Another fare, another dollar. I gotta find a new job Simeon thought as he pulled his cab back into traffic.
It was raining, the night lights reflecting off the wet pavement. Most the city folk who were awake were happily ensconced in their warm houses, or the local bars. The rest were wondering what they’d done to deserve yet another night of lousy weather. Or at least so he supposed. He knew he was, even though rain meant more business.
He cruised down the avenue towards the nearest hotel, keeping an eye open for anyone who might need him while ignoring the dispatcher. It was after all fifty-fifty that a potential fare who’d called in would either cancel, or grab another cab going by before he could get to the location.
As he passed an upscale restaurant he saw a slender, blond-haired man standing under the awning. When the man frantically waved his hand, Simeon pulled over to the curb and the man jumped in, slamming the door behind him then dropping the well-worn black bag he was carrying onto the floor.
Simeon shook his head, asking, “Where to?” When his passenger gave him an address in the seedier part of the city Simeon wondered why a well-dressed man would want to go there. Not that it’s any of my business he figured as he took off.
“Mind switching stations, umm…" the man had leaned forward to look at Simeon’s hack license, "Simeon?”
“Depends what you want me to switch to. I don’t like the kid’s crap so you have your choice of NPR, jazz, classical… Well I guess not classical since it’s what’s on.”
The man must have seen Simeon shudder before he switched stations because he chuckled. “Come on, some of it’s not that bad.”
“If you say so.” Simeon slowed at a stop sign before turning left and for a few minutes the only sound in the cab was the music. Then he frowned, certain he’d seen the same car behind them a couple of blocks back when he’d checked the side view mirror before changing lanes. Not that it was unusual, but something still bothered him. It took him a moment to figure it out. If he was right, the car had been parked across the street from the restaurant when the man had flagged him down.
Glancing in the rearview mirror he saw his passenger nod, his fingers to one ear under his shaggy hair. A second later the man said something in reply to what Simeon could only figure was a phone call, his words so low they were indistinguishable over the sound of the music.
Deciding to err on the side of caution, Simeon took the next right, and then two blocks later a left. He continued on until he saw a light up ahead about to change, stepped on the gas, and flew through it just as it turned red. Slowing down he saw the car, which had indeed been following them, slam to a stop to avoid hitting another car going through the intersection. Simeon took advantage of that to swing a left at the next corner and from there made another turn into an alley.