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separates my empty life from chaos, the motion keeping me alive. Day after day of playing out the fucked-up implications of a normal life destination, even someone else’s, giving me a purpose to live another day.

My cab is just up the street, and when I walk back to where it’s parked, there's a guy waiting in the rain. A dark apparition carrying a beat-up old briefcase, emaciated, wearing a stained black raincoat about two sizes too big, blank eyes sunk back in his skull, totally oblivious to the shitty weather conditions. With his long hair and beard, he reminds me of one of those pathetic pictures of Jesus I used to see in Sunday school when I was a kid.

"Are you waiting for me?" I ask.

“Yeah, can we get in out of the rain?” He asks.

“ Sure thing.” I say, and press the remote device on my key ring to unlock the doors.

As soon as we're inside, I start the engine and turn on the windshield wipers. When I glance in the rearview mirror, I catch a good look at the man's face as he lights a cigarette. There's a tattoo on the back of his hand, I can’t quite make out. It looks like some kind of reptile. I usually don't allow smoking in the cab, but something about this guy makes me fore-go the rules.

When he gets the cigarette lit, he leans back in the seat, catches my eye in the mirror, and says, "Swifty, I’ve got five hundred dollars in my pocket, and it’s all yours if you’ll drive me to New York, to the Tappan Zee bridge."

Using my first name catches me by surprise; until it occurs to me he's noticed my name on the hack’s license posted on the dash. Upstate New York is about 90 miles from Kearny, but five hundred dollars is a lot of cash, and I don't mind the drive. I reach over, turn off the meter, and say, "Dude, you just bought yourself a driver."

“How long to get there?” he asks.

“In this rain, about an hour or so.”
_____

I take rt -21 North to I-95 starting to feel pretty good about heading somewhere out of the ordinary, meantime Jesus hasn't said a word. So just to break the ice, I ask where he lives in New York, and he tells me he keeps a room downtown. When I ask about family, he just sits and stares out the window.

The only other words spoken over the next fifty miles was when he leaned up and asked if I would turn down the radio.

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