Note: This is my all time favorite story from one of my books; HOLLYWOOD TAXI True Confessions of a kiss and tell driver.
I get a call for an apartment just off Eighth St. behind the Ambassador hotel (Where Robert Kennedy was shot) I pull up and honk the horn. Some guy signals me from the fire escape so I pull over and park.
Pretty soon a skinny little brother comes down carrying something heavy in a garment bag. He very carefully puts it in the trunk. He wants to go to Pasadena. He’s black, it’s late and it’s a long way. He looked like he could run so I asked for some money up front.
He didn’t have any. Imagine that. He did have a money order he wanted to cash. We stopped at a drug store but they wouldn’t cash it. I tell him, no dough, no go. He did have three un-circulated silver dollars encased in plastic and a little portable tape recorder with a re-chargeable battery. (This was when they first came out) I take one of the dollars and the recorder as security.
When we get to Pasadena he has me go down a dark street. I didn’t like it. Then he has me park behind another car. Across the street was a gang of young black guys. Not a good place for a lone white cab driver to be at night.
He gets out and approaches the group. One of them points to the car in front of me. He goes and gets into it. Suddenly it starts up and pulls away.
I’m wondering where the hell has he gone and how long will he be gone? If he gives me shit over the waiting time I’ll have a problem.
I’m sitting there alone thinking what kind of fool is he. I could just drive away. I look at the group. They’re smoking dope and listening to the radio. I decide to run a little test. I start the engine. There is no reaction from them. I roll the cab a little bit. Nobody notices so I just sorta’ melt away into the night.
Later I get the bag out of the trunk. It was a stereo and a tape deck. Along with the recorder and the dollar a good score. I kept the stuff and paid the fare out of my pocket.
To this day I still chuckle thinking about how his buddies must have laughed when he came back and discovered the cab gone.