Our Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan have a motto they live by, and it works pretty good for taxi drivers as well… “Be polite, be professional, and have a plan to kill every person you meet.” Very sound and prudent advice, indeed.
So a guy flags me down at bar close and he looks OK… he is well dressed and doesn’t look too wasted, and he wants me to take him and his two buddies a pretty long way to a good neighborhood on the south side of town. He waves his friends over, and one of them was really shithammered, so much so that I probably would not have picked him up if he was on his own. The guy that flagged me got in the front seat while the other guy wrestled their wasted friend into the back. We take off, and the wasted guy in the rear passenger side is bellowing about how we need to go back and get his truck, he can’t leave it here overnight, it’s gonna get towed… His friends shout him down, telling him he’s too trashed to drive and his truck will be fine. I am driving about 30 miles per hour leaving the bar district, when I hear the sound of this guy tugging and fumbling with the door handle, and then the interior light comes on… He has opened the door while the car is in motion.
I hit the brakes and yelled, “Hey! Close the fucking door, you idiot!” His other friend in the back seat reaches across and closes the door and I hit the locks again. The guy in the front seat apologizes, saying that his friend back there isn’t usually such a jackass, but he “just got back on shore after being at sea for several months with no booze”. I’m not sure if that meant he was military, a fisherman, or whatever… maybe an oil rig worker. But I don’t really care… You would not believe the paperwork involved in having a drunk fall out of your car on the freeway on-ramp.
So I tell these guys to keep their village idiot in line until we get them home and we will all be fine. So I am cruising south on the highway at 65 MPH when the dumbass in the back starts wailing about his truck again, and he starts flailing at the door handle once more. I hit the brakes and pulled over to the emergency lane, and calmly told these guys to get out.
The guy in the front says, “You can’t put us out on the interstate, man…”
“The hell I can’t… My name is not going to appear on this drunken douchebag’s highway fatality police report. Get the fuck out.”
“Fuck you, man…” the drunk yells… “We don’t have to take any shit from this asshole… Let’s get my truck…”
His friends shout him down again, and I tell them in no uncertain terms that they have to keep this jackass under control, and if I hit the brakes again because of this liquored-up dipshit, they will be pedestrians, no matter where I stop.
So I take off again, and we get to their off-ramp without incident. We are only 2 miles from their destination, and I will soon be rid of this jackass. So I am traveling eastbound on a two lane road, doing about 40 MPH.
Now, several things happened very quickly in the next few seconds and it will take a bit of typing to explain exactly what occurred. I was driving along with oncoming traffic and cars behind me when without warning, the drunk in the back seat reached up out of the darkness with his right hand and grabbed my face, pulling my head to the right and blocking my vision.
This was not some silly “peekaboo” shit… I mean he gripped my skull tightly and turned my head to the right. Right now, take your right hand and grab your skull, thumb and middle finger on your temples, and grip tightly enough to turn your head. That’s what this idiot did. In the dark. In oncoming traffic. Doing 40 MPH.
Naturally, my right hand came up to push his arm away, while I twisted my head away from him and stomped on the brakes. His buddy in the back also brought his arms up to help block and restrain his friend, so there are 4 arms flailing about between me and the passenger in the front seat. I twisted my head out of his grip to the left, but my head snapped to the side and hit the window with a loud thump… It was more than a little painful and I was seeing stars.
The guy in the front seat was freaked out… He didn’t seem to know what was going on, he was just flung forward, flailing arms, screeching tires, honking horns from oncoming cars and a car behind us, the driver hitting the window, and lots of yelling.
I didn’t know what was going on either… this guy grabbed my face and twisted my head around, I hurt my head, and I just assumed that I was being attacked. I keep a variety of weapons with varying degrees of lethality within easy reach in my car for just such occasions. If you don’t think I will stab you in the trachea with a ballpoint pen if you truly deserve it, well, you just don’t know me very well.
So we are at a complete stop in the road. I turned on my 160 lumen flashlight and blinded the drunk in the back, and employing a little nonverbal communication, I used its’ milled aluminum body to thump him firmly in the forehead to suggest that he kindly sit back in his seat. The drunk is yelling and covering his face in pain and blindness, and the guy in front is in total shock.
This whole episode took 3 or 4 seconds max. I was enraged, and I must have looked like Satan himself, because the guy in front looks really frightened and freaked out by me. I am screaming at him to get this wasted asshole out of my car before he has to buy flowers for him. He apologizes over and over and pulls his wallet out and gives me 80 dollars for the 19 bucks on the meter. They pull the drunken idiot out and I pulled forward 3 blocks onto a sidestreet to rub my head, do my paperwork, and try to put these boneheads out of my mind.
I am in a stuttering rage… I mean, what if I had veered into oncoming traffic? We might all be dead right now. My adrenaline is flowing freely and I recognize that I am not safe to drive in this condition, so fuck it, I am taking it to the barn and calling it a nite. I turned around the car, and as I look over my shoulder while backing up, I see that the drunk has left his phone in the seat. I grab it and head back west toward the highway.
And on the left side of the road, the three guys are standing under a streetlight at an intersection, yelling at each other and assigning blame for the solid 2 mile hike that is now ahead of them. I yelled, “Hey, asshole… You forgot your phone…” and I whipped it out the window Frisbee-style with my left hand.
Regrettably, I am not left handed, so my accuracy was not what it should be. And in my highly-emotional state, I flung the phone with great vigor, and it sailed high over his head, and made a very satisfying clattering sound as it skipped and skittered down the street. I like to believe that his phone survived the scraping impact on the asphalt, and the resulting dings, scratches, and scars now serve as a reminder to him to not be an Olympic-class asshole, each and every time he makes a call.