‘Travis Bickle’s Feminine Side.’
A few months ago I’m out with whoever, can’t remember exactly, I just know I was proper smashed to the bash!
I’m stumbling along down the street when I flag down this taxi coming my way. I climb in the front passenger seat, garble some noise, flail my hands randomly in an attempt to direct this geezer to my house and settle back into my heinous, alcoholic vapour as we pootle off toward home.
The driver was talking maybe, I don’t remember the journey, but as we stop I manage to muster enough lucidity to complete the transaction. I’m fumbling with my pockets, slack-jawed and stupefied, when the driver asks whether I like ‘NG1’. For those of you not familiar with Notts, NG1 is the biggest, gayest club in town.
‘Yeah!’ I reply, ‘it’s a fucking rad night out’ And at this point you should know that NG1 IS a good night out, it just happens to be full of big, gay, pumping muscle men. I can handle this, as I’m secure in my sexuality as a hetero male and can just enjoy the music and dance, with the ladies, or what I think are ladies. Anyway, I digress…
So I think this dude’s being sociable, just making conversation you dig? Then he puts his hand on my knee and the smile slips from my face. It takes a split second to register what’s going on but already he is trying to slide his paw down to my crotch,
“I go there every Friday and Saturday night. Would you like to come play with me some time eh?” he offers,
“Nah mate, y’alright” I hastily reply as I speedily slip from the taxi, shutting the door behind me and walking, very quickly, in the opposite direction from my house. I look over my shoulder to see him pull away from the curb, a big leering grin on his face and waving to me as he goes and I keep walking away from my house until he is firmly out of sight.
Needless to say, I am stunned. My vision may have been drastically woolly from the beer, but this geezer was old and very, very unattractive!! He smelt bad, he had bad teeth, a grotty beard and basically looked like your average manky, Asian taxi driver. Later, when I recalled his face in describing him to my mates, his putrescence filled me with such outrage I almost forgot to be pissed off about him violating my precious, precious knee. How dare he, proposition me when I am so blatantly out of his league!?
I had a hard time sleeping that night. My knee burnt with the memory of his greasy, hairy hand and I felt kind of dumb for getting myself in that situation in the first place. I also knew that I’d have to tell the guys at work about tonight’s episode, and I suspected their ears’ would be less than sympathetic; more sort of piss taking and ridiculing…
…And that’s that. As I predicted, my tale is met with hoots of ridicule at work “Weren’t you just a little bit… you know, curious?” And various other comments like that. The days’ roll on, more drunken revelry washes up on wino breath, and the story of the homo taxi driver is left a castaway on the sea of memory. Or so I thought.
When I find myself in the hallway of my home two nights ago, filled with the indescribable feeling of a ‘me or him’ situation, the weight of the eight-inch carving blade in my hand reassuring, yet at the same time terrifying as I think I may have to use it. When my dog is pulling at my side, baring her teeth and ready to rip the face off of the shadowy figure beyond my front door, I kick myself for not recognising that fucking taxi driver.
So, I’m pissed, again, reeling through the streets of Nottingham, the triple Courvoisier’s burning through the pit of my stomach, and I’m desperate for my bed. I wave down one of those cabs that aren’t allowed to pick people up on the streets and I hop in the back, not giving it a second thought.
The cab ride home is filled with the familiar banter of a pissed up punter and the weary cab driver. He’s asking where I’ve been, I’m answering in a random pattern of mumblings, esoteric musings and absolute gem’s of philosophical and political insights that I only wish I could muster when sober…
The cabbie pulls up outside my house and the fare’s $5.20, I fish the shrapnel from my jeans and realise I only have $3.90. I tell the driver not to worry: I keep all my tips in an ashtray on my desk and I’ll be right back. A moment later I rush back from my house with the correct change, and opening the passenger side door, I drop the coinage into the driver’s hand and offer the usual “cheers mate. Nice one”
The driver curiously examines the change in his hands before looking back up at me, a slight bafflement wrinkles his leathery skin,
“Not even a blowjob?” He asks. Straight away I recognise the sweaty fucker as that same taxi driver from a few months ago.
“What the fuck are you on mate?” I ask, so taken aback that this guy, has not only got the fucking balls to ask a complete stranger he’s picked up at 5 in the morning for a suck, but also to ask for it with such forthright vulgarity. It is so out of the blue, no build up, no asking if I like NG1 or anything like that. Has someone written ‘man whore’ on my forehead while I wasn’t paying attention?
“I’m gay” He says, as if I need that part explaining.
“Yeah, good for you mate.” I say “But I’m not. I’ve paid you for a ride in the back of your cab and nothing else, ok? Thanks, but no thanks. I’m flattered, honestly. Goodbye.”
“ I know your house” he says, pointing to my home.
My head starts to swim. Is he threatening me? Is he saying he’s going to come back when my family’s in or do something to my home? My family home! Is he going to keep calling on me? What!? I’m screaming at him now,
“What!? You can forget my fucking house, you cock! I don’t care if you know where I live. You’ve got your money now fuck off!” And I slam the passenger door and storm into my house.
That’s the end of it I think. Feeling, not great because it was a weird experience, but feeling strong for firmly putting that mo fo in his place this time, I get inside my house, and promptly forget all about the episode just seconds before. Anyway, there are more important matters to attend to.
My sister and dad are both away on holiday and my dog Minnie, has been on her own all night. She comes bounding down the stairs and I greet her with as much enthusiasm as she shows me. I walk with her into the kitchen to get her some treats, winding her up by calling her name over and over and patting and rustling her fur.
Everything is back to normal, I am pissed and hungry, rifling through the kitchen cupboards for some munch and my dog is wagging her whole body as well as her tail like she always does when she’s really excited. The doorbell chimes and punctures my fug.
As the walls close in around me, I realise it is around five o’clock in the morning and I’ve just greatly offended a clearly rampant homosexual who knows where I live. The chances of him not being the on ringing my doorbell door are rather slim. My dog barks and bounds towards the front door, starting me back into reality and fear, panic and a million other things swarm across me.
In every home, there is a particular implement or tool that the occupant knows, that if they are ever in trouble, if anyone ever breaks in, then this is the weapon that they’re going to reach for. That particular item for me is an eight-inch carving knife situated in a block on the kitchen counter. I dive for it, pulling it from its sheath whilst shouting at Minnie to get back into the kitchen. She scarpers back in from the hall, and I rummage for her lead in the draw, hastily clipping it to her collar and pulling up some slack from her lead. I am ready.
As I step into the hallway the doorbell chimes again. I pause, standing in the resounding silence, fixed upon the ominous silhouette behind the cloudy glass of my front door. I watch it fidget, watch it press up against the door, listening for sounds from the house. I watch it standing there waiting. My grip tightens on the blade,
“Who is it!” I shout at the door. Minnie, sensing my mood begins to bark, her heckles rising up across her back. A low gurgling growl forms in her throat and she begins to tug at the lead. The shadow silently slinks from view, away from the door,
“You better fucking answer me!” I yell, “I’ve got a Staffordshire Bull-Terrier here and a fucking blade for ya, ya cunt!” My blood is up and it feels like I’ve taken a back seat to the action. A person that I never knew I could be has taken over my body and is advancing on the door. I had never given much thought as to whether I could actually hold a knife to someone, but here I am closing in on the dangerously unknown. No other scenarios running through my head except how this is going to go down; should I use my knife on him first, or try to restrain him with my Aikido?
Close to the door now, I can see a figure through the glass. It’s stood five or so feet away, plenty of room for me to pull out my blade if needs be, I think. My left hand closes around the door knob and I keep the knife in my left hand as I slowly turn the latch, not wanting to let the ‘attacker’ see I’m tooled up until the last moment. The latch clicks free and I rip open the door at the same time letting go a few feet go from the slack of Minnie’s lead, knowing she’ll burst through the first gap in the door.
I can’t be sure of what I say as the door flies open but I see myself shouting at the taxi driver as he stumbles back from the snapping, rasping jaws of my dog. I catch sight of his face and can I see I have him on the back foot. A gleeful, macho kind of superiority courses through me, and my fear gives way to strength. ‘I have him!’ I think.
“What do you want!? What the fuck do you want?” I scream, moving forward and filling the doorframe, waiting for that fuck to just make a sound I don’t like. Minnie is barking and desperately trying to reach him with her teeth.
Tentatively, he offers his outstretched hand to me, my eye’s dart onto the angular, black object in his palm. My body tightens again and I can’t make out what it is; damn drink is blurring my vision. The taxi driver spots my vulnerability and moves in closer, his hand thrusting the object towards my face,
“You left your phone in the back of the cab” he say’s, apologetically, and immediately I see he is holding my phone.
I feel stupid, relieved, angry, a million different emotions as the adrenaline and endorphins dump from my brain and I am back to be being pissed and ashamed. No longer with the supernatural alertness of the cornered alpha male, my mumbled apology falls like wooden blocks from my drunken lips as I snatch the phone from his hand, careful to hide the knife I still grip behind the door. I accept his humble apologies and his explanation that he “is not a nasty man” he just had to make sure I got what was mine.
Fucking cock. Why not just post the fucking phone through the letterbox? He came so goddamn close to getting run through with that carving knife, I think he would have shit himself had he seen what was waiting for him behind that door. And what if I had let my dog from her lead? Minnie can jump up to my eye-level no problem, and I’m six feet two inches. Just imagine if I was knifing him in the head, his face was being rag dolled by dog, when suddenly I notice my phone in his dead hands?