#57 Walk . . . Don’t Walk

by Gordon Wallace

As if on cue, a yellow cab rocks to a halt at the curb.

The oblong of its open window frames a set of gleaming teeth.

“Ya lookin’ to go somewhere, mister?”

I shake my head. “But this guy is,” I say, nodding at the sagging figure beside me on the sidewalk. Around his feet an eclectic collection of bags have all seen better days. “He’s been travelling and is all done in,” I tell the cabbie. “Has a bed at Fortieth and Filbert, but doesn’t have the bus fare or the energy to get there.”

I reach into my pocket and pull out two five-dollar bills. Maybe today is “Be Kind To Strangers” Day. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent the afternoon downtown, discussing business finance and loan-rates. Money!

“If I give you this would you take him as far in the direction of Filbert as you can?”

The driver takes time weighing this up. Then the lid of the trunk suddenly lifts itself in the air.

“Quick, inside!” I hiss at the man “before he changes his mind.”

As he inserts himself stiffly into the rear of the cab, I grab his bags and sling them into the trunk faster than a fall on the Dow-Jones. The lid closes, the engine revs, and as I move back on to the sidewalk the cab screeches off leaving me still holding the banknotes in my outstretched hand.

Philadelphia: City of Brotherly Love.

Maybe, I think, there’s something in it after all.


Sam Knight said...

It took me a minute to realize the Cabbie was helping out, I thought the protagonist had stiffed him. Then I re-read it. I like it both ways.

Bruce Roush said...

I liked this a lot. Helps me get beyond the nightly Philly gun violence.