friday night and i hadnt driven all week

everything butt

it was oscar sunday, griffith park. two babes in their 20s sporting skin tight outfits heading to venice. first time to LA. from utah.

the best way to describe the outfits are aerobicise, parachute gear, no bra, white nikes. but mostly power rangers.and sunglasses.

because it was a few hours before the oscars, hollywood was a mess. roads were closed. demonstrators.  clogged freeways, so i was more than happy to take a ride to the beach even though i would only get $28. fuck it. waze said it would only take 45 minutes.

i knew it was a lie. ended up being an hour but immediately we were talking sex drugs and youtube.

blonde in the back, 22, told me she wants to be a sugar baby “my tastes are very expensive. i need a sugar daddy who understands that.” she stated as her friend, pre med, also blonde but maybe more natural? thus darker? giggled, clearly having heard this proclamation more than once.

are you down for whatever from this man?

i mean if he takes care of me, i’ll take care of him.

you’re 22? how old are you willing to go?

40? maybe 42?

i hate to tell you this, miss utah, but the 40 year old sugar daddies wouldnt appreciate you. could you go older? wiser? easier to please?

have you heard of anna nicole smith before, ladies?

they hadnt so i told them the tale. when it was over they were blown away. as was i. how did none of it ring a bell? the legend of anna has died with gen z? mama mia.

by the time we got on the 101 near coldwater miss utah had settled on 60 as her ceiling.

what if he wanted you to bring a friend or two home from the club? i asked

why would he want something more than what i can give? she asked, seriously.

lets pretend this man is truly wealthy. and has traveled the world. and has seen and done some things we cant even imagine, he might request some things that don’t make a lot of sense on paper, but in this uber we dont kink shame. life is fleeting.

fine, she sighed looking out at a wee bit of traffic as we approached the 405.

the ladies were headed to a bar in santa monica they accidentally thought was in venice.

so i had them change the destination on their app, which lost me a few bucks but who’s counting. they were on a mission to retrieve the blonde’s wallet which they had accidentally left behind Oscar Saturday because their outfits had no pockets

first time in LA you say? did the men of santa monica beach pay you any mind?

oh yes. free drinks all night. thats why we left without knowing we had no wallet, miss pre-med said. but ive been checking the cards online and no one has charged anything on them, so we are hoping the manager found it last night.

tell me about utah.

it’s terrible.

i hear it’s pretty.

this is pretty, one of them said while we cruised in the fast lane between the unusually green hills of bel air and brentwood.

we had established early that one was catholic the other was agnostic and neither had boyfriends. so i asked, whats it like dating mormon guys.

so weird they both said in perfect harmony then laughed

i hear they do everything but, i asked.

EVERYTHING BUTT, miss utah laughed and kept laughing cracking herself up. her friend joined in.

because they think only pee-pee to pee-pee sex is sex?

yes they said and asked if i had ever heard of soaking?

is that where the dude goes in slowly but then just lays there without moving?

yes! they screamed, startling me as we took the curve from the 405 to the 10 west, sin in our eyes, i mean sun.

but here’s the weird part, the blonde said, there’s a friend who’s The Shaker. she laughed

so hard she farted. then her friend laughed. i rolled down the windows and they laughed more. perfect day.

The Shaker, the future doctor explained, shakes the bed so neither party engaged in the lovin can be held accountable bc they arent the ones moving… they just happen to be on a bed being rattled around by the pal who has to feel a bit awkward.

we got stuck exiting onto the 4th street off ramp so i took off my cubs cap and said out loud, Lord, these are two lovely young ladies. please help them find their wallet, and eventually realize their dreams in the nicest ways.


$12.45 tip.

mister and missus

sometimes you gotta wait. sometimes you dont mind it.

they were coming out of a sports bar. slightly older than the type youd see exciting such a joint. turned out he had just retired and she was a year away. he was from london. she from the valley.

both had been married before. neither thought lightning would strike twice but right away you could see these two weren’t the problems in any relationship.

they laughed. made space for each other. complemented. allowed each other to finish telling tales on the long trip due to traffic on the 10

we were going from the marina to pasadena. finally i was gonna make a few bucks that night. so i didnt mind waiting as she used her cane to get in while he kept the door open as if they were on their first date.

dont let my motorhead tshirt fool you, im a sucker for romance and love asking people about their first dates, first kisses, and first time knowing whoops ive fallen into something suddenly out of control.

i was in a tom waits cover band he said from the back seat, holding his bride’s hand. i wasn’t allowed to play any instruments back in london so when i moved in with some lads in echo park i picked up the bass and they taught me the rudiments by learning tom waits songs together.

omg rain dogs is one of my all time faves, i told them.

earlier than that, he said. ’70s tom waits, when he was a beat poet, the crystal gayle years.

i didnt have the heart to tell me that was my least favorite era but any style of the gravelly voiced poet is better than most. we crept along the 10 and i turned down the radio.

her friend brought her to the party which was originally a practice in my mate’s living room but people began to appear like this one and before you know it, it was a party.

the missus chimed in by saying i didnt tell him until later that i didnt know who the hell tom waits was, which is ironic because i worked at warners when he was signed to asylum.

do you fall in love with people and their little details? is it just a libra thing? it’s good i dont have a meter like an old school cab because when she said that i wanted to give them the rest of the ride free. which is reason a million i need to figure out what im doing wrong with the lottery numbers.

i knew she didn’t know tom waits, he chuckled.

sometimes the conversations get so sweet and tender you just want to sigh, which i did right as the traffic opened up and i gunned it around the curve next to the convention center.

what was your wedding song, i asked?

we had two, she said, but don’t tell anyone because we didn’t have the rights cleared.

her husband laughed, there were 50 people there. who would care?
she cared. still does apparently.

my favorite song since being a little girl was elvis’ cant help falling in love with you, but i really enjoy bruce springsteen’s version and he put it on tape for me when we were courting

the one i choose was ‘Little Trip to Heaven,’ he said.

‘On the Wings of Your Love,’ she finished.

so i said, hey siri, play little trip to heaven on the wings of your love by tom waits.

the muted trumpet set the tone of the old school romantic tune. you could almost smell the cigarette smoke in whatever studio he recorded it in.

or was it a bar

or was it a dimly lit living room apartment in pasadena where they’d later recreate that first dance moment while the warm santa ana winds sneak in through the cracks of the old house

$7 tip

works two jobs but no car

his name was Jamaal. picked him up at the Fox Hills Mall in Culver City. many call it the Westfield Culver City now, but Black folks overwhelmingly call it by its original name.

we were heading to the Ralph’s in nearby Inglewood. he asked if he could vape weed. i said just roll down the window so i dont catch a buzz.

my nigga he said, relieved.

met this bitch on facebook he said while exhaling an enormous cloud out the back window of the benz. rain stopped so i cracked open the moonroof a tad because i feared he smoked stronger stuff than i do.

my cousin knew her and told her i could get her some weed. but i had been staying in Lancaster not LA so i didnt have any, or any money, but when i saw her FB picture i could see she was fine so i told her id chill with her and we could share my last pre-roll. it was a big ass spliff of the kush. not this hood shit.

she was cool. lived in a house! kids toys were everywhere. but we turned on a little movie, smoked, chilled, immediately bonded. maybe i moved to fast. fucked up.

next time i came over she told me she has five kids. i could only hear two. but if you saw her body you’d ask where did they come from? not from that! she was fit. funny. and very giving.


we didnt have sex for the longest but she took care of me every time. without asking.
why didn’t you have sex?

it wasn’t even like that. i felt a connection. maybe she was someones side chick. i dont know. i liked her.

after a while the kids started getting annoyed with me. asking when do you go to work? where are your kids? they were jealous of the time their mother was spending with me and not them.

that first night no one knocked on the door, but because they were 5 to 11 years-old, after a while one would knock, she would tell them to go play, and then 10 minutes later another would knock. i had to put a lock on the door because some of Bebe’s kids just walked right in.

but i kept going back.

could she cook?

that’s what got me. she could cook anything. with a smile. with dat ass swaying to the music, being all nice to the kids, all who had different daddies. she’d give me plates to go to work with. i work nights. i always had food. my stomach my head and my soul were right.

five kids, does that mean she was strict about the condoms or not at all strict?

no trojans, ever.

the ride was going to pay me $20. one side of town to the other. which meant he was paying probably $50. so i said, so wait you also work nights and you take ubers every night to these jobs? where’s your car?

so she had bad credit. i had good credit. she had no car and all these kids. she said she would put down the down payment on a mini van / suv if i put it under my name.


but after she got the car she sort of changed. and i didnt like it. but i was stuck. i had clothes over there, now a car. she wasn’t doing all the things any more. and i was like, how am i taking some other man’s son to football practice and picking up some other man’s daughter from school in the morning when i should be sleep?

and im not the king of the castle?

so i told her i needed to take a little time out and you know what that ho did? she put sugar in the gas tank.


so i stopped paying the payments and let it get repoed. but here’s the thing. repo sells it and you owe whats left on the loan. i bought it for 25, they sold it for 15, so i owe 10.

how did they sell it for 15? wasn’t it destroyed?

her nosy ass neighbor told me about the sugar before i started it. so it never got in the engine!


anyway new subject. but thats why i usually have this other uber driver who ive worked out a deal with, he takes me back and forth for half and i give him weed. but he couldnt do it tonight, but im glad i got you. his car stink.

so theres this white girl at my other job at Ralphs. she lets me rub up against her. fine as hell. booty. eyes. everything. but married. she giggles and says ive been so good until now.

where do you rub her?

up against her ass, legs….

no, where in the Ralphs? arent there cameras everywhere? Black man cant be doing that with a white girl in the back room.

back room? this be in the aisles. any where nobody at.

worse! what about the cameras?

im a manager. who you think erases those tapes every night?

he laughed and blew a cartoonishly looking cloud out of the window.

its very hard to make money on tuesdays

sergio calls them Terrible Tuesdays

i wasnt able to get out of the house until 5pm

so i thought maybe i should do an experiment where i intentionally drive when traffic is its worst and see what sort of money i can make

my nephew plays video games on the easy mode to learn

i play them on the hardest mode to learn

got a beautiful chinese woman from usc going to her boyfriends house in laguna beach

seems long. is long, but in the middle of the night it only takes an hour and i get $40

usually i wouldnt do it but $40 for any ride on a tuesday is great.

she said where she lived in china was during a time when ppl could only have one kid.

some families would kill the newborn girl or get an abortion if they knew it was gonna be a girl. but what happened was there were Alllll these guys and not many women.

i asked her if that was true

she said yes

i said so is it true that the men would try super hard to woo pretty girls like you because they were competing against like 10 other dudes for the same hot babe?

she said yes.

i said so did you ever make them do crazy things like buy you shoes or coats or top hats?

she said no. that she didnt want to take advantage of anyone.

also she said it was hard for the guys. lots of them visited the philippines or africa to find wives.

and i said, so is your boyfriend from your part of china?

she said im not dating a chinese man. mine is italian.

i said omg poor poor chinese guys. one of the few super smart super beautiful chinese girls in their town and she runs away to america and hooks up with an italian guy!

we laughed.

no tip.

not all the rides end cute

white oak blvd. afternoon. 24. so calm. we were in traffic but who cares.

she asked, were you in a frat?

do i look like i was?

lol no but you’re really outgoing

thank you.

i wanted to join a sorority because i didnt know many girls and i was going to rush one where my only friend was

but she gave me the heads up and said

you might not want to do this, they’re going to make you sit in a row

with the other girls rushing

and make you wear a dress or a skirt

and tell you to take off your drawers

and sit on the paper towel on the chair

and then they’re going to turn on the tv

that is showing lesbo porno

and you all will have to watch it for a half hour

and then you have to stand up

and if the paper towel is wet

you’re gone.

no lesbians in our house.

the librarian

im very happy today. might have been from Rosa who i picked up in the Arts District last night in the rain.
i have a terrible time with ADHD and even though i love recreational drugs these pharmaceuticals they have prescribed to me are the devil.
one made me wanna kill. one made me wanna kiss. and the one im on now suspiciously does nothing even though its 2x the dose of what they had given me.
one thing my condition does tho is allows me to drive beautifully in the rain in traffic on a highway of drunks at night while a young woman in super tight ripped pants tells me dirty things.
i can see every rain drop and predict all the cars movements. i can also hear intentions.
and last night, dear reader, 29 year old Rosa wanted some.
was she beautiful? am i?
was she dying for it? was i?
is there one thing i would risk my job as a rideshare driver for which would end this slow drip of tales? um.
messy hair. thick glasses. sloppy firehouse red lipstick. all the things i love. and worse: she wanted to talk about books.
talk rosa. tell me everything.
i am a librarian, she said.
libraries are my safe space. she explained. when i love a book its my new friend. i dont want the book to end. i speed read through most of it and hit the brakes as its wrapping up.
omg rosa ive never finished my favorite books.
ME NEITHER she shrieked, then leaned closer.
what are you reading now i asked, knowing this was foolish because i havent read a book other than the bible in forever because of the previously stated condition and impotence of the meds.
i listen on “tape” now. is that reading? nah.
im nearly done with a very dark version of harry potter she said sheepishly. ironically, as we splashed along the 101 into the Valley past Universal Studios where the wizard’s LA castle looms.
its about after Harry dies and many of the witches like Hermione are rounded up and bred like in The Handmaids Tale.
bred, she said in a way that sounded a bit guilty and confessional. as if i was the only person she has ever admitted to loving this book.
so wait, is it Fan Fiction?
omg yes! she said and flung back into her seat, beaming. you know of this genre?
im a million years old, young rosa, i know more than i should.
turn around, she said, as we were now speeding down the soaked 170 on our way to porter ranch. i want to see you.
instead of obeying and crashing i lowered my rear view mirror and turned on the dome light.
you dont look old anthony, she said.
youre only as old as yr girlfriend feels. but wait a minute – what Valley library has dirty ass Harry Potter Fan Fic i asked.
oh im in a No Judgement Book Club Facebook Group where we burn through books like these in a week and then talk about it.
you know what the Good Book says about judging one another, i asked.
she said yes i do, i was baptised two years ago, i love the Bible.
Rosa, you wont believe this, but the Bible is the only book-book that can hold my attention any more.
there was a silence from the back seat. and then a quiet i love the bible so much.
then, america, two turned on strangers got in a very deep discussion about how amazing the bible is as both a book, a sci fi novel, a collection of puzzling poems, and a fascinating study of human nature.
are we in love, rosa?
nervous laughter followed by this is the best uber ride ive ever been in.
we got to her gated community and she said the code is {redacted} which i punched in.
the gate slid open and she said
remember it.

blonde. bleached.

something in her nose. 28. wonderful.

she gets in i asker how shes doing and she says fine with a sigh so i look at Waze and say you have 16 minutes. lets hear it.

pisces. alcoholic, almost always bad relationships. so sweet. good clothes. way into fentanyl.

what kind of high is it?

she couldnt say. for the first year she told me she’d get sick. every time.

why would you do something for a year that made you sick?

she couldnt say.

picked her up in encino. we were going to universal. i coulda taken the freeway but ventura blvd was just as slow so i kept on it thinking about how there used to be a tower outlet over there, moby disc over there…

tell me about your first time doing fentanyl

my boyfriend blew it into my face. i barely inhaled. I was scared. but after a while i let it in.

what was it like?

it was good then it was bad. then i got sick. but it was like i had been dope sick, like i had been taking it for years.

i told her fentanyl seems so scary because you could OD over the smallest amounts

she said, i have six cans of narcan at all times because one time i blacked out and my boyfriend used two cans of narcan on me but it didn’t bring me back to life. he freaked out, tearing the apartment apart looking for another can and finally found one. he said my lips were losing color. the third one worked.

did you see a light at the end of the tunnel? did you see god? heaven?

i saw nothing.

so when you come back from death, how do you feel?

she said, the problem with narcan and fentanyl is narcan blocks all the nice parts of opiates, so you’re immediately withdrawing and fentanyl withdrawals ARE THE WORST. i have kicked everything. ive been doing this for 10 years. fent withdrawls, you want to rip off your own skin.

so should people duct tape a joint to their narcan to help ease the come down i asked her

you know that might be a good idea. or a beer.

or she said
a hug.

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 is 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.

she made me do three things i hate

she made me wait
she added a stop in the middle of the ride
and we had to wait on a crowded street for her child to get out of school
but she was poor, Black and carrying a newborn so what was i gonna do, add to her struggle?
i dont even know how i got over there but i was way over there around 2pm
i know because when i arrived i texted her in the app saying “im on 68th street, not Fig. at the corner.”
and she texted back, “ok, but my son doesnt get out of school until 2:11.”
most days i would have canceled right then because wtf?
when you order rideshare, it tells you how far away the nearest car is and so if your child’s school is 5 minutes away and the app says a driver is 10 minutes away, well, don’t order the car too early.
it was not the best part of town. hookers. motels. even the palm trees looked like they had seen too much and needed a vacation.
so i didnt cancel. i waited and waved people around me.
with one minute to go on the 5 minute timer, she came out with a 6 month old in a car seat wrapped in a few baby blankets. it was unseasonably cold. my car was warm.
she was beautiful. but in an ll cool j ’round the way girl type. like the palm trees, she’d seen too much.
huge smile despite being overwhelmed.
she explained we were going to the school
“snatch up my son”
and come straight back to the apartment complex next to the mexican mini mart.
any time a request comes in that mentions an additional stop, i decline the trip. in a way its double the work for not double the pay, and it involves waiting.
i have been waiting my whole life for things, namely the cubs to win the world series, but now that’s been achieved, the end of my life approaches, so i wanna get everything in as fast as i can
i do not want to be looking at women in lingerie and bikinis parading up and down this south central street while i wait for this that and the other.
this woman was on 68th Place on the east side of south central and i realized decades ago i lived on 68th on the other side, in inglewood.
she said, “oh the wild side!”
“thats the wild side?” i asked in a shocked tone, “you got big booty bitches out here twerking in broad daylight trying to make it happen, and the Wood is the wild side?”
she laughed and laughed. then said, “i could be pushing a stroller down that street on a sunday morning and a truck will honk and ask how much. i gotta move.”
we got to the school and the pickup side street was packed full of cars and minivans. it was a narrow street to begin with, but now there were cars on both sides trying to creep close to the chain link fence where their clueless kids loligagged on the playground side ignoring the calls and honks from their parents
my passenger chimed in TOMMY! oh thats not Tommy. Where’s my child?
i saw a little opening closer to the gate and creeped the Benz between on car or pickup truck, inches from disaster.
a kid in his parents car – which was creeping towards us – hung out the back seat window and then knocked on the drivers window at his mom. he was bored. she was in a frenzy like the rest of us.
Tommy, who is in 1st grade, and adorable, finally appeared and sauntered over to the car. not a care in the world.
now i had to get through.
it was not easy. and it took a while.
a man in an old oldsmobile saw i only had an inch of clearance on either side of my doors, and waved me to him. i trusted him. he knew neither of us should have been in this mess. i followed his hand motions and when i made it through and cruised by him
we high fived.
in the back seat, Tommy said, “mommy i love you.”
i said, “what about me, Tommy, did you see i just got us through all that?”
“how does he know my name, mommy?” he asked quietly, but not quietly enough.
“oh i know everything about you. I know you have two girlfriends, a Mexican and a Sister…”
his mom said, “oh he doesn’t like Black girls.”
why not? i asked.
“they’re mean to him,” she said.
“and I know you love Roblox.” i said and he gasped.
lucky guess.
when we were nearly home the baby gurgled and then coughed loudly.
“damn. that was a grown person cough,” the mom said to the little girl. “we getting you home baby. i’ll heat up some nyquil.”
$2 tip.