Bad taxi fare

‘I’m stopping the car now. Could you please help, your friend is nearly strangling me.’

I was 22, driving a St James taxi to pay for uni. It was about midnight and I had picked up a man and a woman outside a nightclub in Hindley Street. She was alternating between singing and abusing him for making her come home early. ‘Who the fuck do you think you are? You’re not my father you know. I’m drunk and I fucking love it. The party was just getting started.’

Then singing ‘And then I’m not, not, not responsible, Oh no, I’m not, not, not responsible, I can’t answer for the things I do. So fuck you’

Brief silence, then I hear ‘And fuck you too, you bearded cunt.’ Obviously meaning me. I really should have stayed quiet, never argue with a drunk, but the man was silent, no help there, so I said ‘Let’s make sure we all get home safely tonight.’ Condescending wanker. It was a very poor choice of words in the circumstances.

‘Make sure? Make sure? Who said that was your job cunt? You’re worse than he is.’ Then she lunged from the back seat and tried to throttle me. There wasn’t a lot of traffic, but I was passing a bus at that moment, and she was pulling my head back so that I could hardly see in front.

I slowed down, moved over behind the bus, banging into the kerb as I came to a stop. The man didn’t do anything, she was still throttling me, so I pulled her hands off by myself, with some difficulty. Then she went for me again, coming over the back of the seat to have another go.

Finally, he acted, and slapped her hard, full on across the face. She said ‘Ow, fuck’, and slumped back, whimpering, into her seat. I asked, with a croaky and wobbly voice, where he wanted me to drop them off. ‘Right here mate. She needs to walk this off. How much do I owe you?’ He paid–no tip for my troubles—I remember thinking ‘Stingy bastard’. She slammed her door violently as she went off with him, starting to yell again.

At least she hadn’t thrown up. They were the worst ones.

Then I started looking for another fare.

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