“Evening Miss. Taxi for Brittle. Yeah? Get in.”
A moment passes as she gets inside.
“Topper street on the other side of town, yeah? Don’t you worry Miss, I know a short cut. Trust me, it will take us half the time.”
The wheels begin to turn.
“It’s a magical night tonight Miss, full moon and everything.” A pause. “Do you like Shakespeare? I don’t, I never have. I hated him in school. I still hate him now.”
Soft light illuminates the back seat.
“Is that one of those new fancy phones?”
“I hope you don’t mind me yapping like this, it’s a bit of a habit, it helps pass the time you see. My wife says I don’t drive a taxi, she says I just drive people round the bend.”
“It isn’t all I do with my life though. I like magic. You know, card tricks, sleight of hand. Illusions and things. I’d show you a trick now but it’s not the safest thing to do while driving is it? I bet there’s a niche market in there somewhere though? Magical taxi drivers. What do you think?”
“Do you believe in magic?”
A car horn,a screech of tires.
“I believe in magic words. Nothing silly like abracadabra or izzy wizzy. Nothing like that. No, I mean magical words, words that can change a situation in seconds. Like… like the very first time you hear someone say ‘I love you’. You know what I mean?”
“I hate you… that’s another one, a good one. Powerful words. I believe in those words.”
The wind batters at the car.
“You see this road here, it runs at twice the length as the road through town but it takes half the time. I know of no sat-nav that would tell you that. There’s no traffic you see, no lights either. It’s a fine balance between technology that helps and technology that hinders don’t you think? A very fine line. If we’re not careful, we’ll soon forget how to be people.”
She murmurs something.
“Oh,sorry. I didn’t realise you were on the phone. I get carried away talking sometimes. It’s a habit. Sometimes when I’m alone… oh,sorry.”
The road disappears beneath them.
Their eyes meet in a reflection.
“Don’t worry about the price. Half the time equals half the price. You’ll be able to fit an extra couple of drinks down that scrawny neck of yours…”
A glance, a moment of confusion.
“I said you’ll be able to get a couple more drinks in you.”
“Here we are, I like this bit. See that tree there? It’s gone now but that’s where I… oh! I didn’t realise you were on the phone again. Sorry.”
The road is eaten up. The tires rumble on old tarmac. The car slows then stops.
“What’s that you say? Nope, there’s no signal up here. None at all.”
He unfastens his belt and leans into the back of the car.
“That’s why I like it.”