checkered cab

13 Jul

we walked through fantastic neighborhoods nestled within parks within the city and made up stories about residents living inside the mansions guarded by wrought iron fences and miniature draw bridges and looked over by dogs. he told me about the bearded lady who once rode a unicycle for the circus but fell off and broke her ankle which fused obtusely and hindered her from ever working again, so she retreated to her parlour with her 55 cats and ate ice cream all day long. i wondered if she ever brushed her teeth and he said no she had no teeth.
because of the ice cream?
no, because they were made of gold and she pulled them out one by one and sold them.
there was a strike city-wide and garbage was being collected and held within tennis courts and other cordoned-off public spaces, but somehow the city didn’t smell and certainly the neighborhoods through which we walked didn’t smell. it’s as if rich people didn’t produce garbage.
what are you laughing at out of the blue like that he asked.
something i thought of sounded funny in my head.
and he began again with the stories. and i began again with mine.
hey you know what.
and i didn’t but he knew and he told more, piled it all on top of a steady foundation which grew with every step we took.
don’t talk so loud he said.
why.
because someone might hear us.
they won’t know what we’re talking about i said.
maybe they’re the ones who live in these places.
maybe.
and then what.
then nothing. then maybe they’ll just go inside and feed their dogs and go to bed.
see this man coming at you.
yes.
he used to be a famous golfer but something happened to his back and cannot swing the club anymore so now he walks and walks and walks and thinks about striking little white golf balls…
to where.
to nowhere he’s lost.
just walks.
just.
walks.
just.
then
a checkered cab, one of those old ones you used to find in nEW yOrK city pulled out into the main road and revved up its engine and i told him a story about a man who drove one of those taxis in manHATtan for thirty years before he ran out of money and packed all his belongings and went back to his own country where he lived in a two-room flat with his mother who forgot who he was and every morning asked his name while he made her tea and toast.
and jelly.
and jelly.
what’s a checkered cab, he asked.
that thing.

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