By Alex Dunkin
That’s right, I am a homosexual. My flawlessly coiffed hair and enviable eye for fashion are dead giveaways to my sexual orientation. God knows I am not perfect but I sure look close to it. Every morning I observe the glory before the mirror, removing stray hairs, adding gel to my style and a tiny bit of lipstick never goes astray. I prefer not to overdo the makeup, after all I do not have the bits of a woman so I have no need to look like one, just class me as slightly girly.
My love for men (really hot men), however, takes second place to my real passion; I am and always will be the best taxi driver you could ever have. I strive for this honour and am very big on pride, in many ways, and I also like winning the trophies. They shimmer nicely between the pinups and the medallion proof of some athletic ability.
My beast of a car is a little bitch. A temperamental tin can only I can control (and love) sort of making the yellow-lined piece on wheels my hag. No one else can turn Miss Madeline on and yank her gears like I can. I do my best to conceal the rust with feathers, fuzz and fluffy dice that dangle like a pair of other goods I enjoy. There’s nothing quite like a nibble with afternoon tea and a good dipping of the bags.
Enough about me, the first punter is here. Damn, I can feel Miss Madeline tilt as she’s boarded. Such a heavily reared woman crushes poor Madeline’s behind to the asphalt. Sparks often fly from my party girl but these ones might not be so good.
“Where to?” I greeted.
“Hospital,” she demanded, as apparrently more words weren’t necessary.
“Is there something wrong?”
“In labour. Go now.”
“Really!? You’re in labour? I thought you were just fat.”
“My sister is about to have a baby, you jerk.”
You can just chip the ice from the air. This is a case of drive fast, no tip expected, especially after a wicked slip of the tongue. I zoom my Missy through the traffic, arriving at the emergency entrance. No map or GPS needed for me to navigate these streets. Barely minutes pass from pickup to hospital.
“Comes to seventeen dollars.”
“Here, keep the change,” the woman throws a twenty between the plastic protector (not one flexible enough to be multipurpose, unfortunately). A clink, a clang, a gigantic heave, and the woman is gone.
Missy is penetrated again instantly, as another patron thrusts himself in without warning, a hillbilly no less.
“Take me to a bar,” he says, chewing a slobber of tobacco. “A need a good stiff one.”
“Don’t we all.”
“What did you say?” his southern accent nails on a chalkboard.
“Which bar would you like sir?”
“Don’t know, what’s good ‘round ‘ere? Nowhere too fancy, I’m a simple man.”
“I’m sure you are,” I say, Miss Madeline coughs and seizes. “God, you can be such a drama queen, Missy. If I twist your knob will you go for me?” I tease the key, bolting it as a piercing screech sounds from below the steering wheel. She squeals with delight and sparks back to life. “We really are soul mates.”
“Are you one o’ them homo-sexuals? ‘Cos I don’t like them homo-sexuals.”
“Yep,” I confirm. “You should get some cream for that rash. It looks like thrush; one of my girlfriends had and it’s making your neck a bit red.”
“What did you say boy?”
“To the Red? It’s a great place to drink down the road. You’ll love it.”
“It ain’t one of those gay bars is it?”
“No, I wouldn’t do that to you,” I lie. One of my exes dances there, in a show I know too well; the masculine cowboy outfits never last to the end of the music. The thought of his shining abs steam my windscreen. This country fella would not know the difference between gay and straight at Red. They might all be butch there but they pack it just as often as I do.
Back to the task at hand. Bare minutes pass before our arrival outside Red. Its woolshed inspired exterior perfectly masks the gay bar among the others and the hypnotising strobe lights will hide the true gayness inside. A single woman stands out front to greet guests. Beautiful blond curls spin from her crown and encase her luscious bosoms. My trained eyes are instantly aware of a third bulge, one extremely impressive and low down for a girl.
“Here you go.”
“She’s mighty pretty,” the hillbilly observes. I bite my tongue to hold the giggles in.
“You might get a bit more than a drink if you’re lucky.”
“You think a mighty fine girl like that would be with me?”
“You have to try to find out,” I encourage him as I accept his money. I drive away without Miss Madeline being boarded again. This time I must search for a prospect and there is only one place that can guarantee it: Hooker’s Hangout, otherwise known as the corner of William Street and Turner Avenue. During daylight its the entrance to a shopping centre, converting to a notorious prostitute district at night. As such, it is the location of the busiest taxi rank in the city. It strikes some as odd that two necessary services are located together. Only once have I provided both services, not that I’d charged for either.
I pull into the snail-paced queue with the other drivers. Many stand outside their vehicles admiring me in my approach, some basking in the presence of the best in the business. One of the drivers pushes past the others to greet me. It is Marco, the Mexican tap dancer, my main competition in this industry (it infuriates him that he comes in second every year). Normally I would be more than happy to come second, but with Marco it’s serious.
“You,” Marco spits, “you dare cross paths with me?”
“Cross, overtake and win like always,” I defend myself and initiate the bitching. “I didn’t realise being second best meant taking a second job. How long have you been working this corner?”
“You disgust me. This year I will be number one and you will be the number two, homo.”
“That would make you the premier gay person in the city?”
“That’s not what I say. You number two.”
“Oh, so homo is Spanish for hobo. I’m sorry you live on the streets where you work.”
“Taxi please,” a man calls.
“This way,” Marco jumps in first. He turns back to me to have the final word and tap a beat with his feet. “See, this a sign of things to come. Me first.” I wave a little birdie at Marco as I’m forced to wait my turn for a customer.
It is such a lovely day today, perfect weather for passing the hours while waiting for a passenger. Not a surprise that people prefer to walk rather than pay for a, lift even if it is with the city’s finest. I twiddle my thumbs and eye the selection of gentlemen on their way past. Oh my, you could fry an egg on that one’s buttocks, and that one’s arms I could use to press my shirts. I’m all a quiver with possibilities. I reconsider that notio though, as a grotesque man in an undersized cowboy kit approaches, his neck glowing red with rage. My underwear prepares for an onslaught of faeces rather than the preferred, excitable rise. It’s the hillbilly I left at Red, with Marco tailing merrily behind.
“Look who I found at one of your bars,” Marco gloats, “he mentioned you and I think he is a little unhappy with the service. He agrees that I am the better driver.”
“That lady was a man,” the hillbilly complains. “She had balls.”
“How big?” I ask on instinct.
“Pretty average,” the hillbilly replies. I laugh at his stupidity. “I’m gonna punch your head in, boy.”
“Please don’t, I like my head as is,” I reply, unamused by the threat. The hillbilly balls his fist, squeezing the blood from his fingers. He charges like an enraged bull. I dodge the hit in a simple side step. He attacks again, swiping past my ear. Onlookers cheer in support of both parties and gather to form a makeshift ring.
“You’re going to hurt yourself,” I insist.
“Yeah. You took me to a gay bar and tricked me to kissin’ a man.”
“It’s not my fault you’re a sucker for blondes.” My taunt seems to fuel his fire, as he lashes out in a third strike. I duck, the fist clearly missing. A ting and a scrape signal contact of flesh on metal. The hillbilly hit Miss Madeline!
“My baby,” I cry. Jealousy is an overwhelming emotion. I thought I was the only one who would ever get kinky with Miss Madeline. “Wife beater,” I name the hillbilly.
“What did you say boy?”
“I’m admiring your clothing.”
“You want me, you sicko homo.”
“Indeed not. You struck my woman, you oaf.”
“Who? The car is your woman. I don’t get you queers.”
“But your hands get in our pants,” I tease, aggravating the hillbilly to heightened levels. He punches again and again. I weave and dip to avoid the impact of his fist of fury.
“Stay still so I can hit you boy,” he demands. I decide to engage the fight. Words will not work with this man. The hillbilly advances with a right hook. I deflect it with my left hand, throwing him off balance. I snap my spare hand forward in a fist, thumping it into the hillbilly’s cheek. He cups his face gingerly, shocked by the power of the impact. The crowd cheer with delight at the show.
“You punch like a girl,” the hillbilly lies, still grasping the throbbing flesh on his face and struggles to regain his masculinity athrough the agony. He unsuccessfully launches another assault. I even his pain, smashing a direct blow to his untouched cheek. “I’m gonna hurt you bad, boy.” His attempt at intimidation is meaningless. It is now my turn to end this fight with as much grace as possible.
I stand before the hillbilly and hold my hand before his eyes. I let my wrist go limp like a ninety year old, distracting the hillbilly and raise my unnoticed foot, crushing his pride and jewels in the same blow. He coughs in pain and swallows his ego back down his throat, tears welling in his eyes. He falls with a single high-pitched squeak. A round of applause thanked me for the performance and I must say that I am satisfied with the outcome.
Marco drops his jaw in disappointment, creating an opening for an explanation.
“Three time junior boxing champ Marco. Number one taxi driver isn’t the only trophy in my cabinet.” Marco’s mouth hangs ajar, sucking air. I throw a hand up for acknowledgement. “Who wants to be driven by the best in the city?” Miss Madeline is swampted with charging hopefuls. “It’s okay, I can handle the pressure.”
I leave with a final salute to Marco, a solitary middle finger.