Cab Driver for the Apocalypse
She’s not a big tipper. Still, I come when she calls, pick her up all hours of the night and day; corner of Flood and Ark, under the crumbling Four Horsemen Bypass, outside a fall-out shelter with glowing cement walls. Sometimes she looks like death warmed over: a ragged, stunning specter who holds out her next destination scrawled on a scrap of paper, ink still smoking. Other times, her blood-red lipstick matches sharpened stilettos and a spangled dress stitched together with jewels mined from the marrow of Sodom and Gomorra. That’s when she tells me, “Keep the engine running, Luce,” in her throaty, plague-soaked whisper, swivels her legs out the door I hold open, brushes my cheek with hers. My skin sizzles for hours afterwards, like fat over coals.
No, it’s not about the money – really. I like knowing she can depend on me to get her from one event to the next. I make sure my cab is gassed up, back seat vacuumed, tinted windows closed against intrusions by paparazzi and popes. Once I had this Archangel go all gangsta on me. Asshole tried to slit my tires with his sword! One toss of that pitchfork I keep between the front seats and he’s over in Bumfuck, Idaho getting crucified by that band of Evangelical Survivalists. Don’t mess with my Apocalypse, you know?
Anyway, it’s been a while since any trouble like that. Now my job is mostly trying to avoid brimstone pot holes and those zombie rats on I-666. Jesus but those suckers are hard to scrub off, and the fleas … Between rides, I hang out at The Antichrist, sip whatever brew is on tap, watch Beast show off his latest tattoo. For an abomination, he’s surprisingly innovative; that scene he calls “Armageddon” covers his whole chest without once repeating itself. “Not into motifs,” he says, “got enough of that from my undergrad comp course to last a lifetime.” The guys laugh, even if we have heard that joke before.
When my phone rings, my day – or night – really begins. This time it’s a text. Just three words: “Sixth and Trump.”
No idea where that is, but I’ve got a helluva good GPS. Can’t keep the Apocalypse waiting.
Deborah A. Miranda