At what point do you say Stop the taxi and let me out! ? If the driver’s really crazy, how might he react to that? Do you dare antagonize him?
This I wonder—trapped in a taxi going 60 miles an hour. Bob and I are sharing a taxi van with a couple of acquaintances and a lot of luggage. Getting in, Bob and I buckle our seatbelt, as we always do. I turn back to our friends and say Hey, seatbelts. They both shrug. They don’t bother.
The taxi merges onto a highway and we’re going full speed. We four passengers are talking shop, past times, future plans, as friends do. Something one of us says catches the driver’s attention. What, exactly, we don’t know. Maybe it was something he imagined. He starts talking to us in an everyday, rational tone. Slowly, we realize that he’s talking about aliens:
I saw them from my parents’ roof in 1969 and they waved to me. They were saying We’ve scanned you and we know you’re okay. Yeah, we’re being watched by aliens so we don’t destroy the planet. The aliens are watching us. They’ve changed the codes on the missile launchers to avert disaster, and they’ve changed all the weather patterns, too. I saw a tornado going sideways. The funnel wasn’t up and down, it was sideways.
We’d like to think our driver is just kidding around, but his face in the mirror is flat. He never looks to us for a reaction. Without taking a breath, he segues to devil-worshippers:
I see them at the airport. There was this guy at the airport who spins his head all the way around. He followed me and I turned around suddenly and saw him. That depressed him. He was thinking, Why did you do that? You weren’t supposed to turn around and see me. But really he was god, who wanted me to see him, and he’s ugly—the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen.
I had to ask the driver: “You mean god hangs out at the airport?”
“Why the Vancouver airport?”
“Because of the energy. They pick up the students. The students have so much energy, it shoots out in a spear 30 feet high and they can see it. That’s what they want, energy. It’s like food for them.”
I guess he’s talking about the devil-worshippers again.
“Anyway, then I started losing my hearing and when it got really bad I went to the doctor who said it was a fungus in my ear. See?”
The lunatic taxi driver turns his head to the side so we get a view of his ear, taking his eyes off the road. Behind me, I hear two seatbelts. Click! Click! Otherwise, stunned silence from all of us passengers. We dared not even look at one another.
“And just last week I was in a Starbucks, upstairs, and I was looking down. I saw a man with black eyes, no whites. Then he went out and came back with sunglasses on. He didn’t want me to see his eyes.”
We made it to the airport. I thought I should call the taxi company and report this incident. I didn’t, but I’m sure I should have. What could this lunatic taxi driver be capable of? Has he done something terrible since that ride? Who might I have saved by reporting him?
Or would I have appeared to be the crazy one?
Do you believe me?