Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stage 2

“Number 25, go get the South Liberty Bar and Grill for Hank,” Dotty told me.

“Got it,” I answered, as I logged it in, and started heading South down Commercial, to the Liberty Street split. When I got to the bar, the doorman told me to ask Casey, the bartender. Casey directed me towards a couple sitting at a table near the dance floor, where a couple who appeared to be in their early 40’s were sitting.

“Hi, Hank?” I said.

“Wah dah yuh say?” He slurred.

“I'm your cab driver," I told him, I’ll be waiting for you right outside."

After I turned and walked out I waited about 10 minutes, until they finally came outside. I was tempted to start the meter, but sometimes it’s better to just eat it, rather than arguing over a couple of bucks. Especially with drunks. After he gave me the address, which was half way to Jefferson, I started south down Liberty. On the way there the woman was passing out and I became concerned that she might get sick, so I took an air sickness bag that was in the glove compartment out, and handed it to the man.

“Use this if she gets sick,” I told him.

He refused the bag, and said, “don’t worry she never gets sick.”

Rather than telling him that it would be a $40.00 cleaning fee if she did, I took the bag back and said, “okay.” We drove about 6 miles before we finally got to his house, in a very rural location. The meter read $16.40, and Hank handed me a $20.00 bill and told me to keep the change. Then he proceeded to wake up his girlfriend, after a minute, and opened the sliding back door of the van and exited.

“Have a good night,” I said, as they exited.

Then after a minute, while I was finishing my paperwork, Hank returned to the van and opened the passenger front door, and said, “If you ever talk to me that fucking way again, I’ll have your job, and don’t think that I can’t.”

“All I said was good night,” I told him.

“Get the fuck out of my driveway, right now,” Hank screamed, as he slammed my door so hard that I thought that the window would break. What could I do? So I calmly drove out of his driveway and called my clearance in with Dotty Since it was a slow Saturday night at the end of the month, I ended up 2nd down at Amtrack sitting in #52’s cab.

“These people that we drive are crazy,” I told #52.

“Not crazy, just incomplete,” #52 said.

“What do you mean incomplete?” I asked him.

“Do you believe in evolution?” Number 52 asked.

“I’m not sure,” I answered.

“The human race is in stage one of its evolutionary cycle, which began when the first proto hominid became sentient,” Trevor explained. “If it survives itself, it will reach stage 2. At that point as big a leap forward will occur, as that which took place with the dawn of human thought. All that occurred prior to that moment is foundational, but is only a base from which the structure will be built.”

“What are you talking about?” I asked. “You sound like you’ve been reading Terrance McKenna.”

“He is the deceased Shaman, who wrote about proto hominids first gaining sentience through the ingestion of psilocybin mushrooms,” #52 said. It’s a novel idea, containing some truth, because sentient potential was imbedded in proto hominid DNA, as it was in all living things. It obviously took a trigger of some sort to open the floodgates. Maybe someday the human race will become complete, when the next stage occurs.

“Yeah,” I said, “maybe cosmic mushrooms will come to earth from outer space.”

“#52, go get the Cozy Inn, room 116,” Dotty’s voice called over the radio.

“I confirm,” Trevor said, as he logged the call in and started his cab. When he arrived at the motel he had to go to the room to contact his fare. An attractive Black woman, who appeared to be in her late 20’s answered the door, and said that she would be right out. Trevor made eye contact with her, and went back to his cab and didn’t have to wait more than a minute before she got in the cab. She wanted to go on a round trip to Taco Time, on Lancaster, so after he called it in, he started driving.

Her name was Candy, and she was a prostitute who worked as a stripper, when she wasn’t turning tricks. She had a perfect hour glass figure, with large shapely buttocks and medium sized natural breasts. She was wearing skin tight pink sweat pants, that had the word “KITTEN,” written across the seat. Her nipples showed through the powder blue halter top, that also revealed a muscular midsection. Her regular clients paid her as much as $300.00-$500 for ½ hour of sex, depending on what they wanted to do.

A cell phone rang and the woman answered and began talking. “I don’t know why she came? She doesn’t have any clients, and she only had $30.00 with her. That means that I have to pay for her to stay in the room. The only reason why I wanted someone else to share a room with was to split the cost. If I have to pay for her to be there, I would rather be alone. It defeats the reason why I wanted a room mate for the weekend. She should have gone to the club, because she’s not going to make any money here. This is stressing me out too much. I don’t need this.” Then she hung up the phone

The phone would ring every time that she hung it up, and she would answer it and start complaining about her room mate all over again. This went on until we got to Taco Time, as she ordered a half dozen chicken tacos and 2 bean burritos. On the drive back to the motel, she was reticent, and gave Trevor a $3.00 tip, after she paid the fare and exited.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Meth Dealer

The weather was getting nicer every day as Spring blossomed all over the Willamette Valley. While it still rained nearly every day, it only did so for short periods during the night or early morning, and then cleared up, with temperatures rising to the mid 60’s. Trevor had picked off driver #19, who always let someone take his shift if they wanted to drive for him. Driver #52 was only scheduled to drive 3 days a week, because he had other responsibilities to fulfill the other days. But every so often he got his other work caught up and liked to drive a few extra shifts, to see what he may experience.

In the early evening he drove everyone from elderly women to grocery stores, to bartenders and strippers to work. For a weekday night it was fairly steady, even during the dinner hour, but Trevor was enjoying his work doing memory scans of all his fares. Sometimes it was interesting to see how people functioned, and all the secrets that they tried to hide. Sometimes there were regulars who took a cab every day, and their memory scans would become layered, with each new encounter.

One of them was Corky, the manager and chief bartender at Fred’s Neighborhood Bar. Corky was a regular, who like many bartenders, had a DUI (Driving Under the Influence), for a variety of reasons. In this case it was because of driving over 100 MPH and rolling his Corvette, 6 times, while miraculously walking away without a scratch. Corky said that he didn’t mind not having a license for a couple of years, in return for his life, and the most exciting episode of his 36 years.

Tonight #52 picked him up at his house in North Salem, around 9:00 PM, with a load of boxes, that he took to the bar. He took 3 trips to get everything into the cab, but Trevor didn’t run the meter, since he was a regular, and always tipped well. On the way to Fred’s, there was no conversation but #52 saw everything in his mind scan. Corky was high on methamphetamines, that he smoked just before entering the cab.

One time he told Trevor that he wouldn’t allow drug activity to go on in his bar and would throw out anyone who was trying to peddle drugs. He even told #52 a story about how he caught someone who was making a drug deal, and told them to leave, or he would call the police. The fact of the matter was that Corky was a liar and hypocrite, because he himself sold and used the same drugs that he condemned.

When they arrived at Fred’s, Corky started to unload the boxes, and Trevor helped him. The meter read $9.40, but the bartender gave his cabbie $20.00 and said, “keep the change.” Driver #52 picked up a couple of drunks, late night Walmart shoppers and other various nocturnal fares, until he noticed that there was a leather pouch in the space between the bucket seats in the van that he was driving.

While he was waiting for a call, Trevor took the pouch and opened the zipper, to find an MP3 player, which he took out. In the space below was a glass pipe and a small clear plastic prescription bag that contained translucent crystals. To the casual observer, this could have been interpreted in a number of ways, but to a NUC scout with telepathic abilities, it was clear. Corky was a methamphetamine user/dealer, who ran off any drug dealing competition, with empty threats of police action, and real threats of outlaw biker retaliation, if the flow of crank slowed down at Fred’s, because of some amateurs.

So #52 pulled into the taxi stall at the Greyhound bus station downtown and listened to some talk radio show’s discussing everything from CIA torture victims to extreme measures for halting the uncontrolled influx of illegal aliens. Then John the dispatcher interrupted his concentration by asking,

“Number 52, did you by any chance find a leather case in your cab?

“Yes,” he answered, “I have a leather case with a zipper in my cab, did the owner call for it?

“Yeah,” John answered, “the bartender at “Fred’s” said that he must have left it in the cab. He said that he’d give you a big tip if you brought it to him.”

“Will do,” Trevor answered, remembering that his instructions from the NUC were to never in anyway obstruct or impede the natural course of events of the planet that they were observing, from occurring, until stage 2 was reached. Their presence was to have as little impact on the evolution of the planet as possible, until that time.

When he arrived at “Fred’s,” it was around 2:00 AM, and Corky was waiting outside for Trevor. Corky gave Trevor a $10.00 bill, as they traded the Hamilton for the leather pouch.

Trevor drove off thinking to himself that it was a strange species that tried to criminalize ingesting substances that occurred naturally or could be produced synthetically by exploiting the periodic table. Whatever the case may be, it didn’t matter, since he was here to collect data to determine whether or not this electrons existence could be directed towards becoming one of the entities servants.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Life Source Energy

The life source energy travelled through the universe in search of a host to expel itself upon, so it could give birth to sentient beings who would crawl out of the primordial soup that the inoculation would create. The growing entity that was the universe was made up of nearly a trillion galaxies, each of which could contain as many as a trillion planets. The growth process of the entity required it to evolve and mature. The way that it did so was through the impregnation of planets or atom particles with sentient energy that would evolve into expanding planet harvesters, whose function was to attend to the health of the entity.

At the initial moment, that is called the big bang, there occurred the impregnation of a cosmic ovum. When the seed injected the egg, ecstasy occurred and fuck was born, in this universe that we call ours. The big band exploded until the first occurrence of sentient energy appeared, then, it began to search for a ripe recipient. As the matter and anti matter fled the center, galaxies appeared, myriad by myriad, until solar systems stabilized, as stars achieved their goal, and the electrons circled the nucleus.

When a planet is ripe for the impregnation of sentience , it begins to emit a sonic vibration that moves through the ether at a speed that completely transcends that of light or rationale will allow. When this happens the life source energy is drawn to it, and the evening and the morning becomes the first day of sentience impregnation. Then the electron evolves for a few million years, until civilizations rise and fall, and the planet’s technology calls out to the cosmos to say “I am alive and I am here.” When this happens, the NUC sends out observers as part of the first reconnaissance scout team for the “Near Universe Coalition” (NUC). These scouts will continue to do their jobs until the entire universe has reached its potential, and the entity is able to fulfill its destiny.

Driver #52 knew that the reason why he was impersonating a citizen of Earth was for the greater purpose. So anytime that he felt pangs of guilt, for leaving his wife and children for so many years, he reminded himself that he was fulfilling a greater purpose than he could possibly realize, and besides that he was but a gear in the mechanism that his mission was comprised of, which would ultimately bear fruit, in the eons to come. So when he got a call to pick up at an upscale 55 and older only mobile home park on the South side of town, he drove there with his spirit steeled against any thoughts that would deviate from the greater purpose.

As Trevor entered the trailer park there was a map showing the layout of nearly 200 homes, on a couple of dozen streets and cul de sacs, that he studied, which led him directly to his destination. The late afternoon was around 50 degrees with low hanging patchy rain clouds emitting an occasional spray of rain on the lush green Willamette Valley landscape, in between patches of sunshine poking its rays through swirling masses of grey. When he drove onto the straightaway that trailer 161 was on, he could see 2 elderly women who looked to be in their 70’s holding the hands of 2 little girls, who looked to be about 3-5 years of age. He assumed that they were his passengers, but they were 2 trailers beyond #52’s fare. An elderly man, who appeared to be around 80 years old was standing on the porch, waving to Trevor, as he pulled up.

“She’ll be right out,” the elderly man said.

So #52 put his flashers on and waited until a black woman who looked to be around 30 came out and got in the back seat. She slouched down as she closed the door and said,

“Pull into my driveway and turn around. I don’t want to go past those women, they’ll call the police if they see me.”

So #52 made a U turn and headed back down the road that he entered in, as he asked his passenger where she wanted to go.

“The Traveler’s Inn,” she said.

As he pulled onto South Lancaster he asked her why the women would call the police on her and she told him that it was because the trailer park was a 55 and older residence and she was only 29 years old. she said that she and her husband have had problems ever since they moved to the trailer park right after they got married. Then she said that she forgot her money for the taxi on the kitchen table, but didn’t want to go back to get it because of the women.

“Don’t worry,” she said, “you’ll get paid, because my cousin has money at the motel.”

As she was talking Trevor turned his head towards her, and made eye contact for the split second that was necessary. He saw a child born in South Central Los Angeles and grew up in the inner city, who had many brothers and sisters, from many fathers and 1 mother. They lived in many places, some drug houses, some brothels, some shelters and even in the L.A. river once. By the time that she, whose name was called Delia reached puberty, she had been raped multiple times. She’s had 3 children all of whom were put in foster homes, because of her rampant drug use. Delia and 2 of her brothers worked the West Coast, from Seattle to San Diego, transporting drugs and turning tricks to help pay for expenses. The elderly man, whose trailer Trevor picked her up at, contacted her through an escort agency that women can join and get clients from, for a flat fee of $100.00 per appointment. She has $500.00 on her at the moment, in 5 C notes, that she would get change for, when she paid for the motel room, to pay her fare.

“I was not worried,” Trevor said.

“I just want to relax,” She said as she slouched down in the back seat, until she was nearly laying down. She was reticent on the rest of the trip, until they hit the Portland road underpass. “Pull into Von’s,” she said, “I want to see if my cousin is still here. He was winning playing video poker and I can get the money from him.”

She went inside, and after a minute, she came back out, and said that he wasn’t there, so he must have gone back to the motel. When they were approaching the Travelers Inn, she told #52 to pull up to the office, so she could go in and find out what room her cousins were in. After a few minutes she came back out and told him to pull up to room 110. He pulled into the empty space, in front, and Delia got out, saying that she would be right back. After a couple of minutes, she came out with a $20.00 bill to pay the 17.40 fare, and said to keep the change.

“See, I told you you’d get paid,” she said.

“I never doubted,” Trevor answered. As he was driving away, 2 large black men came out of room 110 and walked toward the office.

“#52 cleared,” he told the dispatcher, as he pulled onto Portland road, heading downtown.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

How I Ended Up Driving A Taxi

I decided that since this is my blog, I can talk about anything that I want, even if it doesn’t directly deal with taxi cab driving. Like most taxi cab drivers, this isn’t my first job, but the latest on the list of occupations that includes the auto industry, the army, the ministry, cooking, sales, teaching, photography, writing and the post office. The post office was the longest job of my life and I actually retired from it, in 2004.

My job experience with the post office began in 1967, when I was in the army. My primary MOS (Military Occupation Specialty) was that of a “carpenter” and I was initially in the 593rd Engineering Company, at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. However, I was also trained as an “armorer” (small arms weapons specialist), and worked as one, as well. Then after I was transferred to the 9th Field Artillery Missile Group, I was trained as a mail clerk for the unit. It was one of three jobs that I performed, but it became my most permanent occupation.

In 1969, right after Woodstock, I was attending college, on the GI Bill, and was looking for a job, that would hire long haired hippies, like me. My girlfriend told me that her mail man had a beard and hair down to his waist, so I filled out an application to take the civil service test for the post office. They gave me 5 extra points for my military service and I got hired by the Birmingham, Michigan post office, as a letter carrier, in March 1970.

In June 1971, I transferred with the post office to Los Angeles, California, got married and started a family, while I worked as both a mail carrier and mail handler. I studied photography at PCC, and attended Bible college until I graduated and was ordained. In 1976 I become a full time minister, at an inner city church in Los Angeles, where I served for 4 years, while I attended graduate school and studied ancient history at Cal State L.A. . When I first moved to Oregon, I worked as a cook, went back to the post office for a couple of months and finally moved back to L.A., to become an industrial solvent salesman, in South Central.

By 1984 after moving from Oregon, to Texas, to California, to Oregon, to California and finally back to Michigan, where I returned to the post office, where I stayed until I retired in 2004. I kept trying to get out, but all my other jobs attempts in photography, teaching and writing, never brought in enough money to do that, especially with 7 children to raise. I transferred back to Oregon in 1986, and worked at the main post office on 25th and Mission, in Salem, Oregon as a mail handler, until I got an early retirement, with 26 years at the PO, 2 years military and 2 free years, to total my 30.

During all that time I was searching for God’s will in my life. I felt that it was connected to photography, in some way, so I kept taking photographs of everything that I saw or did. By the 1990’s I decided to quit looking back and wondering why the ministry didn’t work out and start looking forward by believing that God was leading me in a new direction, on a daily hour by hour, minute by minute process. I concentrated on raising my 7 children, while at the same time I began to write daily, and met a guy at the post office who had access to the Grateful Dead. I decided to attend the concert and photograph and observe it as part of my investigation and search for God’s will for my life.

What I observed at that Grateful Dead concert, in Eugene, Oregon, in 1994 completely changed my life. I saw the same people that were part of the counter culture in the 1960’s, as well as an entire new generation, who acted as if the hippie ideals that I believed in during the 1960’s still mattered. Over the following years I became immersed in investigating the counter culture 25 years after Woodstock. I found that it was involved in spiritual work by helping the poor in 3rd world countries through an organization called SEVA. At the same time as I began to publish my photographs and articles in magazines and newspapers, I became more interested in the religious aspects of the music, so I continued to attend and photograph Christian concerts as well. By 1999, I merged the hippie counter culture with my religious interests, when the Wittenburg Door published my interview with Wavy Gravy, a key figure of the 1960’s and Woodstock.

One thing led to another, as I would photograph and review everyone from The Rolling Stones to Rage Against The Machine, in the early evening, and go to work at the post office on the graveyard shift afterwards. I was getting press credentials for nearly every concert that I applied for, but it cost me more to do all the work, and pay for gas, parking, film, processing and postage, that I would make. It was fun and it made you feel important to get to stand in front of the front row and sometimes get backstage passes, to meet the artists.

In 2004 I retired from the post office, and had gallery shows all over town, published my work in multiple periodicals and newspapers, but like most starving artists, I was breaking even at best. Sure I had 1,000’s of photographs of some of the biggest music artists in the world, but what good are they, unless somebody is willing to pay you money for them. This may sound mercenary, but then, if an artist must work at non related jobs to make ends meet, sometimes it makes them bitter. Bitter with jealousy for those who have been able to succeed where they have failed. That is in getting people to pay them money, on a regular basis for their art.

So I began to drive a taxi cab, because it was the first job that I was hired for, after I began putting in applications, in June 2004. I tried to get postal related jobs, but didn’t get hired for any of them. So now I’m ending my 6th year as a taxi cab driver in June 2010. In some ways I love driving a taxi, in other ways I hate it. It is the most interesting job I’ve ever had in my life. It is not boring, and sometimes it’s actually exciting. Some nights are emotional roller coasters, as you run through passengers who do everything from threaten you to tip you, while at the same time your fares may range from $3.00 to $300.00. So here we are, at my 53rd blog entry, which about the me that drives my taxi. I’m including a photograph that I took in March 2010 about 3:00 AM, on 14th street, in downtown Salem, where a multi alarm fire was raging at a residence on the corner of Ferry, when I happened upon it, while I had my camera with me.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The First Monday

I finally got on the street about 4:10 PM, after #31 came in with my cab. It was the first Monday of the month so everyone who gets paid monthly would have money and be out spending it. It was an overcast night, that had occasional sprinkles, requiring me to turn on the windshield wipers every couple of minutes. A little after 5:00 PM I got a call to Motel 6, room 299. When I got there, I knocked on the door, and a man who looked like a street person, wearing a baseball cab, with long hair and a beard, dressed in ragged clothes answered the door, and told me that my passenger would be out in a minute. I sat in my cab waiting with the flashers on, until he came down, and got in.

“Where are we heading?” I asked my fare, who looked to be around 60 years old with snow white shoulder length hair and a full beard.

“Ringo’s,” he told me, and as we drove there he pulled a wad of money out of his sock that he held out for me to see. “I always want to make sure that cab drivers know that I’ve got money and I’ll be able to pay them. I get my check on the first of the month, and I like to live high for a few days, before I have to sleep in under the bridge again. I try to keep my reputation square with the cabs so they don’t black list me.”

While we drove there, my passenger kept talking about how he was good for the fare, and wanted to have a few drinks. He handed me a $10.00 bill that he said was my tip, and when we got there he handed me a $20.00, to pay for the $12.60 fare. After I gave him his change, he asked for my card and I gave him one, with my number on it, for him to call when he was ready to go back to the motel.

I got a couple of grocery runs from Walmart and Winco after that, and ended up at Greyhound around 7:00 PM, where I parked in the second taxi stand. There was another Yellow cab parked in the first stall, and I saw that it was #52. He started about 6 months ago and I talked to him a few times, but he seems strange. I can’t put my finger on it, but my gut churns every time that I talk to him. He always wears driving gloves with blue fingertips and a large blue patch on the palm. The first time that I met him he looked into my eyes, like he was trying to see something, and the take that he has on everything is like he just arrived here from another planet. I shut off my engine and took out the keys, as I got out of my cab and opened #52’s door.

“How’s it going?” I asked.

“It is going well,” he answered. “How about you?”

“Oh, it’s going great,” I answered. Remember what we were talking about last time?” I asked him.

“Yes,” he answered, “it was about the possibility of life on other planets.”

“Right,” I answered, “you were telling me that only a moron would think that the universe didn’t contain countless planets that supported sentient life. The way that you said it almost sounded like you knew something that nobody else does.”

“I don’t know anything that isn’t common knowledge among googolplex sentient beings,” #52 answered.

“Do you believe in God?” I asked.

“If you mean a prime mover, or a first cause, the answer is yes,” he answered.

“What about a personal God, who became man and died for our sins,” I said.

“What is a sin?” he asked me, like he really didn’t know.

“You know,” I answered, “bad things that we do, that Jesus had to die on the cross for.”

“Why would a Mexican man have to die on a railroad warning sign for bad things that you do?” He asked me.

“The New Testament of the Bible was written in Greek,” I told him, “and the word sin comes from the Greek word “hamartina,” which is an archery term, meaning to miss the bulls eye on the target, or falling short of what was required. That’s what Jesus Christ the messiah did when he died on the cross 1981 years ago, according to an accurate accounting for the year that he was born based on the governors and kings in power at the time, in spite of the error on the Gregorian calander.”

“So the prime mover became part of its creation in order to save that creation from the error of its ways?” He asked.

“Yeah, something like that,” I answered.

“I take it this teaching is part of the religion that you call Christianity,” he said.

“Yes,” I answered, “it’s called redemption for our sins, and helps us to walk in the path that God called us too.”

“That path leads to the next phase,” which will be soon on this world.

“What are you talking about?” I asked, as my mind grew confused while I started to get that churning feeling in my stomach.

“#25,” the radio announced, “you’re wanted at JC’s Pizza.”

“That must be the guy that I drove from Motel 6 earlier,” I said, as I got out of #52’s cab, and got in my own. After I wrote down the call, I started my engine and began driving to Keizer. When I got to JC’s I went inside and found my passenger sitting at a table with a half finished mug of beer and a large white flat box with a pizza in it.

“Your cab is here,” I told my passenger.

“Oh, hi,” he said, “I’ll be right out, give me a minute.”

I sat in my cab and waited until he came out and got in front with me. “Where too?” I asked.

“I don’t want to go back to the motel yet, what bars are in that area?” He asked me.

“There’s Players, Roccos, Canton Gardens and…” I was saying.

“Take me to Canton Gardens,” he said. “Can you go inside with me?” He asked and continued. “You can have a 7 Up while I have a drink.”

“As long as the meter is running,” I told him, “but why spend all your money at once? Why not try to conserve it and stretch it out.”

“Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, you’re funny, “he said.” Let’s go to Canton Gardens, and let your meter run.

When we got there I turned the meter on time and locked the cab up. Shelly the bar tender who used to drive for Yellow cab was working, and my passenger ordered a whiskey and water, while I got a 7 Up. He bought 10 scratch it lottery cards and gave me 5. Then after he went into the smoking area to smoke a cigarette that he bummed off Shelly, he was ready to go back to the motel. When we got there the meter was at $24.50, and he gave me $25.00 and asked me if I wanted some of his pizza. It was almost time for me to eat lunch, so I took 1/3 of the large 10 topping pie. After he got out I pulled into a parking spot on the other side and got out my thermos of coffee, to drink with my pizza, until I got another call

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Perfect Human Being

A spring storm was expected Friday, and it did not disappoint, but then this is Oregon, and rain is part of the picture for 8 or 9 months every year. The way that it rains in the North West is different from the Mid West and East, in that it is a continual drizzle, that picks up momentum and explodes into torrential downpours for 30 minutes, followed by patchy sun breaks that produces beautiful rainbows daily. The entire late afternoon and early evening was filled with rainbows and 30 minute deluges, until the early evening, as cab drivers picked up passengers with their monthly shopping, at Walmart, Winco, Fred Meyers or Safeway, like they do every first part of the month.

At around 8:00 PM Friday night Driver #52, Trevor Nytzxryg got a call to Walmart on North Lancaster. When he got there, he saw a couple who looked to be in their 50’s, that he had driven a few other times. They had a disgusting odor, that permeated the cab, and even when riding with the windows down, after they got out, it was nearly impossible to get the smell out of your nostrils. They lived in the ramshackle trailer park on Highway, between Silverton and Portland Roads. The woman was homely looking of average weight and height, with wire rim glasses, shoulder length straight brown hair and enough hair on her chin to rival some men’s goatees. Her husband was thin and had a thick mustache, and sandy dishwater blonde, shaggy hair, under a baseball cap. She wore a smock dress and a jacket, while his apparel consisted of jeans, and a plaid shirt, with a blue jean jacket.

After #52 loaded their groceries in the back of his van, he affirmed that they were going to their home address, and called it in. On the way there the man asked Trevor if he was going to church on Easter, since it was this Sunday.

“I don’t go to church,” Trevor said, “but I understand the reason why many people do. It’s to contemplate the possibility of a perfect human being, an all giving, all caring shepherd who is the prototype of the perfect human being. This is a noble ideal for sentient beings to conceive, and I admire it. When I have time I will attend one of these services, even if it means losing sleep, since I usually don’t get to bed until nearly 6:00 AM, on Sunday.”

“You could go to a sunrise service, after you get off and before you went to bed,” the man said.

“What is a sunrise service?” Trevor asked.

“Well you see, Jesus resurrected from the grave at sunrise, on Easter Sunday morning 1977 years ago, so sometimes they have a service at dawn,” the man said, and continued, “back when I was in jail one Easter, we had a sunrise service and I helped the chaplain with all the preparations. I got up at 3:00 AM special to help him. The service began at 6:00 AM, and by the time that it was over, it was broad daylight. That’s after I gave my heart to Jesus. I was never really a bad person, like murdering somebody or stealing stuff that you don’t need, just to make money. I only stole things that I needed.”

About this time his wife broke in and told him in a calm even tone of voice, “I told you not to talk about that anymore.”

“Oh yeah, I forgot,” he said, and immediately changed the subject back to church. When I lived in Los Angeles, I used to go to church all the time, but the people up here don’t go to church that much.

All NUC scouts did soul scans, by either eye or skin contact. “The eyes and skin are windows to the soul,” as the great cipher Zynyg spoke in his span. Zynyg was also the one who determined the part that religion must play in the evolution of a planet. All civilizations began when sentience dawned with the first ones, what the Christian religion calls Adam and Eve. The myths that develop always take the same course, as a stabilizing element for a civilization as it is transformed into a sophisticated religion. That religion then develops an infrastructure that is a pecking order of power, culminating in the high priest, who eventually becomes or is replaced by a secular ruler. There is always a battle between the religious and the secular, it is a two edged sword, and that is what eventually makes or breaks the planet. When a planet becomes stage 1, the NUC’s monitoring system alerts the intelligence branch to send out a squad of observers and data collectors, of which Trevor was one.

When they arrived at the trailer park they drove into the back area, where the most dilapidated purple trailer was theirs. Driver #52 helped carry the groceries in and collected the $8.60 fare, and gave the woman her .40 change. The next fare Trevor picked up was a guy who came out of a house on Cottage Street downtown. He was going to his trailer in the RV Park by 45th, off Silverton Road. On the trip there he complained about how his girlfriend had a 250 lb pig for a pet, that she kept in the house, and slept next to her on her bed. The pig bit him 3 times he said, and that was why he was leaving. The last time it was his foot, and his teeth nearly went through the shoe.

“Have you ever seen a pigs teeth?” He asked. “They’re 2 inches long,” he said, as he spread his fingers to indicate the size. He was visibly upset and continued emotionally describing his ordeal with the pig, and threatening to bring his Mexican friends over, who would gladly slaughter the pig and have a Bar BQ. When Trevor dropped him off he gave him a $5.00 tip and apologized for telling him his troubles.

Around 2:00 AM, #52 picked up a couple at Bourbon Street, and drove them to the guys house in East Salem. On the way there, they wanted to stop at Taco Bell to get something to eat, so they did. Then on the way to the final destination, the female got sick and began to throw up. Trevor immediately pulled out a plastic shopping bag, that he kept in his pocket, and handed it to the guy, and told him that if she got any vomit in the cab, it was a $40.00 cleaning fee.

“Don’t worry, she won’t get any in the cab,” he said as he opened the bag and put it over her mouth, as she retched.

When Trevor pulled into the fare’s driveway, the guy was paying with a credit card, that he gave to him, as he told his girlfriend to go into the house. When she got out, there were clumps of regurgitation covering the seat where she sat. So the $22.40 fare was added to the $40.00 cleaning fee. Number 52 called out afterwards, got gas, and drove to the office, where he cleaned the cab interior and red tagged it, until the boss could inspect it, before it was cleared to be used again.