Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I’m Free

Psycho Killer
Qu’est-ce que c’est?
Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa better
Run run run run run run run away
Oh Oh Oh
Ay Ay Ay Ay Ay Woo
He sang to me
As I sipped my 7 Up.

The whole thing began an hour ago,
When I got a call for the South Liberty Bar & Grill,
On a slow Monday night
Around nine.
As I pulled into one of the head in parking spots,
I saw a man running towards my cab.
Then he opened the back passenger side door and got in.

“I’m free,” he shouted.
“I just got out of the joint today,
And now I’m free!”
Then he got back out,
And started dancing in the parking lot,
While he was shouting,
“I’m free! I’m free!
Then he got in the front passenger seat
And told me that he wanted to go home.

“Where is home?” I asked.
“Burnt Woods,” he said.
“That’s going to cost around $100.00,
And I’ll need the money up front,” I told him.
“All right mother fucker!”
He shouted, as he took a wad of cash out of his pocket,
And began to peel bills.
“Here mother fucker, is this enough?”
As he handed me 2 - $100.00 bills.
Which I inspected
For a water mark,
Under the dome light,
To make sure that they weren’t counterfeit.
“Yes, that should do it,” I told him.
“Then let’s get the fuck out of here!” He blurted out,
As I backed out of the space,
And onto Liberty.

When I called in my destination,
My passenger shouted,
“Tell him Yancey is back.
They all know me.”
Then he wanted to get some cigarettes,
So we stopped at a gas mini mart on Kuebler and Commercial.
By the time that Yancey came back outside,
The store manager was following him,
With a concerned expression,
On his face.
My passenger was yelling at the people who were getting gas,
Then he walked up to one guy and shook his hand,
“Hi, I’m Yancey, and I’m free,”
He excitedly explained.
The store manager was watching the scene,
As my passenger got back in the cab.

“Let’s go!”
He told me,
As he put some things in his back pack,
On the floor.
So I started South down Commercial toward I-5,
When Yancey announced that he wanted a drink.
“I haven’t had a drink in 4 years,
And I want one.”
“Then we better stop at the Stonefront,”
I told him,
“Because it’s the last bar before the freeway.”

“All right,”
Yancey said,
“Let’s do it,
And I want you to come in with me,
You can get a 7Up.”

“No problem,”
I answered,
“As long as I run the meter.”

“Run the mother fucking meter!”
Yancey exploded,
“Do what you got to do,
Just come in with me.”

I pulled into a stall close to the door.
There were only a few cars in the lot.
I put the meter on time,
And locked up the cab,
As I accompanied Yancey,
Into the bar.

There was a female bar tender,
And a female cook running the show,
With about 8 people sitting at the bar,
Shooting pool
And playing video poker

Yancey ordered himself a beer,
And I ordered a 7Up.
After about 15 minutes,
Yancey was on his second beer,
And getting drunk,
After abstaining
For four years.
He was becoming so loud and obnoxious,
That the bartender asked me
If my passenger made me as nervous as he did her.

“I still have to drive him to Burnt Woods,”
I told her.
“Why don’t you just walk out,
And leave him?”
She asked.
Because I already his $200.00 fare,
In my pocket,”
I told her,
And added,
“Besides, he would just call for another cab.”

Yancey got change for the juke box,
And began punching selections,
Until Psycho Killer by “The Talking Heads” was playing.
Then he began dancing,
By himself,
As everyone watched.
And sang the lyrics,
As he sat on the bar stool
Next to me,
Looking at me,
Eyeball to eyeball.

After the song was over,
He took a couple of swigs,
Of his second beer,
And fell off the stool,
Landing on the floor.
I helped him up,
And he decided to get going.

When we got outside it was lightly sprinkling,
But just barely enough for the wipers.
We headed south on I-5
And got off,
At the Corvallis exit.
We drove through Philomath,
As we hit highway 20,
Heading west to Newport.
I asked him what he was in prison for,
And he told me,
I didn’t want to know.

The guy who shot,
Michelle Howard,
The last Yellow Cab driver,
Killed in Salem,
Only got 4 years,
Because his defense said,
That it was an accident,
Since he didn’t know,
That the gun was loaded,
So I didn’t pursue it.

As we drove down the dark road,
We came to a gravel road to the left,
That Yancey had me turn down.
It was two lanes,
But there was nothing but pitch black forest,
On each side,
While my headlights were the only light.

My cab two way radio was crackling,
And John,
The dispatchers voice was breaking up,
As he called me,
After the bartender contacted him,
Out of concern for my safety.
“#25,” he called,
“How are you doing,
And where are you exactly?”

“We’re on a gravel road,
Off Hwy 20,
Heading south,
To Burnt Woods,”
I told him.

As the radio started to break up,
My passenger asked me,
“Do you have a cell phone?”
“No,” I told him.
“Then how will you contact your dispatcher,
When we’re out of range?”
He asked.

I didn’t answer,
But began to feel the first pangs of fear,
Emerge from my psyche.
I continued driving,
For about 5 minutes,
Until he had me turn down a rutted path,
That was one lane,
With an open field on one side,
Visible only by my headlights,
As we rounded a curve.

“Turn out your lights!”
Yancey said.
Then he had me stop,
And he opened the door,
And got out.
“I’ve got to piss,”
He said.
When he was done,
He got back in the car,
And told me to keep driving,
As he reached into his backpack,
Which was on the floor.
He suddenly with drew his hand,
And inserted something in his pocket.

Suddenly the road opened up to a clearing,
Where there was a car and pickup truck parked,
In front of a large 2 story frame house.
“Stop here,”
Yancey said,
As he turned to me,
And threw his arms around me.
I froze!
Then he hugged me,
And handed me a handful of scratch it lottery tickets.
“Here,” he said,
“I want you to have these scratch its.
Because I really appreciate you bringing me home.”
Then he shook my hand as he got out.
The meter was only at $162.00,
But he told me to keep the change.

After he closed the door,
I drove back down the same driveway,
Back to the gravel road that led to
Highway 20.


  1. That was a very intense story. The more I continued reading the more into it I got, and at one point I found myself thinking, "I really hope something bad doesn't happen" and then I remembered that in order to write a blog you have to be ALIVE, so I knew it would have a happy ending. Hah. This was another fun read!

  2. Wow, good stuff! Heard you a bit at the Marylhurst open mic night. Good stories/musings!

  3. I may try something on Utube.