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Sep 13

Stop the lights

Posted on Saturday, September 13, 2008 in Arty Farty, Rantings, Strange and Unusual, Taxi driving

Ok, this is it. This is the story of one of my worst fears coming true. It’s a good thing I came prepared! It’s difficult to write because it’s still fresh and it gives me palpitations just to think about the nightmares I’m going to have as a result of it; so I’m hoping that flushing it down my blog will help a bit. Sorry, it’s going to get messy in here.


I picked him up from a car park in Bray today as per instructions from base. He appeared straight away, a tall man wearing a grey suit, carrying two bags full of beer from the off licence.

When he sat into the seat he gave me a sharp shock, with a two-second time limit to regain my composure. He pleaded with me to bring him home, desperation was in his voice and his face… his face. This guy would be a good advertisement for why it’s not a good idea to put water on a burning chip-pan. Perhaps it was a petrol bomb? Something had stolen the skin from the entire near-side part of his head and what remained was topped with a bright ginger mop of hair. He stank. He was pissed as a fart and had the worst case of hiccups that I’ve ever heard in a person.

Why did I let him stay in the car? I dunno. Was it because I’m a sucker for a needy, or was it because I was looking for a good story? Who knows. Stayed he did.

He calmed slightly and I asked him where he wanted to go.

“Tallaght” he said.

“Okaaay… now just to warn you that might cost around fifty quid and I’m going to need most of that up front, I’m afraid.”

“Whhaaa? Ah no, I’ll give you a twenty. All I have’s a twenty.”

“Fu.. no way, chancer! I’ve me own mouths to feed. I can bring you to a bus stop or a train station though?”

“Anything, jus gemme outa here. But don’ go back inta d’town, I don’t wanna go there, take the back roads.”

Strange request. I was driving around now, heading south where he pointed. He calmed further as we drove, and started crooning gently.

“I love you… I love you so much… you’re lovely for taking care ‘me. I love you more than I love myself right now….” the rest trailed into mumbles interspersed with ‘Y’know warri mean?’ or, ‘You know what I’m talkin’ about, don’tya?” to which my automated reply – ‘Yep.’ was standard.

I picked up some garbled words, and picked out that what I had here, was your genuine bonifide tinker. The fact was disguised by the scarring and the accent which had a Belfast sort of frosting to it. I asked him about it, and he uttered a few staccato words (still battling seriously stubborn hiccups) – soldier… army… real… with random lines of semi-coherent speech. Turns out he did a few terms alright, interrupted by court, prison, and a coma.

Well. Fucking. Dodgy. Mate.

As we drove, he reached into his bottle bag and withdrew a bottle of Bud. He de-capped it, sipped for a bit, then belched loudly. At least that cleared his hiccups I suppose. He then leaned in towards me and started whispering sweet nothings. The stench was incredible and raised my hackles instantly.

“OI, BACK OFF MATE.” I said sincerely. “Put that belt on and sit the fuck still. Try anything funny again and I’ll radio the coppers. Don’t want that, now, do ye?”

“No. Sorry I’m sorry – sorry. Sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry I just got out of court! Sorry, so sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry etc…” for ten bastard minutes. Then I hit traffic and he had my undivided attention. He asked for my hand (this is the usual stage when drunken old men realise that it’s not appropriate to chat up your driver and get so apologetic that they feel like they have to shake my hand to confirm it.) so I offered it and shook. He rose it to his lips and planted a fat wet kiss on my knuckles.

My squirm factor ploughed the ceiling and I looked in my rear view mirror to see that the dude behind was watching intently. Nice one. My passenger then started to kiss my shoulders wetly and roughly and so I pulled the fuck over.

Bollocks. I can’t get out. Fight or flight or money and car? Bollox to it. Fight.

“OUT YOU GET” I shouted.

“Ahh no don’t do that, I love you. I’m gonna give you a hickey as payment! He chuckled and I laughed maniacally at his fucking hilarious joke. But hey guess what? It wasn’t a joke. He reached over and grabbed my neck with his right hand and pulled himself towards me. Our heads collided and I elevated to Code Green and my sanity left the building.

I whipped one of these bad boys out and shoved the pointed tip into his larynx.

“Don’t fuck with me, fuckface.” It was the best I could come up with I’m afraid. I’ve thought of loads more things I should’ve said since, but the delivery seemed to do the job nevertheless. He sank with huge melancholy back to his side and slid out of the door, slamming it after what seemed like an eternity.

I sped away and my sanity returned. I suddenly felt like I needed to throw up, so I parked by the beach and sat still for a second. Adrenalin ebbed away with the tide and I screamed. I rolled up the windows and closed the sunroof and I screamed for thirty seconds.

When I’d finished, I was a new person. Alive, strong, powerful, shitscared… it’s another patch on the quilt that is my life and I’m better for it. You make your own luck. I had no problem picking up drunks from the Foggy Mirror after that, their leers paled by comparison.

The base fed me sweet tea and cigarettes and cured my shakes by taking the piss for a while and then sent me out on a nice relaxing drive to Terenure. Just what the doctor ordered… rush-hour contemplation.


To people who love me and hold friendships with me, don’t freak out. I mean this most for my mum and dad who will, if they find this, go completely ape-shit. Not without good reason, either – I have babies too and understand the intense worry. They will tell me to quit taxi driving but I’m going to stand my ground. This is life, and if I run away I’ll never grow stronger. I’ve been vulnerable all my life and that was a mistake, toughness must be bet-in through experience, which is what I got today.

Wow, that feels so much better, the burden’s been lifted and I feel floaty with relief. I’m so glad I have a way to get it out! Maybe I won’t have nightmares after all. They’re your nightmares now.

Bring on the comments

  1. I dunno what to say really, I’d be inclined to say can’t you try something in Tesco or something too.

    But I know a strong mind and spirit when I see one.

    Stay safe K8.

  2. Kelley says:

    Would you hate me if all I kept thinking is I wish I could keep my hair up like that, cause those bastards keep falling out and stabbing me in the head… cause I would totally love to do that to my husband when he gets all freaking amorous when I am trying to drive. Or the kids getting noisy.

    You should sell that story to ‘movie of the week’, I want Cameron Dias to play me, the freaky blog commenter.

  3. Jaysus Christ Kate!!! I’m sorry! Take yer man back down to where the whacko drunk fell out and have him kick his arse!!! There is no excuse for such behaviour!!! If it were me, I’d take this size 43/10.5 steel toed boot on my foot and break about half of his teeth. But, I’m just a violent ‘Merkan. :)

    I need a drink!

  4. Quickroute says:

    Hopefully an isolated incident – Pack some pepper spray for this type of stuff

  5. Be careful out there missus. And additional accessories can be found here.

  6. cathy says:

    That is really scary stuff, and true nightmare potential… I am in awe of your courage and quick reaction; and I have to say, “don’t fuck with me, fuckface” definitely has a ring to it. It will catch on, I think.

  7. Will Knott says:

    Freaky scary.
    I might suggest a fold up umbrella in the driver door pocket. How the iron bar got in to the umbrella shaft is beyond me.
    And always dress sharp

  8. K8 says:

    Xbox4nappyrash; I’ve done my stint in Supervalu and I’m not going back – staff tongues are sharper than any knife that could be pulled in a cab!

    Kelley; All you need is a hair bobbin (preferably with hairy balls ;) to wrap around the sticks and a shitload of hairspray! I’m getting suggestions to get a security camera installed – might make for good Youtube entertainment?

    Jefferson; From the state of this bloke, it looks like someone had already got to him with a steel cap and a blow-torch. He looked like one act of violence would unleash hell, so I went for respectful forcefulness instead. I should’ve taken a photo of him to show you how you may have thought twice too! Scary.

    Quickroute; Apparently mouth-wash spray is pretty effective for temporary blindness! Also I can’t get done for it! Will be stopping by the chemist on the way to work today…

    Thriftcriminal; Nice knives!!! I’m tempted, but if I’m caught with that stuff I’m screwed. Justice stands on uneven ground.

    Cathy; I suppose you don’t know how you’re going to react to a situation until you’re in it – it could’ve been worse… could’ve been a really cheesy ‘Make my day.’ which has been over done somewhat.

    Will Knott; Sharpened hair sticks are handy and don’t require any rummaging, though I suppose there’s no harm in dipping them in poison first. I’ve a nice coin-holder which is quite heavy with sharp corners as back up!

  9. Darragh says:

    K8, I really don’t know how any taxi driver does it. Fair play! and, I really wouldn’t blame your parents for going mad with worry after they read that. I have to say, it’s not something that I would want anyone I know to have to contend with.

  10. Grandad says:

    Read it!! Not worried.

    As you have discovered – from the moment you become a parent to the moment you shuffle the mortal coil, you worry about your offspring.

    Having said that, I know you are tough and resourceful. I also know you are physically very strong [LaughingBoy has seen to that]. You know my old adage – everything is an enjoyment or an experience, and you have had an experience. You will learn from it and maybe will become a little more discerning in your pickups??

    Failing that, you could quit and become a writer?

  11. Maxi Cane says:

    I’d have left him there to begin with, but you’re right in wanting to stand your ground and take the best from every situation.

    In the words of the great Tony Montana:

    “Chu got balls, mang!”

  12. Grannymar says:

    A can of hairspray!

  13. Like I said before, a loud noise in an enclosed space messes people up too, confuses the hell out of them, stops thought if you are not expecting it for a good 3 seconds, enough time for you to exit. This 130dB sucker would qualify as loud.

  14. manuel says:

    i;m with grannymar but also add a lighter to it as well……..bastard!

  15. K8 says:

    Darragh; The job’s really not all that bad! I had a guy give me a fiver and ten euro note covered in cocaine today :) I said nothing! *snif*

    Daddyo; Bukes don’t pay for d’groceries and playschool though :( Also waaayy too young to be writing bukes! Thanks for understanding, like I said earlier… it’s a huge relief! I like this job.

    Maxi Cane; You lookin’ at me? Sorry that’s so cheesy! I got such a kick out of the PS Scarface game. He taught me a lot ;) The world is mine.

    Grannymar; I have really really noxious deodorant… does that work?

    Thriftcriminal; Da linky not worky.

    Manuel; But me seat covers!!! Next one gets the pointy stick up his darkside.

  16. Jaysus K8 that’s a bit too close for comfort imo.Creepy baxtard!Fair play to you for not losing your nerve.I agree with grannymar,a small can of elnett is handy to have in the side pocket of the door

    Quick thinking on the hair sticks-Remember “every tool is a weapon if you use it the right way”!!

  17. Kate says:

    Aren’t people just horrible sometimes? I’m sorry he rumpled your day. I’d suggest sharpening the ends of your hair things, just in case…

  18. Natalie says:

    Well K8, the stories just get more intersting…and more scary! You are right abou sticking it out and all that but there are also lessons that we learn and I think you just learned to be discerning, next time you come across someone like that for goodness sake drive right by! Again I will say….stay safe!!!

  19. Jo says:


    I wonder if it was sort of better that he was this grotesque realised from your nightmares, rather than a nasty psycho hiding in a business suit.

    Also, if you can deal with that so well, you can deal with anything.

    On the other side of the wheel, a friend of a friend got driven half way home one night, the driver stopped somewhere quiet and locked all the doors and got in the back. He started to assault her, and she started to cry and said ‘do whatever you want, don’t hurt me’, then HE started to cry and said ‘I can’t do this’ and drove her home…

    I don’t know what was going on there. Why the fuck did he feel he should rape someone?

    Anyway, maybe it’s worth facing your fears and realising what an ass kicking wonder woman you are! You should get some of THESE:

  20. My god no wonder you were a bit stressed when i saw you. I think next time you should carry a bottle of pepper spray with you. A similer thing happened to me a few years back in a hotle i useed to work in. Am really glad your ok. Stay safe on the road kate

  21. K8 says:

    Green of Eye; I have potent deodorant. Leaves no white marks and guaranteed to leave you coughing like a maniac for 30 minutes after use.

    Kate; The strange thing is, he really didn’t rumple me up too much, he made me feel stronger and more assertive which has to be a good thing.

    Natalie; If he had’ve just stuck his head through the window I would have declined him, but he had sat in by that stage and was harder to turf out. Next time I might fake an asthma attack or something.

    Jo; Wow, strange story. Most assailants get more of a kick when their victim pleads apparently, that bloke sounds like he’s fighting serious internal battles. Blinding ninja cuffs?! Gotta get me some of those babies!

    Vicky; Thanks :) I’d get busted for using pepper spray though. Apparently breath spray works just as well though!

  22. TheChrisD says:

    Well at least you know when exactly to crack and start cussing the mouth off of you :)

    Just try not to pick another one up! Although it’s like that time where I was getting the bus back home from a day in college, I got some Burger King to take away and then went back to the stop to wait. The bus came and the fecker driving it refused me, just because I had my food with me.

    Although the timetable said the next bus was only 15-20 minutes away, the next bus came an hour later.

    And it pissed rain in the meantime.


  23. Medbh says:

    You fucking rock, K8!
    You should be so proud of your courage and resourcefulness. I love the idea of women using the trappings of femininity as weapons as you did with the chopsticks.
    And “fuckface” is exactly what I would have said in that instance.
    Woo hoo!

  24. You’re a brave lady. Be careful… and don’t pick up weirdos!

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