One of the good things about telling stories is that you can embellish it, dress it up, polish it and present it in any way you see fit. A friend of mine who is a fantastic raconteur once said: "It's my story, I'll do what I like with it."
I both accepted and adopted this theory and I openly admit that a lot of the things I tell are disguised and coloured as I see fit. The following story though, will be told as near to fact as I can manage.
Some of you may be aware that my job of work is a black-cab driver. Others could have guessed that was my job because of the shit I talk. I often hear 'Taxi-driver eh! I bet you could tell a story or two, could you?' This is true, as anyone who works with the public will tell you. One job I would really love to do though, is that of a disc jockey. To get paid for doing something you love to do must be an extremely rewarding job. I was once paid for playing music whilst driving my cab, but not before a major cock-up. It happened to me a few years ago.
I had just gone to work at about ten o'clock one cold and wet Thursday night, and I was driving along the coast when I was flagged down by a young couple. I pulled up alongside and they climbed into the back of the cab. I looked into the mirror to see if they had sat down and to ask where they were going.
The young man wore a loose fitting checked shirt and jeans and he had cropped dark hair. The girl was quite well proportioned, and I must say that the way she was dressed would have been more suited to a girl with a slimmer figure. She wore quite a lot of make-up, especially around her big dark eyes, and she had shoulder length died blond hair and was dressed in a very short dark skirt, knee length boots and a tight fitting buttoned white top that showed an ample cleavage. Both were about mid-twenties. They seemed quite sober and pleasant, and they seemed relieved to have been able to get a cab. We exchanged comments on the state of the weather and I asked 'where to?' The girl told me the destination, which was about fifteen minutes drive from where I had picked them up.
So I click the meter on and begin to drive...
A few seconds later I glance in the mirror and see the young lad looking up towards the roof of the cab, but the girl nowhere in view. Naturally I wonder where she is, so I crane my neck to get a view, as I can only see people from the chest up in the rear view mirror.
It's no big deal for a couple to become relaxed and to sometimes get quite carried away in the rear of the cab, indeed I often refrain from using the rear view and resort to the discretion of the wing mirrors if people are canoodling. It had crossed my mind that the girl may have laid down on his lap if she wasn't feeling well, but for her to have disappeared completely in such a short time seemed odd.
As I peered into the rear compartment of the cab I could see the back of her head bobbing up and down. 'Bloody hell' I thought to myself as it became obvious what she was doing. I glanced at the lad again to see him with his head still thrown back. I was naturally a bit embarrassed to have intruded on such personal pleasures and I coughed into my hand and looked away, thinking 'Maybe she isn't really doing that, maybe she's trying to bite a thread off his jeans or something'.
Then I began to hear muffled noises in the back, a great deal of puffing and panting, shuffling and moaning. A minute or two later curiosity got the better of me and I found myself ridiculously trying to sneak a glimpse of the proceedings again as we left the town and drove along a quiet, badly lit road. This time as I glanced into the mirror, the girl was hitching up her skirt and climbing onto the lads lap, who now had his jeans around his ankles but was still seated. She fumbled with her pants, trying to pull them to one side whilst facing frontward on his knee. This was not a sight I was used to, or one that I found particularly attractive. It was more like an awkward mating scene on a veterinary programme than a saucy sex scene of a film, and I couldn't help but imagine a farmer between the two, trying to guide the stud home. I could even hear the imaginary commentary as I looked on... 'Come on girl, ease up, ease up, whoooah, in you go.'
Anyway I looked away again, still not believing that they were being so blatant about the whole thing. But once more I found myself peeping into the mirror like a small child playing peek-a-boo. As I did, I could see her writhing on his lap. I couldn't see him as he was totally obscured by her as she bounced on top of him. I turned back to keep my eyes on the road ahead, but I couldn't help myself, I had to have yet another look. The sensation I got was one of total disbelief coupled with a slight adrenaline rush as I watched them. You know the feeling you get for a split second when you nearly crash the car, or that rush as a child whilst hiding from someone when you knew they were right next to you and you were going to jump out and give them the fright of their lives. Well that was the feeling I had. Consequently I began nervously giggling to myself whilst taking the odd glance at them in the mirror.
We continued along the road, with me trying to drive but being constantly reminded of the goings on by the continuous bumping and bouncing that caught my eye in the rear view mirror. At one point I looked at the girl's face, and I could see her tongue hanging out as she wobbled atop her heaving partner, and I remember thinking she looked like one of the 'Banana Splits'.
All manner of stupid and far fetched things were going through my mind, when all of a sudden the whole of the cab lit up. It seemed that in her excitement, the girl had knocked light switch on the door frame and this resulted in the illumination of the whole show. I automatically looked into the reflection to see her reaction, only to see Fleagle glaring right back at me through the mirror, staring me square in the face with a look of sheer devilment in her eye as her big red tongue bobbed in and out of her mouth while she humped her way home. I turned away again, but the light was still on and she was making no attempt to turn it off. Her actions were now making me feel very embarrassed and awkward as hell, and I began to fumble around with the heaters and every other switch and button in the cab. This resulted in the blowers gushing hot and cold air, and various fog lights and indicators going on and off, and even a small blow on the horn. During this feverish pressing of the buttons I knocked the rear light off via the front compartment switch, which made me feel a lot more at ease, but as I continued to fumble around I automatically picked up one of the many cassettes that I keep in the cab and slammed it into the stereo.
The stereo was the type that comes on automatically when you insert a cassette, and I hadn't had the radio on since the night before when I had blasted some music on the way home, so as soon as the tape started running it came blasting out of the speakers like a clap of thunder. One of the tapes I used keep in the cab to entertain my young children, was the soundtrack from 'The Jungle Book', so no sooner had I inserted the damn tape, when out boomed 'Colonel Hathi's March'.
"Keep it up, two, three, four. Keep it up, two, three, four, in a military style, in a military..."
I cursed the bloody tape and ejected it straight away before popping another one marked 'Bowie-Mixed' into the machine. As fate would have it, the tape started halfway through a db track that had rather befitting lyrics for that particular moment.
'I am a deejay, I am what I play, can't turn around no, can't turn around no, ooo!'
I did not look into the mirror anymore until I pulled up at their destination, midway through 'Space Oddity'.
The young lad was obviously as embarrassed as I was about the whole thing. He opened the door and climbed out without saying a word and I could see him in the wing mirror standing near the rear of the cab lighting a couple of rather bent and shaky, post-coital cigarettes.
The girl followed him out of the cab, adjusting her clothing as she stood at the passenger window. I pulled the window down to speak to her but I couldn't look her in the eye. The funny thing was it was me who was feeling all flustered and abashed about the goings on. The girl was completely relaxed and open about the entire episode and she handed a twenty-pound note through the window to me. I looked up at the meter, which was showing eight pounds twenty and I was fumbling around for the change in my bag when she said:
"Nice music. Keep the change."
"Thanks." I mumbled, smirking on the inside but still not having the courage to look at her.
She turned and wondered off to link the arm of her partner. And as the final, drifting close of 'Space Oddity' rang in my ears, I could see them in the wing mirror, like two astronauts slowly waddling off into the night, beneath two umbilical lines of blue smoke connecting them to the smoggy placenta of the sky above. Suddenly Colonel Hathi's March seemed very appropriate.
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