Blogs by Ronald Dondiego
The Moonlight Taxi Dialogues
3/5/2006 11:31:41 AM
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I still think of him ....
I still think of him, although it's been years since I've seen him. He use to beg for change on the intersection of Broadway and Canal street in Manhattan. He was healthy looking for a derelict, and not too badly dressed for a begger. In other words, he was clean. His hair was long and he had and a distinguished bushy beard. He could have been a guru if not for the fact that he was American. I always handed him a dollar, for which he was grateful. And he would thank me profusely each and every time I handed it to him, saying "Thankyou so much. You always help me." I don't know why I always gave him a dollar, because back then in the early 90's the city was overflowing with bums, beggers, derelicts, and windshield wiper guys. The most you could give them was 25 cents, if that much.
Actually, one night I walked past him when I was off duty. He recognized me right away, and started to talk to me as if I was one of his best friends and benefactors in the whole world. I'm not certain, but I might have been.
That night he confessed his story to me... It was harrowing to say the least. It seems that he himself was once a taxi driver. But then one fatal night he was held up. But not just held up, he was terrorfied and held captive for hours by the perpetrators of the crime against him.
Like me, he worked the night shift. He picked up a couple that were on a crack run. I'm not sure, but somehow the man got a gun to his temple and ordered him to drive here and there... He was desperate and sweating and his girlfriend kept saying, "Why not kill the Motherf___ker and get it over with."
"Hush up, bitch... I'll kill him when I'm good and ready," shouted the man.
My poor friend pissed and shit himself that night. So great was his fear. Eventually, they made him get out of the cab and roll over on his belly on a deserted street in the Bronx, somewhere near Webster Avenue. He cried and pleaded for his life. The gun toteing perpetrator just smashed him on the back of the head repeatedly with the handle of his 38 caliber revolver. Then, when he was sure that my friend was unconscious and posed no threat, he kicked him in the ribs and drove away in his taxi.
"Wow," I said to my friend. "That's some story."
A few months later I ran into him again. He was happy. It seems that a well known portrait artist had painted him for fifty bucks. Cheap considering that he had once painted President Bush, the first one that is. He told me the painting was in the window of a prestigious Park Avenue gallery. I drove by there one night to check out the story, and sure enough there was the most elegant portrait of my friend displayed in the window. He was smoking a pipe and looked quite distinguished.
Then I realized all of a sudden that he was not a bum, he was never a bum. He was a professor... Perhaps disgraced, perhaps burnt out. The city has a way of driving certain sensitive souls right into the ground.
I never really found out what happened to him; I lost touch with him, and the flop house on the Bowery where he rented a room for ten bucks a night is gone now, replaced by a condo, or possibly a coop. But still I think of him once in awhile, and I wonder and I pray that maybe he's alright and teaching literature in an ivy league college, somewhere in southern California where it's warm and the people are friendly.
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More Blogs by Ronald Dondiego
A Novel Told Backwards? - Sunday, August 04, 2013
The Moonlight Taxi Dialogues - Friday, March 10, 2006
The Moonlight Taxi Dialogues - Sunday, March 05, 2006
A Taxi Cab Vignette - Saturday, February 25, 2006
Taxi Cab Confessions: New York, New York - Saturday, February 18, 2006
Taxi Cab Confessions: New York, New York - Saturday, December 31, 2005
Taxi Cab Confessions - Saturday, December 24, 2005
Taxi Cab Confessions - Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Taxi Cab Confessions: New York City - Friday, November 25, 2005
Taxi Driver - Thursday, November 24, 2005
Taxi Cab Confessions: New York City - Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Taxi Cab Confessions: New York City - Friday, November 18, 2005
New York Hack - Sunday, November 13, 2005
Confessions Of A Taxi Driver - Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Taxi Cab Confessions: New York City - Sunday, November 06, 2005
Old Flames - Sunday, October 23, 2005
Taxi Cab Confessions: New York City - Saturday, October 22, 2005
Taxi Cab Confessions: New York City - Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Taxi Cab Confessions: New York City - Thursday, October 13, 2005
Taxi Cab Confessions: New York City - Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Taxi Cab Confessions: New York City - Thursday, August 04, 2005
Must I Die? - Saturday, July 30, 2005
Taxi Cab Confessions: New York City - Saturday, July 23, 2005
Prayer - Saturday, May 28, 2005
Taxi Cab Confessions: New York City - Saturday, May 21, 2005
Confessions Of A Taxi Driver - Sunday, May 15, 2005
Depression - Sunday, April 24, 2005
The New Yorker - Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Life - Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Stress - Sunday, April 10, 2005
Truth - Thursday, April 07, 2005
Friendship - Sunday, April 03, 2005
Windows Of The Soul - Saturday, March 12, 2005
Self Published - Wednesday, March 02, 2005
The Art Of Life - Saturday, February 19, 2005
Bubbles - Saturday, February 05, 2005
Relationships - Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Enlightenment - Tuesday, February 01, 2005
Poetry - Sunday, December 12, 2004
Taxi Blogs - Sunday, December 05, 2004
A Taxi Driver's Philosophical Reflections on Life - Thursday, November 04, 2004