Lisa stepped up to the driver’s side door of what appeared to be the cab driver’s personal vehicle converted to a taxi via the logo magnet and dash-mounted fare box. Through the open window, a deep-hills Tennessee drawl asked, “Y’all need a ride?” Lisa relayed her conversation with dispatch and this guy wasn’t the car they sent but he was there now and willing to take us back to the hotel. So, he radioed the hub and let them know we’d been picked up.
Adam walked around to the passenger side front door with his pillow clutched to his chest. Being chivalrous, without a word, he was volunteering to sit up front with the driver. In mid-stride, he stopped and gave Lisa a perplexed look over the roof of the car. There in the passenger seat sat a middle-aged woman in her pajamas holding a partially unwrapped cellophane package containing what smelled like a baloney and mayo sandwich.
“Uh, are we going to fit?” Lisa asked the driver.
“Well, ma’am, three of you can ride in the back but since I got my girlfriend ridin’ shotgun to keep me from fallin’ asleep, one of you is gonna hafta wait for the next ride.”
Lisa looked at the three of us standing bleary eyed on the side of the road and shrugged. Erin, with eyes wide shook her head indicating the negative.
“We’ll find a way to fit,” Lisa said to the open window. And without waiting for a response, she opened the rear door. Like a scene from a circus film, we piled into the back of the compact sedan, pillows and all. Erin sat across Adam’s lap and the driver, clearly distressed at his extra large fair sputtered and moaned over his shoulder at us.
“Y’all are gonna have to hunker down when we pass the police car at the gate. I’m not s’posed to transport this many people.”
Erin rolled her eyes and sighed then lay down across the three of us with her pillow over her head. We finally made it past the gate and to the intersection at the highway. To our surprise, the cab driver turned right instead of left driving in the opposite direction of the hotel.
“Uh, our hotel is the other way,” Lisa called over the seat.
“ I know, I’m takin’ ya the back roads,” he replied.
Lisa turned to Adam and I and in the darkness, mouthed the words, “We Are Gonna Die.”