XXIX. RENT A COP
BY THE MINUTE OR BUY THE HOUR
HPD IS VERY CUSTOMER-FRIENDLY
Tad The Cabbie Wheels & Deals
(Part Twenty-Nine; Part One is HERE.)
Kris stood quietly fretting. His taxi was missing, possibly stolen by his wife of just a few hours, Holly the Ho. The cops who responded to his report of the theft had arrested him on an old traffic warrant. He didn't have the money for it, nor for bail, so he would likely rot in jail for a while. When he got out, he would have no cab, no job, and no apartment, since he owed money to his landlord and the cab owner which he did not have, and now he would have no way to earn any money. He was well and truly screwed. In one shot, Holly had made him carless, jobless and homeless. The modern American trifecta of doom & gloom.
The nasty little police lieutenant was waiting on a return call from Holly's Dad, HPD Captain Cooke. If he showed up and Holly came back, he might arrest, rape or kill her. Calling the cops had not been such a good idea. But Holly was gone without a word, and Kris was on the hook for the car, so he had to do something. He should have known it would work out like this, with these pr*ck cops. He looked miserably over at his fellow cabbie, Tad. Tad shrugged his shoulders.
"Lieutenant?" Tad began.
"Wot?" the little pr*ck responded, turning on Tad.
"Is there any way we could just pay my friend's fine, or bail or whatever, without having to go downtown?"
"You know, like, some kind of express processing, like we pay HPD and skip all da kine paperwork?"
"Oh, I don't know. Gonna be maybe $500. You get?"
"I just have to go to a cash machine. There's one around the corner."
"OK, we can do 'express processing,' if you get cash," the little pr*ck cop said, licking his lips.
"Yeah, sure. I'll be right back. That OK, with you, Kris? You gotta pay me back, though," Tad tapped his finger on Kris's forehead.
"OK, yeah, sure. Might take me a little while, though..." Kris hesitated.
"--Thirty days, no more, OK? No excuses, yeah?"
"OK, OK, yeah, absolutely. Thanks, Tad."
Tad trotted around the corner to one of the ubiquitous Zyx turista convenience stores, and hit the cash machine. He came back waving the cash.
"Eh, put dat away! A'right, back to your patrols, officers. I got dis one," the tiny lieutenant ordered. When the other cops had gone, he snapped his fingers at Tad for the money. Tad handed it over and the cop shoved it in his pocket without counting it. He unlocked Kris's handcuffs and pushed him away. "No make trouble. I got your numbah, scumbag. I see you again, you going jail, yeah?"
"Can I get a receipt, officer?" Tad enquired.
"Eh, you like go jail for attempted bribery, you fahkkah? No ac' stupid, brah."
"Right. OK. Just asking. Mahalos."
The litle pr*ck laughed nastily, got in his muscle car and drove away with Tad's five hundred dollars.
"Shit," Kris groaned.
"Yeah. $500 by the end of January, Kris. No bullsh*t."
"You got it. Thanks, man."
"I gotta get back to work. This sh*t cost me, even before the bribe. We're all square on favors, now, man. No more. The end."
"Right. No, I appreciate it. We're totally even, for good."
"Yeah. See ya."
Tad got in his cab and drove off. Kris stood there in his driveway for a while, not sure what to do. Finally, he went upstairs. He couldn't work or go anyplace without his cab. He might as well wait for Holly, in case she returned. Or maybe the cops would find his cab, and bring it back here. Not much chance of that, but what the Hell else could he do? He noticed the aliens' I-phone laying on the kitchen counter. He turned it on and played with it for a bit. He wondered if it was activated. Maybe he could call Holly. But he didn't know the number. He tried saying her name into the phone. It began dialing. It rang three times, and then went to voice mail. He left her a message warning her that the cops were looking for the cab. He asked her to please call and let him know what was going on; or just bring the cab back to the apartment. He told her to just say his name into the phone, and it would dial him. Then he hung up. What else could he do? The walls were closing in on him.
The looming possibilities made him feel frantic. He found one last beer in the fridge and cracked it open. He might as well go to sleep, but one beer wasn't going to stop his mind from racing. He opened up one of his storage boxes in the living room and rooted around till he found his pills. He'd stopped taking all of them, but a tranquilizer would go down good right now. He swigged down three with the beer, and went into the bedroom, closing the door behind him. He laid down on the mattress, smelling Holly in the sheets. The pills began to kick in, and he dropped off to sleep. It would be really hard waking up, but that was tomorrow's problem.
[PART THIRTY TOMORROW copyright 2008 Cosa Nostradamus.]
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