Author – Shoeless guy
I’d had a busy day with plenty of fares even with my payment machine refusing cards. I was about to switch off my ‘FOR HIRE’ sign and head home when some 6ft ‘trendy
bearded’ idiot in a grey suit stepped out in front of my cab shouting ‘TAXI’. My sudden stop enabled two young men in suits to get in my cab followed by the idiot that I nearly hit. They where merry in drink but not totally drunk. No polite request but a demand to be taken out of town. The traffic was heavy and they where getting impatient when one shouted arrogantly “Stop driver! we’re getting the tube as you’re too slow” and proceeded to shove his debit card through the payment hatch. “Sorry guys” I said politely “machine is down, cash only I’m afraid”. “We have no cash” explained the tall blond haired guy, i heard the others call him Mike “Can you find an ATM machine on route”. I would of happily kicked them out without payment and just head home but their rudeness stopped me. I passed several ATM machines but couldn’t stop due to the traffic, eventually I found a bank with several ATM’s, the blond guy called Mike got out and tried every cash machine without success, as he walked back to the taxi I noticed his footwear, nice expensive brogue shoes. As soon as he was back inside the cab I locked the doors and demanded something as collateral until they could pay the fare. The bearded guy shouted in a condescending manner that anything I suggested was far too valuable for paying a lousy taxi fare. His arrogance was becoming unbearable when the guy sat between him and Mike suggested a supermarket with cashback facilities and more urgently ‘toilets’. I agreed and drove off.
With their desperation for a piss they would agree to anything, so I took my time finding a supermarket. I deliberately parked my cab furthest away from the supermarket entrance. Another request for collateral was dismissed. So I said to the bearded guy “To stop you doing a runner after getting out of my taxi, give me your shoes, it’s the only way your getting out”. He stared at me as if in defiance, his mates laughed and said “Yeah Nick give him your shoes” he was about to swear when I shouted “SHOES NOW” he reluctantly undid his laces and removed his shoes revealing plain black socks, I couldn’t believe I got a 6ft tall man to give me his shoes. He squeezed them through the money hatch in the cabs partition. I looked at them, I could smell the warm patent leather and threw them in the front passenger footwell. I knew they where expensive and they alone would cover the cost of the taxi fare but I wasn’t finished. The other two where still laughing at their friends embarrassment. “Not enough” I said then looked at the guy sat in the middle, his laughter stopped as I demanded his too, “Take off your shoes and give them to me”, he did reluctantly and passed them through the hatch, another strong smell of leather and feet from his warm shoes. I threw them next to the other pair. He called me a pratt, I wasn’t bothered, he was in his socks and I had his shoes. Mike, the last remaining wearer of footwear shouted “Can we get out now for crying out loud, I need a piss”, “Not until you also hand over your shoes” I said. The 6ft tall blond stared at his friends shoeless feet, looked down at his own shoes and realised his fate. “Your not laughing now” I said as he undid the laces of his tan Brogues, he slipped them off his feet and handed them to me. “Nice expensive shoes” I said to him as I also threw them into the footwell next to the other pairs of ransomed footwear. They sat on the back seat of my cab, three strapping men in their expensive grey suits and black socked feet, expressing their embarrassment by hiding one socked foot behind the other repeatedly. ‘Not so arrogant now are we boys’ I thought to myself as I unlocked the doors. They got out and clumsily walked quickly in their socks across the large car park towards the entrance of the supermarket and disappeared inside.
They where either drunk, stupid or just too materialistic to hand over a watch. After all depositing a watch would not of been noticed by anyone, but for all three to give up their shoes and walk around a supermarket in their socks was just plain stupid and very very noticeable.
Whilst they where gone I took off my cheap brown shoes and tried on Nick’s black patent leather shoes, they where still quite warm and really comfortable. I then tried Mike’s tan Brogues, they looked good on the tall blond’s feet, even better on mine and I wanted to keep them for myself as I could never justify the cost of a pair. Whilst waiting I listened to the radio news and learned of a banking problem, I realised it wasn’t their fault. I had passed caring about the fare, the enjoyment of persuading three annoying young men to part with their shoes and walk into a supermarket in socked feet was priceless. Even though they where arrogant pigs, I wanted to drive off leaving them stranded penny less and shoeless miles from home but I took pity on them and waited.
They hobbled in socked feet back to the taxi, as soon as the doors closed I locked them and drove out of the car park. I was about to let them have their shoes when Nick ‘demanded’ them back, he also lied about having the cash. His annoyance changed my mind, I drove nowhere near their destination and pulled over. I asked again for payment, Mike the tall blond said ‘I am really sorry but we still haven’t got the cash” I picked up their shoes and was about to give them back when Nick mouthed off again “Give us our shoes and let us out”. I told them I knew they had no cash and why, I was about to give them back again but because of Nicks further annoyance I threw their shoes back into the footwell. I shouted at Nick “Do you ever shut that mouth of yours or are you enjoying being shoeless and confined in my cab?” Mike the blond guy gave me his watch as payment, neither cheap nor expensive it covered more than the cost of the fare. I called the arrogant bearded Nick a shit and told him the homeless people across the road had more respect than them. I picked up Nick’s shoes and opened the front passenger window, I told him he had nice shoes, he looked at them, his bearded jaw dropped as I threw them out of the open window, his big mouth demanded to be let out to get his shoes as he glanced over to the homeless people. I picked up the other pair of black
shoes and as I threw them out, their owner called me a bastard. Finally I told the tall
blond guy how much I admired his expensive footwear and quickly threw them out of the door window landing in the darkness next to the other men’s shoes. I told him the homeless people would appreciate them. I sounded the car horn as I pulled away, their heads turned from the open window to the homeless people whose attention had turned to the pile of expensive patent leather shoes on the roadside. No sooner had I moved I slowed to a halt and unlocked the doors. The three tall young men in their expensive grey suits exited the taxi and ran in their socked feet to retrieve their shoes before the homeless people got to them. I drove off looking in my rear view mirror it was a very close race between them all to reach the expensive patent leather shoes.
I did feel guilty though, not only did I have Mike’s watch I also have his expensive shoes. I had driven from the supermarket in my socks and there where four pairs of shoes in the footwell including mine. I’d actually thrown my own shoes out of the window instead of Mike’s.
Although I had expected to finish work several hours earlier I’d enjoyed watching the captive arrogant young men squirm with embarrassment without their shoes. It was better than a night in front of the TV. Perhaps I should do it again!