I don’t want to do it tonight but they are already coming. I can see them standing at the front door, saying goodbye to each other for the hundredth time since I arrived. I can hear the vodka in their laughter. Loud, unrestrained, obnoxious. It’s Sunday night at 6pm in a quiet residential street. Families are sitting down for dinner, or so they used to, and these lunatics are cackling into the calm nights’ sky like it’s some sick competition of who can be the most annoying. “Please be a short trip,” I prayed silently as I watched two men in their thirties fumble over the locked gate at the front of the house. After a full minute of failed attempts, the owner of the house, an older woman in a black dress, strolled to the gate, lifted the latch, and freed the chimpanzees from their enclosure. Another goodbye. I could feel the wet slobbering kisses from across the street. Trained Alsatians walking on their hind legs. They staggered, leaned and lurched toward my car like stilt performers on a cruise ship in a storm. Not a single leaf rustled on the trees in the park beside me, yet it looked as though my soon to be passengers were walking head-on into a hurricane. Could I ask them to ride in the boot of my car? Would that be rude?
They piled onto my backseat, all spaghetti limbed and jelly tongued:
“Heyyyyyyyyyyyyy! To the Berrrrrrroooo! Time for a few fuckkknnnn Marg—ar–itas!” slurred the first of my passengers, letting out a half hiccup half burp midway through “Margaritas.” He was tall, about 6ft 2”, wearing a tight white shirt and blue jeans. He had two distinct features. One, his head was completely shaved around the sides. On top, he had a tuft of wavy, strawberry blonde hair. He was a cross between Macklemore, the top of a carrot and Bert from Sesame Street. Two, his voice was insufferable. Nasally, whiny and squeaky all in one. Fran Drescher meets Bobcat from Police Academy. A set of bagpipes thrown into a wood chipper. I winced at his every word, “Do you even know what the Berro is darl?” he asked in that voice of his. “Uh dahhhh The Beresford! Where else on a Sunday? Right? Am I right?!!” He asked, I’m assuming, rhetorically. “Who the fuck would willingly hang out with this guy?” I wondered, my face strained in disgust like the time I stepped on a slug barefoot. He could be used to torture information from terrorism suspects at Guantanamo. Forget waterboarding, five minutes with this guy and you’d have all you need.
My second passenger plonked down beside him. He couldn’t have been more different. About 5ft 8” with thick, brown, curly hair and perfectly straight white teeth. He greeted me politely, “Hey mate, how has your night been? Just off to the Beresford please. I think I’ve already entered the address into the app,” He said with a refreshingly normal voice. “I apologise in advance for Steve, he got a bit carried away at the BBQ. Didn’t you mate?” he said lightheartedly, giving Steve a friendly tap on the arm.
“Ohhhh fuck off Phil you bitch! Don’t you go fucking apologising for my behaviour,” whined Steve, slapping away Phil’s hand aggressively. “You just think you’re amazing with your beautiful curly hair don’t you sweetness! The hair that could start world peace! Am I right hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!”
“I’ll tell you what, Mr. Uber isn’t too bad himself are you darl?” said Steve, as he leaned forward to stroke the side of my left shoulder. “Very nice, very nice indeed,” he whispered, his stale, warm, white wine breath blanketing my neck. I cringed. I’m straight and I fucking hate Chardonnay.
“You can’t stroke strangers Steve you freak,” Phil decried in my defense.
“But he’s just such lovely subject matter! SUBJECT MATTTERRRRR!” yelled Steve with his best Pavarotti impersonation.
I glanced to my iPhone and saw I only had three minutes left of this nonsense. Steve continued his ramblings about Phil’s wondrous curly hair. “It’s like a magical world of a million brown slinkies! hahahahahaha!” he announced, laughing uncontrollably at his own joke.
“Alright guys, we’re here!” I said, pulling over to the curb out the front of The Beresford.
“Thanks mate!” said Phil. “Sorry about him!”
“Why yes! Thank you Mr. yummy subject matter!” said Steve, flinging my door wide open.
My door collected the tray of a passing ute. “For fuck’s sake!” I said through gritted teeth before jumping out of my car to inspect the damage.
“OMG did I just hit that car?” Steve squealed disingenuously.
It was an absolute miracle. The ute had taken the most minuscule chip from the edge of my back door. The missing piece was about the size of a peanut.
“Hang on! You’re not even a real taxi driver are you?” said Steve like the massive fuckwit that he is.
“I’ll cut you a deal,” he said opening his wallet. “$5 or a blowjob hahahaha?”
I slammed my door, turned away sharply and drove off. I was incensed. Infuriated. Ropeable. For a moment I desperately wished I was the type of guy who would have grabbed Steve by his collar and thrown him into the gutter. I wanted to scare him. To make him think twice about treating other people like they’re nothing. But I’m not that guy, so I kept driving; short, sharp breaths, steering wheel gripped tightly. I curse him with the worst Monday morning work hangover in history. A vomit in the work toilets before 10am type of hangover. A day where your eyes are so dry you consider taking them out for a rinse and the clock ticks slowly, so slowly. Fuck you Steve.