This is who I'm riding with

Taxicab to Wichita - Aaron Louis Asselstine

The passenger, Rocky, the robber, is also a special-effects and makeup artist.


(From the point-of-view of the cab driver)


"He (Rocky) shot me a look of contempt before admiring his mask again.
'I'm gonna cut the eye outta this face. Which one do you think I should take?' 
'I don't know.'  Aren't they both the same? I thought and noticed him delicately caressing the latex.
'I'm gonna take the right one.' 
He opened the razor up and spread the mask out beside him. . . 
 . . . 'This is a fine blade. You keep it for protection, don't you?'
'If things go south in a cab you got no one to help you,' I said, then realizing my only protection was resting in his hands, not mine. . . 

He sat there for a moment. He looked deep in thought. Then he snapped out of it, grabbed the eye of the mask and held it up over his own eye.
'This is my magical eye for detail, Quinn. With this I can see every tiny crack and fissure you have.'
I looked at him and chuckled a little. He just sat there looking back at me. 'So what do you see then?' I asked.
'I see a bunch of you. But one's killing all the others.' . . .


He shook his head slowly. 'Destroy the image,' he said, with a deepened voice."



and this is Quinn, the junkie cabbie with a money problem.


"The face in the rearview mirror was sunken and tired, frazzled, nervous, irritated, slightly paranoid, and broke. But mostly it was nostalgic for long-lost things 


like ex-girlfriends he once cared for but out of futility packed up and left;


acoustic guitars that purged emotion through wooden veins, and cathartic grains, but got pawned;


worried pets that exposed soft underbelly while wagging tails unconditionally at my blatant self-destruction;


thirsty plants perched behind north facing windows in dreary apartments, exasperated, and brittle from neglect.

The face had an hourglass countenance that changed drastically, once a day. When the medicine was scored, the hourglass was turned and the face became imperturbably serene. Twelve hours later, however, it was a twisted knot of fear."


and this is where we're sitting:


". . . rain-beaded windows kept us dry, and worn out upholstery exuded the dirty perfume of a thousand little spills in various states of decay. It was a persistent whiff of street-level hustle and bustle.
The windshield wipers slapped out a less-than-perfect time signature. One of them had seen too many seasons – too many extremes of hot and cold."


So far, I'm affected like this:  my fingers are itching in certain places to fix certain things (like the girlfriend phrase); I'm appreciating certain phrasings (like "purged emotions through wooden veins and cathartic grains"); and I have misgivings about his worried pets exposing their soft underbellies -- I am extremely relieved to learn nothing more of that.


the night is windy and wet, the company is creepy and unnerving, and the road is long and uncertain.  I still don't know where we started from, but I'm beginning to think it's somewhere in Canada. It's going to be a really long ride.



(five minutes later, and I now know the point of departure.  It's Windsor, Ontario.  According to Google, it's a fourteen hour drive to Wichita, Kansas.  According to Rocky, in the language of the Caddo, Wichita means a shady place.  Apparently, Rocky has chosen this as his destination because "I need some proper shade to lie down in.")