Tuesday, September 30

Hide and Seek.

It was a miserable midweek rainy grey late afternoon, just the sort of day when I gaze at the empty streets and speculate to myself, just where folks disappear to and just what do they get up to.
 One of the answers was revealed when I collected a flustered lady who was in a big hurry. "Where does time go" she asked "I should have been home an hour ago for the kids coming home from school." "Did you get talking?" I asked in all innocence and when she hesitated to answer I glanced in the mirror to see that she had gone a shade of beetroot red. "I was visiting my boyfriend and when I went to leave I couldn't find my jumper, I’ve only got my bra on underneath this coat." she blurted out, and then realised what she had just said. Her hand flew to her mouth and she went an even deeper shade of red. "Oh my gawd" she shrieked "you'll know what I've been doing now won't you?" Being a sophisticated man of the world I had to admit that I had a fair idea just what she had been up to. “So you lost then?” I asked, but she just looked at me blankly and going even redder replied “lost what?” “You can’t fool me” I replied “I know what you have been playing at.” The steam started to rise from her overheated face and her mouth moved but no sound come out. After leaving her to stew for a minute or two I said “Aye you’ve been playing hide and seeks with your jumper and you’re embarrassed cos you lost.

Monday, September 29

Soap Opera

Now and again one of my fares will ask me if I had watched a reality TV show or one of the soap operas the previous night. Nine times out of ten I answer "no I don't watch much telly" and the fare will look at me as if I must be criminally insane or live in some strange other universe. But the plain and simple truth is that I just don't need to watch reality TV, reality plays out each and every day on the back seats of my cab. All the real life drama, comedy and tragedy you could dream of are unveiled by passengers telling me of their sometimes chaotic lives.
 The big difference being that instead of some attention seeking, money grabbing wannabe my reality show stars are real genuine local folks. And as for soaps, well some folks will give me the latest episode of their storyline each time I pick them up, sometimes the plot will be a bit dull but with others I just can’t wait for the next thrilling installment.
Take Saturday night for instance, a five mile trip turned into a whole series of roller coaster emotions, all played out on my all knowing back seat.
 I took no part in the performance; all the scenes starred just the one young starlet and her mobile phone. The first call she received seemed normal enough at first but soon degenerated into a full blown row with what I assumed was her partner. The accusations flew back and forth and voices were raised to a shout for a few minutes and then the phone was obviously slammed down on her. She looked at the phone for a minute obviously frustrated that she couldn't finish the verbal fight and then tried redial a few times. When she got no reply she let out a piercing frustrated scream and then burst into floods of tears. After a while the phone rang and she snatched it to her ear expectantly, but no it wasn't the kiss and make up call she was expecting but someone threatening her with violence in retaliation for some punch-up that she had been involved with the previous night. She seemed frightened and pleaded with the caller that wasn't her fault and that she didn't start it, and that she “didn't want no trouble.” After she had soft soaped her way out of a bashing she hung up only for the phone to ring yet again with another caller. This time it was my fare that was straight on the attack loudly accusing the caller of “grassing her up for doin that tart over” and threatening to “kick her head in.” After delivering a filthy tirade of swearing and abuse it was my fares turn to slam the phone down.
 We reached her destination and it was time for the closing credits, but the phone rang yet again and I couldn't help but notice that she smiled in anticipation of the next thrilling episode.

Tuesday, September 23

Why Me?

I’m beginning to wonder if it's just me, or is it some sort of conspiracy that I end up with the strangest jobs. Today for example I was asked to do a cigarette run, which in itself isn't all that unusual, quite a few housebound nicotine addicts ask us to buy fags for them and then deliver them. 
But when I arrived at the house which had asked for ten coffin nails today I was greeted by a woman waving a bunch of keys out of the open window. I was thrown the keys and asked to let myself in, which I did. The ould lass grabbed her precious cancer causers and started to rip into the packaging seeming to forget that I was there. It was only after she had lit one and greedily puffed one or two deep drags of nicotine that she remembered why I was there. Whilst blowing clouds of noxious smoke toward me she announced "I ain't got any money you'll have to come back in the morning." "Great I thought robbed again” as you might guess I don't smoke, so nine fags weren't a lot of use to me, so I put it down to yet another bad experience and left. Nobody was more surprised than me when she rang the office next day and asked me to go over to be paid for the fags and fare. But when I got there and again was passed the keys out the window, as I suspected, there was a catch. She handed me a £20 note and asked me to visit the local grog shop and get her some booze. I felt like some kind of secret alcoholic as I walked out of the shop at 11 am with three cans of the strongest cheapest lager known to man.
 But the surprises didn't end there; when I handed over the loony-juice to the cantankerous granny she actually paid me in full and added a generous tip.

Sunday, September 21

Hard Life

For the last week or so I have been doing an occasional job transporting Russian sailors to and from the airport.
 The lucky ones were going home on leave from coasters carrying cargo into Barrow docks. Most are nice enough guys, but only speak as much English as I do Russian, and so the conversation is a bit limited. The one universally known word among them is "smoke," I have never known a Russian who doesn't smoke and so when I turn into the first service station on route and say the magic word it always brings on a big smile and" OK da." The replacement sailors I take to join the ships always look a bit glum and when I picked up one who spoke a fair bit of English, I learnt why.
I like a lot of folk had the false notion that these seafarers had the life of riley, seeing the world and meeting a new girl in every port. But no apparently I couldn't have been more wrong, he told me that most sign up for a six month contract and when they join the rest of the small crew on the vessel, that's it for the full six months they just never leave the ship. All of these vessels are registered under flags of convenience and so the minimum wage and health and safety rules just don't apply to these poor guys.
Since it is the first time inland in the UK for most of them I like to try and show them round our area if I get the chance. As well as many other local delights they get pointed out Dalton Wildlife Park and our spectacular Furness Abbey.
When I explained to the Russian sailor who spoke some English that the huge DDH shed was where nuclear submarines were built he pointed out that a few years back I would have been called a traitor and he would have been jailed as a spy.
On Friday night the Russian I collected from his ship was happy be going home but as it was 1: am and pitch black I wasn't able to point out our local landmarks. But as compensation I decided to drive him out of town by going past our local nightclubs and bars. As soon as we turned towards Barrow’s infamous Caza strip his mouth dropped open in amazement as he was confronted with the sight of hundreds of scantily clad young lasses. Two or three were lying on the pavement, legs akimbo and a few were happily vomiting the night away.
 A bit further up the street police struggled to break up a fight and the back doors of the police van were flung open ready to transport that nights bed and breakfast guests.
The sailor could speak a little English and he asked if Barrow was a big city and what was the population. When I told him “maybe sixty thousand” he laughed and replied “da and maybe ten thousand drunks, yes”

Thursday, September 18

Sock it to em.

The town council in nearby holiday town Blackpool hired contractors to repaint the railings over the North Promenade -- but when the contractors reached a dirty old sock tied to the railing, they simply painted it. Contractors sprucing up North Promenade took the astonishing short cut when they came across the abandoned sock tied to a railing.
Passerby Andrew Purcell, 22, from Leyland who is working in the area, said: "I think painting round a sock instead of just removing it could quite possibly be the laziest thing I've ever seen.
"It does look quite funny tied there, but I suppose it must be annoying for the council if they are trying to improve the look of Blackpool."

Yaeh sock it to em Blackpool!

Tuesday, September 16

How Very True

How true to life is this cartoon Eh?

Parting Gift

Sunday morning and my disheveled looking fare come out of a town centre house with a smirk on his face. "Heck she was ugly, but I was drunk" he said as he checked himself out in the mirror. "Well I guess that we all make mistakes" I replied. "Yes but she was lucky to get me, I bet I'm the best looking guy she has ever had" he crowed.
 He was going the few miles to neighboring Askam and by the time we had got a mile up the road I was beginning to tire of his constant put down of his last nights conquest and his over the top conceit. As we passed Furness General Hospital a truly evil plan entered my head. Scratching my head and looking deep in thought I muttered "I know that house I picked you up from, I've picked up there a few times." He paused from studying his reflection and slowly took the bait "Oh yes where did you take her then" he asked trying not to appear too interested. I rubbed my chin as if deep in thought and after a long pause announced "That's it! I know she went to the Birchwood clinic"
 We drove on in silence for a mile or two as he thought about it and then he asked "so where is the Birchwood clinic then." "It's in the hospital grounds" I told him and then put on my best worried looking expression. It was just before we pulled up outside his house that he finally found the courage to croakily ask “what do they do at the Birchwood clinic then?"
 I paused for effect and then solemnly told him "it's the new sexual health clinic" and then slyly watched as he thought about it and then slowly made the implied connection. He left the cab looking deep in thought, with his hands thrust deep in his pockets as if checking on something.

Monday, September 15

The Closet Chav

Saturday night was a full moon which brought all the usual strange characters out in abundance one job consisted of two young couples off out for a nights moon bathing in the town. On the way into town they stopped at a supermarket cash machine to top up with money for the no doubt expensive night ahead. As the two lads waited in the queue for the busy cash dispenser the two lasses were having a strange conversation concerning one of the lads. The slightly bizarre conversation went like this:
Lass1 "so do you really think that he is one of them then?”
Lass2 "Well when we went down to Manchester shopping he kept looking in the window of that kind of shop, but I wouldn't let him go in.”
Lass1 "Oh that's awful but what else makes you suspicious"
Lass2 “Well I found some items of that kind of clothing hidden in his wardrobe, which I think he used to wear before he met me."
Lass1 "Maybe it was just a phase he was going through when he was younger; he might not be like that now."
Lass2 "No I really do think he is one of them, he tries to hide it but I've seen him waving and talking to them when he thinks I'm not looking."
Lass1 "Oh I'm so sorry for you, what will you do?"
Lass2 "Nothing yet but the first time I catch him tucking his pants in his socks that's it, I'm finished with the closet chav!"

Wednesday, September 10

Teen Racers

After watching yet another near pile-up involving one our local teen racers today, I really do think it's time for a rethink.
 Nowadays you just can't deny the fact that the roads are far busier and much more dangerous than ever before. In most cases seventeen is too young of an age to be let loose with a loaded weapon like a souped up car. Modern cars are much faster and more powerful than at any time ever before and I for one think that they shouldn't be used as kids toys.
 Far too many kiddie winkles are tearing around the town like lunatics in high performance cars foolishly financed by credit happy parents hoping to keep up with the Joneses.
 The depressing annual death toll can only be reduced by changing the law to reflect the clear fact that teenagers are far more likely to die in a car accident than any other way.
 In my opinion teens should be limited to unmodified restricted performance cars. And since most fatal teen accidents tend to happen at night and involve cars carrying more than three passengers lets change the law to restrict teens to carrying only one passenger after 9pm.

Tuesday, September 9

The Trouble-shooter

We tend to think of Texan oilmen as Stetson and cowboy boot wearing big loud brawny guys, but the trouble-shooter from Houston that I collected from a local hotel was just the opposite. He was of Chinese stock conservatively dressed, quiet, refined and well spoken.
 He was telling me that he was over to help sort out the much troubled Rivers gas plant at our vast Rampside Gas Terminal. The multi million pound project was completed three years ago but has not ever been able to start production. This has cost the staggering sum of three million dollars a day in lost production.
 Our diminutive Texan beamed as he proudly told me that his team had finished sorting out all the problems the previous day and that at long last the plant was finally in production. But as we drove past the helipad towards the gas plant his smile quickly faded. He pointed at part of the plant and explained to me that there should have been a gas flare burning when the plant is working. "Shucks I guess that they've gone and broke the darn thing again" he said shaking his head and adding a few more million dollars to the losses.

Monday, September 8

The Charmer

Early on Sunday morning and one of my first fares was a young lass who looked like she had been fighting for ten rounds in the boxing ring. If you don't ask any questions you don't get any answers. And so I asked "what happened to your face then?" "I got **!!## bottled" was the less than ladylike reply before she loudly burped, filling the cab with the smell of stale beer and last nights kebab. "I got thrown out just cos I bottled the other lass back, but it's OK cos the fat cow ended up in the hospital" She then started describing the vast quantity of booze she had managed to knock back before reaching oblivion and then waking up in some strangers flea pit.
 I was thankful that it was only a short drive between the two much less than respectable houses that she was travelling between. She handed over a crumpled dirty note for the fare with a tattooed grubby hand. What a charmer eh? But when I checked the back seats I found that she had kindly left a snotty tissue, a well chewed wad of gum and a half smoked spliff behind in lieu of a tip.

Wednesday, September 3

Mrs Moneyprice.

One particular fare that I pick up now and again always drives me to distraction, I call her Mrs Moneyprice. 
Her voice is akin to the dentists drill and she doesn't pause to draw breath from the minute she gets in until the merciful moment she gets out again. Without any explanation or preamble she will start to list exactly what she has bought and is going to splash out on that week.
 Every item is then given its price tag right down to the exact penny, and comments added like "it was the dearest they had” or "I don't do cheap you know." A week or two back she even went into great detail about her new super pricey designer underwear which she then went on to say "was a waste of money because she wouldn't wear it." This was far too much information for a shy sensitive soul like me and I very nearly blushed, but thankfully she quickly moved on to the price of her new designer handbag.
 By the time we reached her house the figures must have racked up to many thousands and my poor head was spinning. As she got out of the cab, even though I had not gotten a word in edgeways she said “Thanks for the chat" but before I could let out a sigh of relief she leaned back in the car and started pointing at her garden and telling me the price of every plant and adornment in sight.

Bait Car

A Canadian meth addict steals a bait car which has cctv installed. Wow I wonder if the guy is crazy to start with or is it the meth that makes folk that aggressive. I sure wouldn't like to pick him up as a fare.

Make Up

The best way to attract a man is with your eyes. That's why it's so important to have your eye makeup perfectly applied. If it weren't for the excellent application of proper eye makeup, this young lady probably wouldn't get a second look from most men...
Then again, I could be wrong....

I’ve lost count of the lasses and ladies who have gotten into the front passenger seat of the cab and immediately pulled the sun visor down and looked critically at themselves in the vanity mirror. But then despite having already spent hours painting and powdering at home they find fault and decide to try to apply extra paint and filler whilst on the taxi journey. But some wicked little voice in my head always seems to nag at me to plan the route to include every speed hump and pothole in town.
 Then I am drawn by some strange magnetic force into hitting every manhole cover and drain and my brakes and throttle seem to take on a life of their own, braking and accelerating just as the delicate final touches of makeup are applied.
 So if a lass walks into your party or pub with eyes looking like a panda or lips looking like the Joker from Batman she may just have gotten out of my taxi.

Tuesday, September 2

Ticket Blitz

Barrows traffic wardens, whoops sorry mustn't call them that now; they tell me that they are now known as civil enforcement officers started September with a Monday morning ticket blitz. 
The many cars left for weeks at a time with for sale signs on display, that have been parked on Barrow's Roose Rd and Abbey Rd were all ticketed in one early morning swoop. What a bonanza that must have been for the town hall bank balance, maybe we will all get a rate reduction now eh?
 But the long overdue crackdown seems to have worked on the towns would be Arthur Daley’s because on Tuesday morning not a single dodgy car for sale could be found on the streets of Barrow.
Maybe we could get the towns roving civil enforcement officers to check on the ever increasing hordes of traffic lights we now have here in Barrow. For weeks at a time several sets of lights have had faults with bulbs broken or blown leaving some with only one lonely green light left. Perhaps the county council in the far north has decided that they could save some cash by unadopting some of Barrow’s roads.
 They have made a start by tarring over Schneider roads pedestrian crossings and road markings why not just let the towns traffic lights go out one by one and save a few bob on the electric as well eh? Or is it that we have had so many traffic lights installed here lately that the worlds supply of bulbs has been exhausted.