He kept steering his cab through the huge rush. He was very much accustomed to this kind of situation. Five years into the job, the city’s roads were familiar to him. He no longer gave a damn for those drivers swearing from inside the car, expecting him to hear it. He did not care for those drivers who were lazy to turn their indicators while making a turn or changing lanes. And most importantly, he didn’t give a damn for his customers. They come and they go. And his life goes on. He knew his job was a tricky one. More than once he had been tricked into giving free rides to passengers. They would plainly make him commit something and then leave him with nothing but few despicable curses. But time has changed him to more than just being vulnerable. He argued with his customers and would eventually make them pay. At times he would indulge in chats with those whom he was pretty sure to pay him a good tip. He could actually spot them out from a given crowd. He came into this city with little cash and few clothes. But now, even though not a millionaire, had a reasonable job and a quite a happy life.
As of now he was on his way to the airport. He is supposed to pick up a certain David Rosario. He parked his car in the parking lot and walked towards the Arrival section. He was walking towards the area, when he bumped into a rather plump man. He gave his apologies to the fellow and was about to move ahead when he noticed the name tag on the fellow’s luggage. It said ‘David R.’. He rushed towards him and,
‘Are you David Rosario?’ he asked
‘Yes. Do I know you? ‘ the fellow replied
‘No, Sir. I am from the taxi company. You had called in to puck you up at the airport’
‘Okay I get it. So do you have the cab parked somewhere near by?’
‘Yes, it is just around the corner. A few minutes walk from here’
He motioned to pick his luggage, but the fellow resisted.
‘I’ll handle it, Thank You’
Not much of surprise there. Many a times, customers liked to keep their stuffs to themselves. He thought of that day when the lady whom he was supposed to pick up screamed just because he tried yo help her handle her luggage. He almost got fired that day.
He finally reached the car. He opened the boot of the car so that the fellow could keep his stuff in there. He entered the car and started the engine and the passenger entered the car. Now that he was inside, he had to ask that question,
‘Sir, where do you want to go?’
Now a third person might find the question too obvious, but he has seen way too many people to call that question obvious. He has come across people with looks on their faces which said,
‘Get me to the nearest hotel, like duh!!’
‘Well to say the truth, I don’t know. All I have is the name of the place. If you can get me there it would be helpful.’ the fellow replied, handing him a business card with the name of the place written on its back. The handwriting was almost illegible but still he could make out.
The place was in the outskirts of the city and not many people venture out there. Not because it is dangerous or something. The area was populated by casual labourers who worked in nearby construction sites. He hit the pedal and the car roared into the road.
The journey wasn’t supposed to be long but the traffic situation was kind of odd. The roads were overflowing with vehicles. The fellow was patient. Patient enough not to bug him with useless questions like` Is there any other way out?’ or `Can you drive it a bit faster?’. The fellow sat there doing nothing but staring through the glass with wry smile. He turned the radio on and tuned into the news channel. The woman on the news bulletin went on.
` On the regional news, we have the inauguration of the D’Leh metro- a pet project of the government. The metro possess what may be said as one of the few automatically operated locomotive systems in the world. The capitol city has planned a grand scale ceremony for this glorious project. Works for the metro began around two years back and the completed last month- three months prior to its planned date. The metro system would connect the various parts of the city giving its citizens complete mobility. The gates of the station would open for the public in another few hours and all roads to the station are jam packed. We would be returning back with a live update from the venue in another half an hour…..’
Now that would explain the huge traffic. He indicated to the right and turned but the driver in the opposite car wasn’t happy. The driver slid his window down to swear at him, and he slid his window up to avoid it. Avoiding such people was better than arguing with them. He took the next exit and drove off at high speed.
He reached the area but being almost deserted it made him feel uneasy. He had been to places far worse than this but not so lonely. The whole place looked as though a shootout had taken place. But the fellow insisted on going further inward. The cab reached a secluded building. It can’t be exactly described as a building. It was more like a single room house. The fellow told to stop there. He did so, even though feeling immensely insecure within. He got off the car to pick up the luggage from the boot. As he bend down to pick up his luggage from the boot he heard a swift move of hand and the next thing he knew was that he was bleeding through his chest. Without turning back, he knocked the fellow off with his elbow. But he did no fall back. He barely moved a few steps backward. That fellow was immensely strong for his bulging body. Punching him back, the fellow took out a knife. He didn’t know why the fellow was attacking him but now he had to fight him back. It was a `live or die’ situation and he was grossly unprepared for this. He felt the pain in his chest becoming increasingly strong. The fellow ran towards him but he moved towards the side. The fellow banged his head against the top of the boot and fell down unconscious. He looked into his chest-it was still bleeding. He had the sudden thought that there must have been something of immense importance that provoked the fellow to do such a thing. He went forward to examine the bag and luckily it wasn’t locked. All that was inside it were a few laptops and hard drives. He threw the bag out of his boot and entered the car. He stopped the meter and hit his head against the steering wheel. He felt relieved but the pain was still hunting him down. He placed one arm on his chest and drove off………..
To be continued……….