In case I will be asked and I don't think so, I concocted a story that I stopped to get something to eat in the city and that I didn't know what happened. This was the story I was going to tell if they noticed my rear light broken. I waited about an hour and then I turned my radio on to see if they were looking for me. It turns out that they were. The dispatcher got on the radio and asked me where I was and I told him that I just finished getting something to eat. He told me to bring the cab in immediately. I told them that I would be there in a half-hour. I knew they knew something, but I didn't know what they knew. I became scared. When I got into Brooklyn I stopped to look at the rear of the cab one more time. I cleaned off any broken glass from the light, and I rubbed out any of the marks. I made the Christian sign of the cross and headed in. When I was pulling up to the gas pump, I noticed the assistant manager waiting for me and looking at the car thoroughly. I pulled up to the pump for him to gas it up. He then immediately walked back to the back of the car as he was asking me if I had an accident. I told him no. He then seen and pointed at the broken rear light and said, "How come your tail light is broken?" I told him I didn't know, as I looked at the tail light. I just acted dumb. He then went around the cab to see if there was anymore damage. He asked again, "You don't know how the tail light broke?" I told him that maybe someone hit it when I stopped to get something to eat. He then took the hose of the gas pump and put it in the entrance to the tank and began filling the tank. While he was filling the tank he asked, "Where is the plate to the car?" I walked to the rear of the cab to check. I pointed to the plate and said to him, "The plate is there!" He said, "The company plate." Apparently, there is a company plate on the front and rear of the cab which has the number of the car on it. I forgot all about that. When the guy hit me slightly the plate must have fallen off. Oh shit, they got me now. All of a sudden, the gas began pouring out of the tank on to the ground as if it was being over-filled. The assistant manager said that I have a hole in the gas tank. I then told him that I had heard some cars breaks screeching as I was heading back to the highway in the East Village. I felt a slight touch to my cab, but I didn't think I got hit. I stopped to see what had happened and these guys jumped out of the car and started chasing another car. Since I wasn't involved I apparently left. I guess I must have been involved. It appears that way from this damage.. The gas was still pouring out on to the floor. I was so embarrassed. The assistant manager told me that a police officer had called the company. He has the company plate and told us that you made an illegal U-turn, and you were involved in an accident. The police officer wants you to call him. Go inside and speak to the dispatcher. I then went to the dispatcher who looked at me weird and pissed off. He gave me the telephone number of the police officer and told me to use the phone to call him. I dialed the number of the police station and asked for the officer. The officer had finished his shift and went home. I left the cab company's number with the police personnel. I told the assistant manager that the officer had finished his shift and was not there. The assistant manager told me to go home and call the boss tomorrow. I then left to walk home. "Wow, was that close. Thank God the officer had finished his shift," I said to myself as I was walking home. I called the boss the next day and he told me to come in to see him. The boss was real cool. He's a connected guy. He told me that I had to pay $90.00 for the gas tank, and told me to be more careful. He also mentioned that the guy who apparently hit me had called him, and he told him that it was his problem. He told me that he told the guy, "Next time don't drive so crazy and fast," replied the boss. I asked him if he was firing me. He told me no. Pay for the gas tank and work tonight. We're very busy. What a great boss!

I'll never forget that moment when the assistant manager was filling the gas tank and asking me if I was involved in an accident. The gas began pouring out on the floor as I was telling him no. I'll never forget the look on his face, and the surprise on my face as the gas began pouring out on to the floor just after I told him no.

Everything was OK with the boss, but the dispatchers didn't like that I had turn my radio off that night. They started to give me a lot of flack. They were pressuring me to work longer hours, and the calls weren't so good. There was nothing I could do to change the situation. After a long while, the calls started to get rougher and rougher. The people whom I was picking-up were very questionable. I needed to be extra careful that I do not get killed here working nights with some of these rough customers. Then one night I almost did. I had picked-up these young punks at a bar and I noticed a gun in his jacket as they got in the cab. They asked me to drop them at a school yard on Bay 49th Street. Luckily, Richie wheelchair lived on the same block. I knew they were going to rob or shoot me. As I proceeded down the block of Bay 49th Street, I pointed to Ritchie's house and said that is where I live. That apparently changed their mind. The next day I quit the cab company. When the dispatcher turns on you it is usually all over.

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