Chubby’s foster dad finally passed away after about a hundred years. Chubby got a three thousand dollar cheque from his estate. That crazy bugger was going to put it in the bank so he could make sixteen bucks a year interest on it. I told him “Hell with that, buy a car and we’ll go into taxi business.”
We bought an old car from Buster’s taxi. I remember that car when I was a little kid. He used to give us a ride after school from our house, down the road, and around the corner to Chubby’s, and charge us two bits apiece. Boy, we sure used to love going for a ride in that car.
I don’t know what those numbers meant on the dash but this one said 499,976. Somebody told me later that’s how many miles that car went. I told Chubby that’s a pretty good car if it can go that far and not break down. We painted over Buster’s name and put D&C Taxi instead. Chubby taped his mom’s phone number on both sides of the door since we were both staying there. We had a big party and Talil kicked us out of his apartments. But that’s another story.
We were in a dead snore when that first call come in. We were up all night watching movies and neither of us wanted to get up at seven in the morning to drive Gerty Swampy to work, but we had a business to run. I made coffee and toast and had a shave. Then I had to call Harvey Dogpot to boost me. Boy, she was pretty mad cause I was so late. Then Ida Scow called and wanted a taxi at the store with all her groceries. She had about fifteen bags of grub plus her eight boys. Gee them kids are bad. They pulled the door handle right off and stuck bubble gum all over the back seat. Then Old Phineas Tailbone waved me down outside the bar. He been having a few beers I guess and he talk Indian language to me all the way home like I know him my whole life. I only know few swears and a couple of body parts in Indian language. Too boot he didn’t even pay me cause he pass out before I got him home and I had to carry him in. Then I got a better idea for our taxi, we’d become bootleggers, like all them other taxi drivers.
I got my GST and bought a case of Appleby’s Sweet Cider to start. My first customer was Harvey Dogpot. He told me I owed him on account of him boosting my car day before. Then Old Phineas call and I sell him one, but he only give me ten bucks and a bag of drymeat. Amos Boots call and ask for three bottles. Amos could talk the black off of a crow Chubby say. He give me big story about how big cheque he’s getting from Alaska land claims and how many zeroes it’s going to have on it and how he’s going to pay me twice what he owes me, when his cheque gets in tomorrow or next day. Boy, my head was spinning from all those words and I guess I forgot about Chubby’s number one rule, no credit. Well, Amos cheque never did come in and consequently I didn’t recover my investment. Chubby been having a tough day cause his girlfriend took off to Harvey Dogpot to party and left him with her six kids, all of them in diapers. He dropped them off at her mom’s and call me to pick him up. Both of us pretty bummed out about our business so we crack a bottle and sit by the river talking about getting out of the taxi business. Bootlegging is no better either. I saw in the paper oil company looking for dishwashers next week. We get in the car so we can go fill out our applications but when I turn the key on the car it backfired and same time one tire went flat, just like in the cartoons. We must have had half the town standing around us as we look under the hood. There’s a big pool of black sludge under the engine that supposed to be oil but it look like thick molasses cause that oil never been changed since Buster bought it brand new. We all push it to Art’s mechanic shop and he tell us he surprised it didn’t die forty years ago and what fools we were for buying it in the first place. He call Ford and tell them about it and they call us to congratulate us on the first car to ever go half a million miles without an oil change and we get out picture in Car and Truck magazine. Sure feel good to be famous for little while anyway. Well, we gotta pack up to go wash dishes in camp. I already got big plans for when we get back. Chubby says big hello and quit phoning his mom’s for taxi.