call me abi

Any time you pick up someone from LAX with no luggage, you’re in for a treat.

This week I actually took a family of 5 from a grocery store in Inglewood to LAX, Turks claiming to be headed to Hawaii, and they had no luggage.

Dad sat in front, mom and the three 6 to 9 year old kids in the back. I was all, “I hear Turkey is mostly Muslim.”

“That’s right,” the dad said.

“Are you Muslim?” I asked, remembering that in polite company you shouldn’t talk about religion or politics, but I think there’s a polite way you can do it.

“Yes we are,” he said. They seemed poor. But outside of my Mercedes I probably seem poor. But thanks to you and all of my other friends, I have had the richest life.

“Tell me something about the Quran I probably don’t know,” I asked.

The kids were enthralled by me for some reason. Huge smiles. It could have been because when I asked them where they were flying to, and they told me Hawaii, I asked them to tell me the Turkish word for brother bc I want to be their brother.

Turns out there’s several words for brother, one being specifically older brother: abi.

I’m your abi now, kids, I told them and they laughed and hugged each other as they giggled.

“The virgin Mary has over 100 pages dedicated to her in the Quran,” the dad said.

WTF?! Why? I asked.

He said, “Muslims recognize Jesus as a very important figure because he was born as a miracle – no sex, no father, just a mother. But Mary gave birth while being a Virgin. That’s a bigger miracle.”

And now I’ve gotta read the Quran to see what those 100 pages are all about.

Which brings us to today’s luggage-less traveler. A gentleman named Petey from Miami, Oklahoma. “Not that Miami,” he stressed, very quietly. He was a very timid fellow.

We were headed to Hollywood Presbyterian hospital where Petey was going to do something that, quite frankly, I’m not sure he will succeed at.

9 months ago he knocked up a stripper who he had met two years previously. Prettiest girl in Miami, he beamed. They met on Facebook because she was looking for someone who could drive her home after work.
Petey was about 30 years old and when I asked him what he did in Miami he told me he was a Box Boy at the supermarket. Normally he would get around 6am to go to work but once he met his lady, he would wake up at 3am to fetch her and drive her home.

Once there, she would do meth and he would try to score with her. Apparently he had a few lucky nights. But as soon as her parole (!) officer found out she was pregnant, he informed her that no court would grant her custody because she has a police record, strips, and has a raging meth addiction.

So she skipped town and landed in Hollywood. Blocks away from my apartment, it so happens.

“I love her but she’s crazy.” he whispered.

“No offence, Petey, but you’re a little crazy too,” I told him with the tone of an older brother, an abi, if you will.

“You flew out here with no change of clothes, you don’t even have a duffle bag or backpack. And your plan is to somehow take a newborn child and, what, fly home with it by yourself? You’re gonna need a carseat just to get in the Uber.”

“You’re right,” he agreed. “I did not plan this very well.” And then he told me that this would be his first child and he couldn’t sleep knowing that she surrounds herself with drug addicts, dealers, hookers, and pimps.

Just then his phone rang. It was the soon to be baby mama.

“I’m on the way,” he said. “This is so weird being here. I see the Hollywood sign. The driver showed me where Biggie was killed.”

They exchanged I love yous numerous times which confused me and he later explained it was the only way he figured she would sign the Declaration of Paternity and allow him to sign the Birth Certificate when the boy is born in a few days.

We drove by a giant billboard advertising condoms. I pointed. He laughed.

He told me his daddy was a pool shark and his momma was a thief. He didn’t want his son around either of them or anyone except for his actual girlfriend back home who was “a cougar” with three grown kids who cant wait to have an infant in her arms again.

“Fine fine fine, but how are you going to feed that baby on the airplane on your way home? Isn’t the baby momma going to get suspicious when you ask her to pump a dozen bottles of mothers milk into bottles? Also, how will you keep them warm? Also WTF Petey?!”

He told me he only has money for bus fare home, not airfare. And he was planning on getting formula at Walmart.

AINT NO WALMARTS ANYWHERE NEAR HOLLYWOOD PETEY! I said thinking, do I need to let him crash in my living room? Do I need to raise this baby?

Then I asked, “are you a Christian man?” He said he was.

So I said, lets pray. And I took off my Cubs cap at the stop light.

“Lord please help Petey figure out how to get his child to safety. He’s going to need your help. His heart is in the right place. And this looks like a job that he can’t do alone. So please guide him.”

“Amen,” Petey said and when we pulled up to the hospital, he got out, empty handed except for his Samsung phone, and said thank you.

$3.88 tip.