I’m thankful when I turn on the ignition that I’ve been listening to blues tonight, and not something more manic. The guy in paper hospital pants and flip-flops who I’ve just picked up from Adventist is mumbling to himself, and looks and smells like he hasn’t seen soap since the Reagan era. The last thing I want to do is upset him. All I need to do is shoot down 102nd to a dive motel on Sandy and have him sign a voucher so the hospital can pay for the trip.
After three minutes, I’ve almost forgotten him until the song changes and Howlin’ Wolf begins moaning about how he asked for water and she brought him gasoline.
“Manamax!” comes a scream from the back seat, and I’m literally jolted upright.
“She brought me gasoline AND AN AX!” he shrieks, and begins laughing hysterically.
“Oh,” I say. “OK.”
“OK,” I think to myself. “You’re stuck in a car with an insane man who’s currently laughing like the Joker at the hilarious idea of an ax being present. This is really happening, but it’s fine, because you’re going to be cool, drive him to his motel, and get him the fuck out of your car.”
That’s exactly what I do. The man looks forlornly around the empty parking lot, before wandering under an eave to get out of the rain.
“This where you’re staying?” I call out the window.
“I think so,” he grumbles.
“Well, good luck.” My tires squeal as I leave.