For three years I’ve been driving my taxi and I do a damn fine job. My cab’s clean. Tuned up. I don’t mix in other people’s business. Just tell me where you’re going and I’ll get you there. If I wanted to, though, I could show off my instincts. I can tell a devil from an angel. I can tell a cheater from a queer and I can tell whether their wives know.
When opera man and his pudgy wife got out of my taxi without even a nod in my direction, tossing bills at me like I didn’t have eyes to look into, I couldn’t help myself but back into their kneecaps with my fender. I couldn’t help but do it again when I heard her scream, “My legs!”
I’d say it happened faster than I could stop myself but that wouldn’t be the truth. I knew what I was doing and I enjoyed it. It felt right. I liked hearing her scream, feeling people banging on the car like they could stop me.
There was a torn dress and some broken bones. I didn’t kill them. I was entitled to roll some Bull Durham after the fact. I can smoke and explain myself at the same time. Damned if that police officer didn’t whip the cigarette out of my hands, though, and cuff me before I had a moment to speak up.
Even an honest man gets pushed too far and it ain’t his fault or the fault of his mother. There’s always someone doing the pushing – they’re the ones to blame. I never should’ve looked around at the crowd when the cops pushed me into the black and white. Ladies holding their fat hands up to their mouths, Marshall Fields bags hitting their chests. Mothers shielding their kids’ eyes so they wouldn’t see my face. I wish I hadn’t looked because it makes me wonder if I am what everyone thinks I am.
I want to die where nobody can see me. In the woods with a bullet in my brain. Wouldn’t that be o-kay? Wouldn’t that be the goddamn truth? Ned “Junior Mint” Diamond, he’s a drop-kicked baby, an imbecile. Everybody laughs when they see me but nobody shakes my hand because they might catch a whiff of me and wouldn’t they regret that? Wouldn’t they regret to touch the palm of such an idiot like me?