Sweat trickled down my bony fingers, my face red as a baboon’s butt, and my hand weakened and shivering. It’s been up in the air for quite some time now. Hailing for a taxi. In vain! I looked like a young Hitler with essential tremor. Running in 45 degrees was not the brightest of ideas. To hell with fitness I say! To hell!
I sat there on the sidewalk, waiting, pondering the words of Keegan the Wise «You done messed up », indeed I did O wise one, indeed I did. Beside me, a little pigeon looking for some breadcrumbs. « you’ve got wings and yet you choose not to fly. Why so dear pigeon ? » I asked. « Mind your fucking business you lil’ bitch » threatened the pigeon. I instantly shifted my gaze to the horizon. To my astonishment, the most extravagant of carriages was approaching.« The good time of day to you, sir. I shall be your escort » said the coachman.I hopped in.
Inside, leather seats, mahogany wooden floor, and curtains of silk. Bach’s cello suite No.1 played while I indulged in the croquembouche tower in front of me, so succulent. This is the epitome of life I thought.
But my brief Cinderella moment was … just that, a Cinderella moment. My newly found Shangri-La disappeared into thin air; it was just a mirage, yet it felt so real. But then again it was an elizabethan horseless carriage. And who talks like that anyway?
As I regained some of my cognitive functions, I hear someone’s loud rumblings. At first I couldn’t decipher what was being said. «Where ya goin’? », «hmm? », «I said, where ya goin’? » he repeated. No answer from me still. « Where the fuck are ya goin’, I ain’t got the time to waste, ya’ schmuck! », he burst. I finally snap out of it. In front of me was an obnoxious fiftyish man, with a voice like windchimes made of razor blades . Driving a dusty old piece of junk he proudly called a taxi.
This antique of a car was one loose screw away from turning into a death trap. The door wouldn’t fully close, the engine sounded like an electric chainsaw cutting through rocks, and the seat or what was left of it, felt like sitting on a hoop. And since it was only fair that all my senses should suffer, it smelt like a week old sun-dried fish was left in the glove box. I could almost taste it in the back of my mouth. It certainly didn’t help that he was smoking what he called: a therapeutic concoction of exotic herbaceous plants. It was weed.
But at least I had my music playlist to keep me mildly entertained through this ordeal. Or so I thought.
As I was preparing to plug in my inexplicably tangled earphones, the grumpy old man–unnecessarily- felt the urge to break the silence by drawing a parallel of his own : «You see, you’ve put your earphones neatly in your pocket, but somehow they got all snarled up. Life is pretty much like that. At any given moment, things can go south, and for no particular reason either. It’s up to you then to ‟un-mess” them. But it’ll be complicated to do so. And that won’t be the end of it, because it’s a vicious cycle bound to repeat itself ». which in his mind must have sounded like the 11th commandment. But to me, it was a bunch of mumbo jumbo, since by the time he finished his analogy; I had already untangled and plugged them successfully. So much for life’s complicated problems.
My reaction, however, or the lack of it for that matter, didn’t appease him. My nonchalant demeanor towards his life lesson was unacceptable. His cold stares conveyed a message of contempt and disdain. Almost as if he were scolding me. How dare I, a brat who has yet to learn, oppose the all-knowing him. He, who was baptized in blood, roamed the earth looking for the truth. His scars; a testament of miraculous feats transcending the limits of reality. For what is a plebeian to an emperor? What is David to Goliath? And what am I to him?
I was waiting for him to burst out for the second time, but ready nonetheless. I didn’t flinch as I engaged him in a weaponless mexican standoff. Admitting defeat, he shifted his focus on the road again. But little did I know it was actually a ruse. He had a weapon of his own this whole time. He reaches for the radio, turning the volume up on one of SERHANI’s songs. I look for refuge in my phone, alas the battery died. I open the window for some fresh air only to be threatened again . « where my bread crumbs at u lil’ bitch 🕊 ? » .
This is going to be a long ride!