“Going to the airport? Good.
The taxi stand at the airport is always the best place to get big fares. There’s no veering to the curb to pick up a hail, no stress. If you’re far enough back in line, you can eat a sandwich on the clock. The fares are interested in the city, and boy, let me tell you, I get to take some real whackos downtown.
Today, I took a wizard down to the Marriott. Yep, to the very same Marriott I just picked you up from. That doorman had me wait after the wizard got out of the car. Did you see him? In the lobby? Maybe at the front desk?”
Monica blinked at the taxi driver. “I didn’t come through the hotel, I work across the street.” She could see his eyes in the rear-view mirror, looking at her. He had one blue eye and one brown eye, both shadowed by thick, bushy eyebrows. She instinctively checked his left hand for a wedding ring and was satisfied to see none there. No wife would let her husband’s eyebrows get so out of control. The man was still talking.
“… Too bad. It was something else. his guy, this guy had his costume all wrong for a wizard. His pointy had was short, see, not tall. He was dressed all in brown and grey, instead of blue and purple. You’d have noticed his props!
His props were wrong, too, you know. Sure, he had the old-fashioned steamer trunk and a big leather book with brown pages. But what the hell was a wizard doing carting around a suit of armor?
Now, around Memorial Day weekend, that’s not so unusual. Most of the GeekCon people take the commuter train down to the convention, but the ones with a lot of luggage and props, they take a cab. I don’t know what he was doing. I figured he was going to go LARPing, and had two different characters. Beats the hell out of me. He’s too old-looking for that stuff, but maybe it’s how he spends time with his grandkids or some
Where you flying to?”
“Portland,” Monica said, leaning back against the worn leather seat of the cab. She was excited about going to this conference several time zones away, but she was also terrified. Her feet already hurt in her sensible black pumps. Even her toes missed her worn Chucks. Her dad said no one would care about her cobalt-blue hair in Portland, but she didn’t want to lose a deal because of it.
She patted the pocket of her purse for her ticket confirmation number, then spotted something on the seat beside her, “Hey, did your wizard have an umbrella?”
“No, he just had the props,” the taxi driver glanced back at me in the rearview mirror. “Why, is there an umbrella back there?” Monica held up the silver-gray collapsible umbrella so he could see it in the mirror. “Weird. I just went on the clock. I would have seen it.” He shrugged. “I’m not going somewhere rainy. You need it?”
Monica checked her bags. In fact, she did. She nodded to the man, and then said, “Yeah, is it okay if I take it?”
“As far as I’m concerned, it is already yours.”