Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Cup Runneth Over

There were a lot of Christmas parties going on, since it was that time of the year, being the Middle of December. However, on a Monday, you really don’t expect people to party, but these were college students who finished their finals at the prestigious top rated college, Willamette University. Finals were still going on, except for this bunch, who were celebrating.

I got my call at around Midnight, along with two other drivers, who were right behind me. My passengers were already at the gate of the apartment complex when I pulled in, so they got in the back seat of my van.

“Where to?” I asked them.

“5093 N.E. 7th” the female told me.

“I know exactly where that is,” I told her. It was in Keizer, North of Chemawa Road. I had a disabled passenger who lived right down the street that I drove to the bar and on beer runs to get drunk so he could forget about his back pain. As we started driving I heard gagging sounds that alerted me to the possibility of my passenger vomiting in my cab.

“Let me know if you are going to be sick,” I told my passengers, “because it is a $40.00 cleaning fee, if you get sick in the cab.”

They both assured me that nobody would get sick, as the male continued to burp and emit gastric sounds. I told the guy to get up front where there was roll down window to puke out of, but he demurred and obstinately sat in the back seat, in a drunken stupor. The female said that they were cousins and she was visiting, since her finals in Washington were over. The male was a law student that I drove before.

I got a free large soda pop at Taco Bell a couple of hours earlier, when I ate lunch, so the cup was still in the holder, with ice. I rolled down my window and threw out the ice, and handed the cup to the woman. “Use this to puke in,” I told her.

She immediately gave the cup to her cousin, who began filling it with his vomit. I periodically glanced in my rear view mirror, to make sure that my passenger didn’t overflow the cup. By the time that we got to their address the cup looked like it was brimming, so I put the taxi in park and burst out my door, to open the vans side door. As soon as I slid the door open, my passengers head flew out, vomiting half digested pepperoni pizza. He narrowly missed me, and covered the driveway with his regurgitation. Then he staggered into his house, as the female handed me a $20.00 bill and said that she had to go into the house to get the rest of the $22.40, plus a tip. She came out with $8.00 and I told her thanks, as I cleaned up the few droplets that my sick passenger dribbled on the floor, with my left over napkin from Taco Bell.
I called in and cleared my fare, so I’d be available for another call, but in the Keizer zone after midnight it was iffy, so I was heading downtown, straightaway. As I was waiting for the light at Dearborn and River, I saw a man walking diagonally across the street towards me, so I rolled down my window.

“Do you need a ride?” I asked.

“Could you do me a favor? He asked and continued “I just walked from Baxter and Commercial and my feet are killing me. I need to go to Windsor Island Road.”

“Do you have any money?” I asked.

“No,” he answered, “but I sure would appreciate it if you did.

Sometimes you had to give something away, so I decided to give him a free ride. On the way he told me that he was wearing a new pair of boots that he just bought yesterday, so his feet were really killing him. After I dropped him off, I called down on Amtrack, where I sat for an hour until my next call.

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