Sunday, October 31, 2010



            Number 69, also known as Jim Owens, of Universal Cab briefly experienced the interdimensional vortex when Trevor  #52, of Yellow Cab used the power of teleo on him.  However, teleo was nearly powerless with Owen’s beresheeth powers, as proven by the fact that he wasn’t absent from this universe’s reality long enough to be missed.  After he came back, he realized that #52 still thought that the NUC could access Earth, and that he would have to learn otherwise, the hard way.

            The ICUD was slandered by the NUC, but in actuality it was an acronym for the “Interdimensional Consortium for Universal Dominion.”  The NUC claimed that the ICUD accessed planets simply as food to feed interdimensional scavengers, when in reality all accessed planets were in reality simply dormant seeds that were awaiting the moment of impregnation to trigger their genesis.

            After Trevor Netzreg met with the other 11 and reported his findings, he received their reports and communicated it all to headquarters.  The result was that  he and the others were instructed to report back to base, immediately, if not sooner.  Jim Owens quit Universal Cab and went to work for Yellow Cab, as driver number 33, the last week of October.

            Halloween weekend was peppered with parties celebrating the “Witches Sabbath,” “Satan’s Birthday” or the official day that all good children dress up as characters that depict evil, and are rewarded for it, as everyone wonders why children are disrespectful of their elders.  It was also Mike Shaunacy’s first Halloween driving taxi, since he became a Yellow cab driver #21 in August.  He got the idea to become a cab driver one night when one of his buyers took a cab to his house to make a purchase.  He tested the idea out by calling a cab to take him to the store one night to buy some beer.  When he asked the driver about the kinds of people he drove he mentioned every possibility under the sun, including drug dealers, prostitutes, released prison inmates, lawyers, students, sick people, poor people and rich people, in every possible condition including drunk, sober and insane.

            Driver #21 didn’t have many legitimate jobs over the years, since he made a good living selling drugs, even while he was still in high school.  He was one of the most clever drug dealers, and had never been busted, because he only dealt with a an elite clientele that he built up over a 2 decade period, from the time that he began dealing in the summer of 1989, after he turned on at a Grateful Dead concert in Northern California.  By the time that he graduated from high school, he was making $2,000.00 a month, by just supplying his small circle of trusted customers.  He got different jobs over the years, just to try something out, and help his cover.  He worked at everything from construction to short order cooking, along with route and retail sales.

            Mike lived in a modest home, that was completely paid off, in the West Salem hills, that was surrounded by a grove of trees.  He invested much of his money in art from the 1960’s, including original Andy Warhol, Peter Max and Denny Dent, along with archival Silver Geletin photographs from the late 19th century until the present, by everyone from Matthew Brady and Ansel Adams, to Henry Diltz and Robert Mapplethorpe.  His motto was “if you got the cash, I got the stash,” from weed and mushrooms to Heroine and Meth, with everything else in between.

            The torrential rains began, which didn’t seem to put a damper on the weekend Halloween parties as driver’s drove costumed passengers dressed like everyone from Freddy Krueger to the Queen of Hearts.  Around 10:00 PM, I picked up a guy at Walmart East, who was going to the trailer park on South Lancaster in the Sundial mobile home park.  His shopping cart was full of household items, like dishes, towels, a coffee maker and other items.  On the drive to his abode, he told me that he was just moving into the trailer, after he divorced his wife, who was a paranoid schizophrenic that quit taking her medication.  The final straw was one night when he came home after working swing shift, at around 12:30 AM.  She was on the computer like she always is, but when he turned on the TV and was sitting on the couch, she came up to him, holding a pair of scissors, and told him that she wanted to stab him in the face.

            “I was afraid that I may not wake up one morning, so I got out of there,” he told me.

            My next call was for South Salem, where I picked up 2 couples that were heading to “Copper John’s,” downtown.  The guy sitting up front with me was dressed like Dean Martin, martini glass and all.  His wife in the back seat was Cher, while the other woman was Janis Joplin and her mate was Jim Morrison.  I got a call for the parking lot at People’s church, and when I got there, a man of about 30 got in the cab wearing a pentagram T-shirt, that said, smile if you love Satan, on the back.

            “Take me to the nearest strip club,” he told me.

            “That would be the “Firehouse,” I told him, and added, “ but it wouldn’t cost you that much more to go to Stars, which is the biggest club in town.”

            “Take me to Stars,” he said.

            On the drive there he told me that church people looked at him weird when he wore his pentagram T-shirt.  I explained why a pentagram T-shirt would be offensive to a born again Christian, when he told me that he was raised in Herbert W. Armstrong’s “World Wide Church of God.”  Then in the late 1990’s the church began to change, and Saturday services that were part of the churches main teachings were changed to Sunday, and other important changes occurred, creating disillusionment, until my passenger completely quit going to church.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Stupid Person Tax

            The rain has begun to fall again this year, marking the transition from Summer, to Fall/Winter.  When I arrived at the office there was a new bulletin posted on the entrance/exit door that read:
“If smoking is more important then your job keep smoking in non-smoking cars.  You will be caught!  Then you will be suspended or fired.”

            Since I don’t smoke, the bulletin didn’t apply to me, so other than recording it in my journal, I pretty much forgot about it.  The weekend had its highs and lows, with mostly lows, since Friday night I booked nearly two-forty, with under $30.00 in tips and Saturday I barely booked $200.00 with over $50.00 in tips.  The weekend left a lot of time for hanging out with the other drivers at the Amtrack station, Greyhound or one of the other border hangouts.

            Around Midnight Saturday, I parked at Greyhound, where two other cab’s were parked.  I got out of my cab and opened the back sliding door of the van and got in, to find #44 in the front seat, with #11 sitting beside him. 

“I was just telling Dora,” #44 said, “that #52 didn’t show up for work since Monday, and he’ll probably get suspended when he get’s back.”

“He’s weird,” #11 said, “anyone who wears racing gloves in 90 degree weather, like he did last summer is not normal.”

“He said that his skin was very sensitive to sunlight, which is why he wore sunblock on his face but preferred gloves for his hands.”  I answered.

“Either way he’ll get a new asshole torn when he does get back without scheduling the time off or getting relief,” #44 said.

Number 11 immediately changed the subject and began talking about all the new video lottery Deli’s that have opened up all over the city, since the economy got bad over the past few years. 

“It’s like a tax on for stupid people,” she said.  “They put up these tax collection stations all over the city and put signs on top saying ‘Oregon Lottery (stupid people come here to pay your tax.)’  The thing is, it’s in that 1980’s John Carpenter movie, ‘They Live,’ which was about aliens from another planet who controlled the earth, only you didn’t know it, unless you wore special sunglasses that allowed you to see past the veneer.  Stupid people are drawn to these places to deposit their pay checks, unemployment stipends and welfare payments in receptacles that deceive them into believing that they are taking a chance on multiplying their meager incomes, when in reality they are simply paying an additional tax for being stupid.  In other word signs that say ‘Oregon Lottery” are in actuality saying ‘stupid people pay your additional taxes here.”

I saw my opening and took it.  “Last night around 2:00 AM I got a call for the corner of South Commercial and Robbins lane, for an SPD (Salem Police Department) call.  Dotty told me that the guy I was looking for had a white back pack that he was wearing.  When I arrived my passenger waved at me as I stopped next to him.  After he got in the cab I asked him where he was headed and he started to tell me about how his girlfriend asked him to go check the mail and when he went outside to see, she locked him out of the apartment and when he tried to get in she called the police, which is the reason why they sent for a cab. 

“Take me to the cheapest motel,” he said.

“My first gut reaction was to ask him how he would pay me and require money up front, since SPD calls are notorious for burning you.  What can you do, call the police?”  That would be the Motel 6 on Hawthorne,” I said.  “The only place here in the South is the Phoenix Inn, which is double the 6.  Then they tore down the cheap places like the ‘Oregon Capitol Inn’ and the ‘City Center Motel,’ to build multi-million dollar condominiums that are currently vacant.  So we’ll have to go to the East side where the majority of motels are.”

“I don’t care,” he said, “just get me there.  Are there any bars nearby?”  He asked.

I told him that there were half a dozen bars within walking distance, with Players Lounge right across the street.  He kept talking about the way that his girlfriend tricked him, and locked him out of the apartment, but that life was an adventure and if you didn’t have bad things like this happen to you once in a while, you wouldn’t enjoy the experience as much.  When we arrived at the motel he had a credit card which I ran, and called in on the radio.  After a minute, Dotty called back that it was rejected after she tried twice.  So he gave me another credit card, but it was also rejected.  Then he suggested that we try an ATM, so we went across the street to Players, and I went in with him. 

The ATM was at the back entrance, so I stood at the cigarette machine and waited while he unsuccessfully tried both cards.  The two bouncers, who helped me recover money from another fare who ran without paying said hello and asked how I was doing.  When I told them what was happening they said good luck and walked off.  After a few minutes of what appeared to be unsuccessful attempts to extract money from the ATM, my passenger admitted that he was at a loss about the situation, but that if he could get back to his girlfriend’s apartment, everything would work out and he could pay me.  I told him that I wasn’t going to double my loss on a chance that it would work out, since he already lost any credibility that he may have had with me.  After I took all his information, including the information off his Maryland Drivers License, I gave him a receipt slip with his bill, and told him that the ride was over, as he disappointedly left the cab.

Friday, October 22, 2010


            Sometimes people request a particular driver, who they know or like, as happened in my case the other night with Jeremy, a friend of Norm Walters Jr., whose father, Norm Walters Sr., I worked with at the post office for 12 years, prior to his retirement.  Norm Sr. was in the Air Force for 20 years, as a musician, playing trombone in the Air Force Academy marching band at Colorado Springs, Colorado, but I hadn’t talked to him in over a year.  His son Donald, who I never met, was killed in Iraq, in 2003, at the very beginning of the war.  Don Walters was the supply sergeant over Jessica Lynch, who became the heroine that bolstered Bush’s invasion of Iraq.  Don was captured by Saddam’s Fedayeen and summarily executed by a bullet in the back of the head, in the court yard of the hospital that Jessica Lynch was being held in.

            Norm Walter’s Sr. was determined to get the story of his son Don into the public light.  He had been on Larry King Live, Good Morning America and every other TV news show that attacked the story like piranha devouring a side of beef, for the next year or two.  After the war dragged on, and became unpopular and Rick Bragg published his biography of Jessica Lynch, “I Am A Soldier Too,” everyone forgot about Don, except his family.  He received a Bronze Star, and through the efforts of Norm it was upgraded to a Silver Star, but Norm wanted the Congressional Medal of Honor.

            When I picked up Jeremy, he had been drinking, and was at a friend’s house, but then that was always the case, which was why he called for a cab.  On the ride to his house we talked about  everything from my blog, to Norm quitting the trombone.  He was having problems with his facial muscles, so it was difficult for him to control his playing like he wanted to, so he decided to quit, Jeremy told me.  When I got him home he paid with a credit card, as usual and gave me a $5.00 tip.  Jeremy asked me if I had talked to Norm lately, and I hadn’t for nearly a year, but I made a mental note to call him in the next week or two.

            The war in Iraq and Afghanistan was something that the American public wanted to forget, but it wasn’t just going to go away.  I was always driving soldiers to or from the airport shuttle, train and bus station.  Some talked about where they were and what they did, while others are reticent but glad to be home.

            There have been a couple of veterans, who have gotten cab licenses and driven for Yellow Cab.  Right now the only one doing it is, Nick, a former Marine, who was injured when an IED (improvised explosive devise) detonation destroyed the ambulance that he was driving, killing his passenger, but sparing him.  He spent a year in Iraq, and came back with a shrapnel deposit in his body, along with a disability.

            Nick is alive, with injuries that allow him to function, but Don Walters is dead.  I told Norm to organize all his research, appearances, articles and other information about Don, so we could eventually write a book about him.  Who knows when Iraq and Afghanistan will be stabilized enough for our troops to withdraw, but then that will probably never happen in our lifetime. 

            War is an important part in the evolution of the human species, although the goal of most civilized individuals is to put a permanent end to it.  Whether the change is initiated by the NUC or the ICUD, the transition from primitive barbaric war to rational communication is the same.  Trevor Netzreg was meeting with the other 11 before informing headquarters of the anti teleo mind that he discovered.  Sometimes the NUC had to abandon a planet, because it was destined to be beresheet and belonged to the ICUD.

            I got a call to the South Liberty Bar and Grill where he picked up a couple, who were heading to the apartments on Madras, on South Commercial.  The male kept calling me sir, so I asked him if he was in the military and he said that he was home on leave for a month before he had to go to Iraq, after being in the states for a year, after serving in Afghanistan.  He didn’t want to go, but resigned himself to it, since he still had 3 years of his enlistment left.

            “Hell, I could go back another time after this, if the war drags on,” he said.

            The way that it looks right now, that is a definite possibility, since there is no end in sight, even with President Obama, promising that we will be pulling troops out.  How can you pull troops out, if it will create a vacuum that Al Queda will fill, re-creating the problem that began the war in the first place.  To quote a worn out Christian cliché, “there will be no peace, until the prince of peace comes.”  The last time that the prince of peace was here, we crucified him.  When he arrives this time it will be our turn.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Anti Teleo

            Number 52 picked the couple up at the Lucky Fortune at around Midnight, where they were waiting for him outside, without jackets in the cool 58 degree weather.  As soon as they got in Trevor’s cab, they started to argue, to the point of screaming and then the female began to pummel the male until he got out of the cab and asked #52 to call him another cab, as he walked towards the building entrance.  Trevor reached into the female’s mind to find the link that would complete her, but instead he found something that he had never seen before, which was strange, because an NUC agent has seen everything.  The female’s mind had been compartmentalized, without damaging any of the connections necessary for functioning, on a primitive planet like Earth.  In other words, Trevor was unable to get to the area where the brain and the mind merged to create consciousness, and teleo was impossible.  She was anti-teleo, and this was not the work of the ICUD, but at the same time it favored them.  It marked a new phenomenon, that could be called a mutation, on an interdimensional level.  Number 52, would have to contact the other 11, after he finished his shift.  After # 25 arrived, the female instructed #52 to leave. 

“Hi!”  I said, as my passenger shut the door and began to buckle his seat belt next to me.

“Just get me the fuck out of here as fast as you can, and don’t ask for my god damned address, just take me home,” my passenger angrily blurted out.

Over the past 7 years that I’ve driven a cab here in Salem, I’ve had this guy for a fare at least 100 times, so unless he moved, I knew exactly where he lived.  I gave the car gas as I pulled out of the driveway and onto Lancaster as I headed to South Salem.  After we got started the guy began to complain about his girlfriend that went in the other cab and said that she was a whore.

“Would you have a whore for a girlfriend?”  My passenger asked me. 

Years of experience with emotional drunks told me to ignore him, but since I knew what he was like I knew that he would demand a response, so I told him, “No, but then I’m not you.”

“Okay,” he said, but what if she was a whore, what would you do?

“I’ve been married for the last 39 years,” I told him, “so that’s not an issue for me.”

“What if your wife was a whore?”  He asked me.

“She’s not,” I said, “because a whore accepts money for sex, and my wife never has,” I told him.

“What do you want to bet that your wife would do me and my friends if the price was right?”  My passenger asked.

What my passenger was talking about was the story of Hosea and his wife Gomer, in the Old Testament.  God commanded Hosea to marry a whore, and her unfaithfulness represented God’s marriage and relationship with ancient Israel.  However, on the here and now level, this is the point that a cab driver has to decide whether to get mad and throw the guy out of the cab, or engage him and see how far he can take it.  I chose the latter.  “Exactly what are you talking about and for how much?”  I asked

At that point, my passenger became apologetic and said that he was sorry and didn’t mean to offend me, which was unusual, because he has never apologized before, for anything.  Then as we pulled up to the light he asked me if I wanted to make out, and when I asked what he just said he said he was just kidding, because he was drunk.

This was the same guy who told me that he punched out gay men who purchased him drinks at the 300 Club, back when it was the gay bar.  It was the same guy that spent a year in jail because he was forced to protect himself from his drunkenly insane girlfriend, who broke into his house and began to beat him with a blender.  It was the same guy who threatened to kick my ass because I was asking him to pay me when I got him to his house when he was ridiculously drunk countless times.

When we finally arrived at his house, he paid me and gave me a $5.00 tip, as he stumbled out of the cab.  My next passenger was Frank, the ex minister who now had a gambling addiction, that he appeased after his family went to bed.  This time he was at the Stonefront Tavern, and when he got in the cab, he told me that he lost a lot of money and only had $8.00 to pay for his ride home.

“Take the short way,” he said.

I took the shortest way that I knew, but the fare still came to $8.90.  Frank gave me 3 singles and a five, like he promised and said that if there was a problem to tell the boss to call him, because he was doing radio advertising for the cab company.  I wanted to tell him that he was shorting me and not the boss, who got his cut one way or the other, but decided to suck it in again and told him thank you as he got out of the cab.

Around 2:00 AM, when I was heading West on Mission and was behind an Affordable Towing truck at the light at 25th we both got caught at the light.  When the light changed the tow truck took a minute to get going and as I entered the intersection the light turned yellow, when my cab stalled.  While I was pumping the gas and putting it in neutral, I saw two flashes and realized that I was flashed by the automatic cameras running a red light.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Bars of Salem

            As a cab driver, I’ve become an expert on the bar scene in Salem, because of dropping off and picking up people at each one for the past seven years.  When I get a call to a bar, I can tell you what my passenger will be like in temperament, ethnic group, the amount of the fare, size of the tip and the destination area, in most cases.  Every bar has video poker lottery machines and some even have Keno, as well as serve food, of some kind or another.  The following is a list of all the bars that exist in the Salem area at this time.
19th Hole:  A hangout for people around 30-40 years old.
Stonefront Tavern:   a neighborhood bar that serves food.
Applebee’s South and East:  A Restaurant with a bar.
Chinn’s:  A Chinese restaurant with a lounge.
Sharkey’s:  Pool tables with a bar.
Los Arcos Lounge:  A Mexican restaurant with a bar.
Guadalajara Grill Lounge:  A Mexican restaurant with a bar.
Presley’s Playhouse:  A strip club that serves good food.
Half Penny (Sapphire, Crush, Oasis) A bar that has changed hands many times over the past 5 years, and is currently a nice bar for anybody.
Windjammers:  A local neighborhood bar, with Karaoke some nights, for everybody.
Hong Kong House:  A Chinese restaurant with a bar.
Bigfoot:  A sandwich place with a bar.
Liberty Spirit:  A bar for the 20-35 crowd that has good Karaoke and some pool tables.
South Liberty Bar and Grill:  This bar offers everything for the 20-50 crowd, including dancing, Karaoke and even a band on occasion.
The Underdog:  Neigborhood sports bar, for the 20-40 crowd.
Thompson’s Brew Pub:  Food with good made on site beer.
The Triangle:  Neighborhood bar, for the 20-40 year old crowd, with some pool tables and bands on the weekends, on occasion. 
The Can Can Lounge (Beamer’s):  Hangout for the 20-40 year old crowd with some pool tables.
Southside Speakeasy:  The gay bar, with DJ dancing on the weekends.
Jakes:  Neighborhood bar with pool tables.
Jammers:  Neighborhood bar with pool tables.
Top Dog:  Neighborhood sports bar, with pool tables.
Magoos:  sports bar with a couple of pool tables, downtown for the 20-50 year old crowd.
Cokie’s Landing:  Neighborhood bar, for the 20-60 year old crowd.
Pete’s Place:  Downtown bar, that serves food and is a neutral place to hang out.
Allesandro’s:  A restaurant with a bar.
Copper John’s:  The local gangbanger wanna be hangout and dance club.
DaVinci’s:  A classy restaurant with a bar.
Johnathan’s Oyster Bar:  A classy restaurant with a bar.
Bentley’s:  A classy bar, with a restaurant.
The Brick:  Food and booze for the 20-50 year old crowd.
Brownstown Lounge:  A variety of different functions, with a bar and food and revolving entertainment.
Venti’s:  A bar and restaurant with entertainment.
The Flipside:  A dance club for anybody from 21-50, but over the past 2 years it was also an underage dance club, and a gay dance club.
The Six (Moonbaker’s):  This was the hot spot gangbanger, 20-30 year old hangout to be cool until too much violence got it closed down, and everyone moved over to Copper John’s.
Westside Station:  Local bar, that features Karaoke during the week and bands on the weekend, along with a full bar, food and pool tables.
The Alibi:  Neighborhood hangout for the 20-40 year old crowd.
Fifty West:  Newly renovated, it features food, booze and pool tables for all ages.
Annette’s Westgate:  A restaurant with a bar.
The Ram:  One of the most neutral places to go to, for any age.   Serves good food and made on site micro brew beer.
Roxxy (Lefty’s):  Was a blues club, then a local hot spot, both of which served pizza and beer and offered some of the best entertainment in Salem, until they both went out of business.
Boones Treasury:  Serves food and sometimes has musicians playing.
Hard Candy:  The sleaziest strip club in town.
Front Street Inn:  A local neighborhood bar for anyone.
Nobles:  A local neighborhood bar, for the 30-70 year old crowd.
Johnnies:  A local neighborhood bar for the 20-40 year old crowd.
Duffy’s Hanger:  A neighborhood bar that has music on the weekends from local and regional acts, and is a bike hangout.
Salem Eagles:  A membership club with a full bar, that features a variety of entertainment.
Salem Elks:  A membership club with a full bar, that has different planned functions.
Applebee’s East:  A restaurant with a full bar.
Firebird Lanes:  A bowling alley with a bar.
Freeloader:  A neighborhood bar.
Silver Dollar:  A neighborhood bar with pool tables.
Pink Elephant:  A full bar with pool tables.
The Zen Den:  A small strip bar.
Chang’s:  Lounge in a restaurant.
Georgio’s:  Nice bar for 25-40 year old crowd.
El Patron:  Latino club and bar.
Miguel’s Sports Bar:  Latino sports bar.
El Palacio:  Latino dance club with bands.
Lucky Fortune:  Gangbanger wanna be hangout, and Chinese restaurant with a bar.
Players:  Betting bar for horse and dog races, along with Karaoke and a couple pool tables.
Stars:  The biggest strip bar in town.
Canton Gardens:  Local bar connected to a Chinese restaurant.
La Brisa:  Latino Night Club. 
Blue Willow:  Local bar connected to a Chinese restuarant.
Rocco’s:  Local bar, for 20-70 year old, with some pool tables.
Rack & Cue:  Pool tables with a bar.
Pine Street Pub:  Neighborhood bar.
Scoreboard:  Neighborhood bar that some bikers hang out at.
Riverfront:  Salem’s newest hot dance club, for the 20-30 year old crowd.
Chiam:  Chinese restaurant combined with a bar.
Joe’s Eatery:  Good food, booze and entertainment.
Town & Country Lanes:  Bowling with a bar.
Royal Pub:  Lounge connected to a Chinese restaurant.
D. J.’s:  Neighborhood bar for 20-50 year old crowd, with pool tables.
Ringo’s:  Neighborhood bar, with pool tables.
On The Rocks:  Hot spot for the 20-30 year old crowd.
Keizer Eagles:  A membership club with a full bar, that features a variety of entertainment.
Keizer Elks:  A membership club with a full bar, that has different planned functions
Good Times:  Neighborhood bar.
Mario’s:  Local neighborhood bar for the 20-40 year old crowd.
Porter’s Pub:  Neighborhood bar.
Firehouse:  Strip club on the Northern edge of Salem.
Hitchin’ Post:  Local bar for the 20-40 year old crowd.
Schroeders Guest House:  Restaurant with a lounge.
Point After:  Local neighborhood bar, for the 30-70 year old crowd.
Big Shots:  The place that I recommended to get in a fight, get a drug deal, hire a hit man or find a prostitute, before it was closed down.
Northgate Lanes:  Bowling Alley with a bar.
Von’s Tavern:  Karaoke in Spanish, as well as English.
The Guest House:  A neighborhood restaurant and bar.
Lone Oak:  The local neighborhood bar for the 30-100 year old crowd.
Silver Spur:  The closest thing to a country and western bar, for the 20-40 year old crowd.
Holland’s:  Trailer court resident and low income hot spot, to sing karaoke and hang out.
Cheetah’s:  Although it doesn’t serve alcohol, it has a juice bar and is a strip club for 18 year olds and up.
Silver Inn:  Trailer court resident and low income hot spot, to sing karaoke and hang out.
Hollywood Tavern:  Neighborhood bar for the 30-60 year old crowd.
Shooters:  Neighborhood bar for the 30-60 year old crowd.
Over a dozen Deli/Pubs have opened over the past couple of years, that all have video poker and other lottery games, like Dee Dee’s, Freddies, Kellie’s, Luigi’s, Monaghans, Sammies, U.S. Market and Deli and over a dozen other’s following the lead of Cooper’s Deli.