Strangers

 

This part of town looks like shit…

I always expected the ECCs to want to keep their town clean but Back Bay all the way to the North End just fell apart after Marty was shot and Exxon-Rosneft took control of the city and cut funding to WM. If there’s one thing I’m happy for though, the cost of tobacco went down… $2.34 a pack at the 7/11 on Dartmouth, I figure the reasoning behind that one is the rest of us can die faster. I had parked around the corner in the alley. There’s less cameras on 439 for some weird reason & there’s a nice blind spot just before you hit the street so I’ll usually park out there for a few when I just want some quiet.

I’d just finished rolling my cigarette when I hear some slamming on my passenger window.

I can tell by this fucker’s hair and black coat just who he is, I don’t need a name, they’re all the same. I let out a sigh and roll the window down.

“Hey there buddy, you got one more lift in you tonight?”

This was fucking weird. Wasn’t 2 nights ago I split a guy like this’ eye open with my mag light on Devonshire over saying my kids belonged in a camp (I always keep a spare Artifact-Interference Balaclava and VP contact lenses under my seat). Usually they just say something like ‘Hey Kraut! I’m in a rush, step on it or I’ll file a report for insubordination.’

This guy was different. Nobody talks to street drivers like this, you usually have to be a state chauffeur to have any respect shown, but even then you’re not wearing the shit tattered clothes you can afford, the company gives you a uniform so it’s a little harder to profile an LCC.

“How about it, you willing to help me out?”

I finally snapped out of my sheer amazement this guy just didn’t act like rich trash

“Yeah, sure, where you headed?”

“Blue Hill Ave”

Ok, This is getting interesting.

“You sure about that?”

“Yeah. I am. Corner of Woolson. I’d prefer to not discuss it any further”

Not sure what this guy’s deal is, but I’m headed that way anyways and would fall short of my quota without the fare.

“Ok, hop in, I’m headed out to Roslindale anyways”

“Thanks”

-the fuck you mean thanks? Who is this dude? That’s when I saw it. The Command at Sea badge on his chest pocket flap as he was getting in the back seat. I must have missed it at first behind his jacket. I usually keep mine on so I don’t think about it much, must be why he’s being so nice. Weird having something in common with an ECC.

“You like music?”

He’s fumbling with his phone and looking around kind of frantically. It occurs to me I’ve never seen an ECC in a public alley before. I’m starting to think this guy really doesn’t fit. Finally dawns on him I asked him a question.

“What?”

“I asked if you like music”

He pulls out some weird little black box with a button on it, almost looks like one of those remotes that they used to use for TVs before the switch to VR. He pushes the button on it and I hear a buzz come from the in-car camera behind my head.

“Yeah, just no state music please.”

Clearly this guy won’t be reporting me so I’m going to press him.

“I thought that was all you guys listened to”

“Hey look, 1980’s music was great, but we’ve been listening to that same shit for over 2 decades now. I just need something else.”

I like this guy.

“Well, I guess my wife’s great uncle or something like that left behind a bunch of old music gear from the 10’s we got working again. Made this stuff with it to test it out with my kids and I’ve been listening to it on drives home. That alright?”

“You mean you made it?”

“Yeah, I made it.”

He kinda looked at me funny

“By all means, you’ve got me interested.”

I queued it up and put the cab in drive

“Don’t tell anyone you took this fare.”

He hands me a credit chip

“12k should cover it.”

Fuck quotas, I’ll take the reprimand. I don’t make that much in half a year and I’m sure as hell not about to turn it down.

I nodded to him and clocked off the meter. I get the impression we have more in common besides just a history of service.

The snow kept falling as we pulled out onto Clarendon