Redbeard the One-eyed Pirate Cab Driver
I never get motion sickness. Never. Yesterday I came closer than I ever have.
We hailed a taxi to take us back to Madison Square Garden from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. When we got in the taxi and told the driver our destination I noticed that he had an eye patch. The taxi ride to the museum had been scary enough, so I wondered how this guy would do considering he had no depth perception.
As soon as we closed the door he slammed on the gas pedal, sending our heads into the seat behind us. He weaved in and out traffic and plowed through a gaggle of pedestrians to make a right-hand turn on a crowded road. No sooner than we entered the street a woman decided she wanted to double park her car in the one lane that was left open for traffic. Redbeard, our one-eyed pirate cab driver, opened his door and yelled, "Hey, lady! I gotta get through!"
Redbeard's parrot squawked from the front seat, "Rawk! Gotta get through!"
The elderly woman yelled back, "What? Can't you get through there? A van just did a minute ago." My husband and I looked at each other like yeah right. A bicycle couldn't fit through that tiny spot.
The woman got in her car and inched it forward until Redbeard had just enough room to squeeze between her car and the car parked on his other side. He slammed on his gas pedal and we were off.
I guess in New York those little white lines that are painted on the road to designate lanes mean nothing. Redbeard ignored the lanes and squeezed through traffic wherever he could fit. At one point, I kid you not, he dodged pedestrians when he drove up on the sidewalk to get around a bus.
As soon as he was in the clear for about a hundred feet he gunned it, only to slam on his brakes the next minute to avoid cars stopped in the middle of the road or fearless pedestrians who had no qualms about jumping out in front of traffic. Throughout the whole ride I had visions of faces smashed up against the windshield and Joe and I being detained in the city to serve as witnesses against Redbeard and his erratic driving.
I guess Redbeard's plan was to avoid the traffic. So what did he do? He drove through the middle of freaking Times Square. Pedestrians leapt out of the way as Redbeard's peg leg floored it. "Why don't you drive slower!" someone yelled as he jumped out of the yellow taxi's way and did a front flip onto the sidewalk. "Bleep you!" yelled Redbeard.
By this point, I was ready to tell Redbeard to just let us out there. I felt my lunch rising and I didn't think the giant piece of pizza would taste as good the second time. But I was afraid if I did say anything he'd make me walk the plank or something and I couldn't let that happen. I clutched my stomach and willed the food back down until finally our journey ended when the cab stopped in the middle of the four-lane road in front of Madison Square Garden. I hopped out of that taxi faster than I thought possible and wished Redbeard happy pirating. I shook the hand of the unknowing woman who hopped in the cab after us and wished her luck.
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