The Suspicious Profile
Pops Darby had worked the midnight shift as a taxi-driver over on Brooklyn’s Westside for the past ten years. That shift helped him pay for his daughter’s college education and kept his mother out of an assisted care living situation mandated by the State of New York.
However, the fares were few and the tips were low. It had been a miserable night, and it got worse.
Three weeks prior, a fellow cab driver was robbed and then shot in cold blood. The police discovered the body of Juan Pierre in the alley off Dr Martin Luther King Boulevard. He was a hard working immigrant from Haiti where he left his wife and seven children behind so that he could make enough money to send back for them.
Pops Darby was afraid of working the overnight shift, but he also had a second job, and he really needed the money. He pulled up when he saw a young black female flagging him down. She had to be in her early twenties, and she didn’t fit the suspicious profile.
“Where to?” Pops Darby asked.
“42 Lee Avenue, closer to the State Street side.”
Pops Darby was about to begin a conversation when he noticed the young woman sleeping. She slept like a still life, sitting straight up, her legs crossed, and a small hand purse crushed in her lap. She must have had a long night and felt safe enough to fall asleep in his cab. It really made him feel good to know that he was trusted.
A younger man quickly spills out in front of Pops Darby’s cab and lands flat on the hood. He was carrying a brown paper bag filled with empty beer cans. He stopped the cab short so no harm would come to the young man.
“Fuck, I’m trying to get home.”
He vomited across the hood of the cab, then rubbed his eyes and took a long drag on his beer. Suddenly, finally, he was exhausted. Very drunk and exhausted. Pops Darby couldn’t let him just lay there in the street. The cab driver helped the young man into the front seat so that he could ride shot-gun and sleep it off a bit.
After fifteen minutes before arriving to the young woman’s destination, the young man opened his eyes. He rolled down the window and tossed out the last few beer cans he had in the paper bag. Pops Darby wanted to stop and pick up those cans to cash them in, since he wasn’t getting a fare from the young man and he was almost certain that the woman wouldn’t tip, but he didn’t. It was simply just a thought.
Surprisingly, the young woman awakens from her slumber with a small hand gun placed against the back of Pops Darby’s head. The young woman could not correlate with any of the police department’s suspicious profile. In a perfect world, there was no way in hell this young woman could ever be a suspect.
The young man turned to her with wide eyes and stared. On the other hand, that young man was the perfect candidate and could fit the suspicious profile to the letter. The young woman turned the gun briefly toward him and shot him instantly in the neck. The young man was writhing on his litter, moaning, while trying to stop the blood that was flowing from the veins.
Pops Darby was so frightened that he just started rocking back and forth in slow repetition. He struggled to keep the thoughts of his daughter and of his sick mother out of his mind. He didn’t want to think of what might happen to them if that young woman killed him.
She demanded all the money he had on him and in the Taxi-cab’s lock box. He did as he was told and gave her 78 dollars, most of it in singles. She looked at the roll of bills and then stared briefly for a moment at the frenzied young man twitching to maintain life.
The young man made that final involuntary movement that told her that he had expired. She turned back to the cab driver and grimaced.
“I have a daughter about your age,” he trembled.
She looked down once briefly and then fired two bullets into Pops Darby’s face. She then closed her eyes and let two more go into the slumped body. She then watched the taxi-cab driver struggle to speak.
“I know, I know,” she whispered. “You have a daughter about my age.”
© 2013 Frank Atanacio
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