Editor's Note: This is a reworked version of a story by James Dylan that ran in the SF Herald in 2000. Or maybe it was 2001. I forget.
Shitty Jobs I Have Had
by James Dylan
“Cock-Blocking David Copperfield”
Alternative Alternative Title:
“Viva Las Vegas”
Reading my co-worker Lee Vilensky's articles about his adventures of driving a cab in San Francisco has inspired me to write down a couple pages of my own cab driving memories.
My stories take place in Las Vegas, Nevada, but start in Michigan. It was the winter of 1995, I had only been back in the US a few months, after living in Europe since 1985. I had been in the Army for six of those years; the remaining four as a backpacker, a student, and a warehouse employee. Anyway, in 1995 I felt a calling to return to the US, and I moved into my parents' basement in a small town in Michigan until I found a place of my own. The calling I felt to return to the US may have been spiritual, because right after I arrived, my mother told me she had cancer and didn’t have much time left. That summer would be her last one, and I made it as enjoyable for her as best I could. But that’s not what this story is about.
I was broke and had no marketable skills. In the Army, I was an Infantryman, which is basically a security guard. The apartment I found was a closet-sized little thing above a U-Haul office. The building was literally next to some train tracks, but I was only paying $125 a month rent, which was all I could afford. The town I was in was an old mining community that now was filled with bars and small businesses -- nothing much in the way of jobs. I did manage to find a job at a small company that made wooden furniture, stacking the boxes containing the products, but I only lasted 2 days. Even at the age of 28 there was no way I could lift a large, 5-foot high, 4-drawer clothing cabinet and stack it on top of another one. We had no machinery to help us, it was all by hand, and I knew if I stayed I would have back problems for the rest of my life. That was the whole job -- wrapping my arms around these huge, heavy wooden furniture pieces and stacking them as high as I could. On the third day I didn’t go back.
Then, broke and running out of options, I did what for me was the unthinkable. I went to Wal-Mart, and because I had been in the Army and had some college, was hired on the spot. Those skills in Upper Michigan make you eligible to be a manager at Wal-Mart, I think.
However, I was only making $5.25 an hour as a Customer Service "Manager". Of course, we weren't allowed to work for than 30 hours a week and there were no benefits, so I knew that was a dead end job -- just something to do until I saved enough to get out of there.
One day in December, after saving enough to buy an old van that could get me to California, I threw everything I had in the back of it and took off. It was so cold that day that the plastic cover that was on my one suit was so brittle that it shattered as I was putting it in the van. My breath froze on the windshield and I had to scrape the ice off, as the heater was shot. I stopped at an auto parts store and bought a little electric heater that blew on the windshield so I could see through it.
I didn't know where I was going, but I had to get out of that place. I headed south through Chicago, then hooked a right and headed through Iowa, Colorado, and made it to Las Vegas in 5 days. Thinking I’d like to spend some time in Vegas, and not having any thing else to do, I decided to find a room.
By luck, I pulled into the University of Nevada parking lot and found a bulletin board with rooms for rent. I called a guy up, and after a short discussion, had a nice room in a large new house in the suburbs for $300 a month. I was also thinking about enrolling in UNLV, if I could get the financial aid.
So began the big job search, but I didn't have any experience. In the Army I had worked in an office and knew how to type, but potential employers wanted me to know "MicroSoft Office" on a computer, which I didn't.
After a couple weeks of living on my one credit card that some bank had been dumb enough to give me, I got a job at a La Quinta Inn, a small hotel off the strip that catered to business travelers. I preferred it to the larger casino/gambling related hotels that were noisy, crowded and cheesy. My job was to drive a passenger van around and drop off or pick up guests at various casinos or the airport, etc. It wasn't too bad of a job, except that it was from 5pm to 5am, so there went my social life.
The pay wasn't all that great either, but I made some tips. After a month or so, I was getting ready to go home after a shift when I saw that I had left the lights on in my personal van, and the battery was dead. I walked back into the hotel, grabbed the keys to the hotel van, drove to an auto parts store for a new battery (which I needed anyway), and drove back to the hotel.
I put the battery in my van, and walked back into the hotel to drop the keys off. Well, it seems they freaked out and thought I had stolen the van, and had called the cops. They asked me what had happened, and where had I been. I lied and told them that as I was walking out the door at the end of my shift, a hotel guest had asked me to take him to the airport, and he was late and was going to miss his flight. I told him he would have to wait for the driver on day shift to show up, but the guy insisted. I didn’t have time to go in and grab a walkie-talkie we always had, which is why they couldn’t contact me. They didn't fall for it and fired my ass. Oh well.
However, one good thing I got out of the job was that I saw what it was like to be a hotel manager, which was something I was thinking of going to school for. From what I saw, it sucked. My boss had to live in the hotel and was on-call 24 hours a day. If she left the hotel, she had to have her cell phone with her at all times, and be prepared to return to the hotel to deal with any issues. If she wanted to, say, visit someone in LA or Reno, she would have to put in a “vacation request”, and have somebody cover for her. All this for around $10 an hour. I saw that this wasn't my kind of job, so dropped that plan.
I had to find a new job, and applied for office clerk positions, administration assistants, etc., but I wasn't qualified. I felt I was "above" a service position in a casino; I would rather have starved than “served” those mid-western tourists with their fat guts and neon fanny packs. Sure, I was arrogant and I certainly respect those who do service-related work, but it isn’t for me. I guess I wasn’t hungry enough, and after working at Wal-Mart, I was tired of that kind of work. Even driving the van was better than waiting tables -- I could drive at my own pace, I had control of the situation and the work, I didn’t have a boss hovering over me, and I got to chat with the passengers and give opinions about where to gamble, eat, etc. And later, if the passengers had a good time at a place I recommended, I would get a good tip.
After a month or so I was running out of money. Then I saw a job listing at Bell Limo, a limousine company. I had a clean record, so they took me on after a short telephone interview. Luckily, I had driven around Vegas a lot on my own and with the La Quinta, so I was able to answer all the location-related questions they asked me. I was given an old limo I would drive on my shift, and was told to buy a black suit. This was the job: they give you an empty limo; everything else is on you. You had to buy the ice for the little cooler in the back; you had to buy the drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. You had to buy the napkins, flowers, and snacks; basically anything you wanted in the back of the limo in the hopes of getting a bigger tip.
I would line up at the airport in an area reserved for limos, and drive people who preferred a limo to a taxi. If not at the airport, I would line up outside a casino, and if at night, outside the strip clubs or nightclubs. The company charged an hourly rate of $50, with a one-hour minimum. Customers would rent the limo for anything from a high school prom to taking them to the whorehouses in Pahrump, or in some cases driving them all the way to Los Angeles.
Surprisingly, I don't have very many interesting stories to tell about driving a limo, nothing that would make for an HBO special, at least. But that was my own fault, because I often turned down customers who wanted unusual or illegal services. Sometimes I would pick up guys who wanted me to take them somewhere to buy drugs, and when I told them I didn’t know anyone, they'd pay me and get out. Sure, I would drive people to the whorehouses, but after they went inside, I just hung out in the bar reserved for drivers. Again, not much to write about.
We, as in “us drivers”, all got the usual yuppie assholes who would drink all the booze and eat all the snacks in the back, then stiff us on the tips, and say, “For $50 an hour they should be included!” -- all despite us saying they weren't.
One I picked up some young US Marine; a hayseed from Arkansas, who hired me to take him to the airport so he could pick up his fellow Marine girlfriend “in style”. I parked outside and I went inside with him so I could carry the luggage, an "extra" I did in the hope of getting a tip. Since the guy was young and obviously a hick, I didn't expect one, but I had to try (the older, more experienced drivers could tell right away and didn’t even bother). We met the girl at the gate, and she was a bigger hick than he was. Instead of a kiss, she hit him on the shoulder with a knuckle sticking out, kind of like what a guy would do to a buddy. Ah, young hillbillies in love.
I followed them back to the limo, threw the bags in the trunk, and then he told me to just drive up and down the strip for an hour. I took off, and they rolled the window divider up. This was normal, as many couples like to mess around back there; I didn't think anything about it. After a few minutes, I heard some grunts and bumps and the whole limo was shaking. “Damn, boy! Don't kill her back here!” I said to myself, laughing. After a while it got rough and I thought he was beating her up or something, so I rolled the window down.
The mouth-breathers were "wrastlin’" in the back of the limo, fully dressed. She was on top and had him in a headlock, giving him a knuckle rub. Wrestling and yuckin' it up, can you believe it? Anyway, the ride ended soon and of course he paid for the ride, but didn't tip me, as I expected. Even in front of the girl, but she was too ignorant her own self to be embarrassed like a normal woman would be.
I once had a lady who wanted me to drive her to LA, as she didn’t like flying. She would pay for my time, the gas, and put me up in a hotel for the night.
The company approved it so I went. Just past the city limits, she lowered the glass divider and asked me if I would be terribly upset if she took her clothes off. "Ma’am, it’s your limo until we get to your house, so you can do whatever you like,” I replied. So she took off all her clothes, with the divider down, pulled out a book and started reading. She never spoke another word -- just sat there, naked, reading a book until we got to LA.
There were, and probably still are, a lot of scams going on in Vegas (as if you didn’t already suspect this). Almost EVERYTHING is controlled or has someone getting a kickback. Us drivers, if we wanted to get a good fare, tipped the doormen. Whenever a couple of guys leave a strip club, the doorman always asks them, "Where you guys heading?", so he can tell the cab or limo driver, and then try to get a good tip for being "helpful”. When they tell him where they want to go, he weighs his options. If it’s a short ride for just a couple bucks, he’ll call the next cab in line. If it’s a good ride, he'll motion to a cab driver that he knows, or tips him occasionally. If one of his limo driver buddies is there, he’ll direct the guys to him, especially one he’ll get a kickback from.
If it’s a really good fare, say, to a whorehouse, he'll usher them back inside and call a “special” limo driver on a cell phone. He'll lie to the guys, saying they have a special limo for rides like that, and that they can’t trust the cab and limo drivers outside, they’re all crooks, etc. He'll split the 30% kickback the limo driver gets from the whorehouse.
Competition was cut-throat, and probably still is. Once, while sitting outside a strip club, a guy walked out and ignored the doorman. He walked over to my cab and asked me how much a ride to the Chicken Ranch (a cat-house in Pahrump) would cost him. I gave him a price and he got in back.
The cab driver behind me heard what the guy asked, so he jumped out of his cab and runs up to mine, opens my door, and starts talking to the guy, telling him he'll give him a better price. I reached under my seat and pulled out my billy-club (AKA truncheon, baton, paddy whacker, blackjack) and chased him off. I drove off with my customer, who soon asked me to stop at his hotel first so he could run up and get something, and for me to wait outside.
As I sitting there, the cab driver from the strip club pulled up behind me, obviously waiting for the guy to come out so he could try again to nab him! Luckily, when the cab driver approached him again, the passenger said, “What the hell, dude? Are you insane? Leave me the hell alone!” and got back in my cab.
There was a problem with "gypsy" limos when I was there; limos that are illegally operating in the city without a permit. Most of them drive in from Denver or LA on weekends. They operate outside the law and always make deals with the doormen, and believe it or not, the limo or cab authorities had no jurisdiction over them, and the cops would only give them small fines. Talk about hated guys; I've seen them jumped and beaten up, their windows smashed in, tires slashed, etc., all by Vegas drivers. It was one of the few things cab and limo drivers could ever agree on. (By the way, just to be clear, by gypsy drivers, I mean illegal guys with no permits, not the ethnicity. That’s just what they were called.)
I had one buddy tell me what he did one time. He was waiting outside a strip club, and luckily had four guys who wanted to go to a cat-house. If he was lucky, that could mean up to $1000 for him! On the way, he stopped to get gas before hitting the desert, and as he was filling up, a gypsy limo pulled up and started talking to his fares. He told them that he would take them up there for half of what the taxi was charging, plus free booze! What could my friend do? The guys had minds of their own, and they paid the taxi fare, apologized, gave him a tip, and took off in the limo. My buddy recognized the driver, though, and the limo plates, and planned his revenge.
The next night he called in sick and went back to the strip club he knew the limo was usually parked at. He was dressed up in a nice suit, and brought a briefcase with him. After a while in the club, he exited and told the doorman he wanted to go to a whorehouse, but he wanted to take a limo, and he made sure he got the one that had ripped him off the previous night. The doorman called him, and my friend got into the back; the driver didn't recognize him, of course. My friend gave him a price, and to start driving. Then he said he would like to be alone, and to close the glass divider, which the driver did. They headed out towards Pahrump, the town that held all the whorehouses. Of course, it being a Saturday night on the strip, traffic was horrible, no one was moving, which is what my friend wanted when he went to work on the limo.
He opened his briefcase, took out a box-cutter, and silently slashed all the seats and upholstery. He used his diamond ring to scratch the insides of all the windows, then took some small cans of paint out and splattered it all over. He told me he then took out a mason jar of piss and poured it on the carpet and seats. Then, before the paint and piss fumes could reach the driver, he quietly got out of the right side door and took off in the other direction, into a casino. Most likely the driver didn’t see him leave, but even if he did, what could he do? Leave his limo in the middle of the street?
All of us cab drivers thought this was a great story, and well deserved. Here we all were, paying for training, licenses, permits and fees… and these guys came to town and stole our fares. As I said, if there were any guys hated more than gypsy drivers, I didn’t know them.
One night I was assigned to Caesars Palace for a David Copperfield show; evidently they needed ten limos and sedans for Copperfield and his guests. After the show we were to take them to his secret warehouse.
I went to Caesars, then lined up outside the back entrance with the other cars. Standing around with the other drivers, I struck up a conversation with a big black guy in a suit, who turned out to be Copperfield's private bodyguard. I asked him who we would be driving, and he said, “The usual corporate yuppie trash and tourists”, but also mentioned that Claudia Schiffer was there as well.
I mentioned that I spoke fluent German and that I was living in Germany when she was first discovered as a model back in the early 80's, and he told me he had an idea. He told one of the sedan drivers he wanted us to switch, and told me to drive the sedan in which he, Copperfield and Schiffer would ride. (Evidently, celebrities rarely ride in limos, they don't want the attention; they prefer sedans with tinted windows.)
He said he wanted me to drive them, and even say a few words to Ms. Schiffer, as he told me she liked to speak German and was always happy when she met a German, or at least someone who spoke it; it all seemed cool to me. So the show ended around midnight, everybody came out the back entrance and we all got ready to go.
It was the first time I’d ever seen David Copperfield, and man, the guy is about 5’6”! I had no idea he was so short! He had fluffed up his hair and was wearing an oversized black leather jacket to look taller, but Claudia still stood a good 12 inches over him, especially in her heels. They all climbed into my car, the bodyguard in the front passenger seat, David and Claudia in the back.
After a couple of minutes of Schiffer and Copperfield in the back talking quietly, the bodyguard nudges me and motions to the back, then says, "Go on, say something to her in German.”
So I looked in the rear view mirror, and said in German, "Hey Claudia, I lived in Germany in the 80's in Dusseldorf, and I remember when you were first 'discovered'. I even used to go to the same club as you!”
She smiled at me and replied in German, "Oh, you speak German! You have a very good accent! You lived in Dusseldorf, too? You sound Bavarian. Were you a soldier?" She leaned up in her seat and put her arms on the back of my seat and her right hand on my shoulder, if you can believe it.
So we were chatting away in German, when I looked back in the mirror again and could see Copperfield glaring at me. He looked pissed; he looked like his head was about to explode. I was thinking, Yeah, that's right! Sorry, Copperdouche, but this ain't no magic act; you ain't gonna make me disappear, bud.
We soon pulled up to his "secret" warehouse in the industrial part of town. It was a fake store that was made up to look like a lady's lingerie boutique; it looks like a real shop, with a cash register and all. You had to press a certain mannequin’s breasts to open the secret door.
They all got out, and Claudia smiled at me and waved goodbye, touching my shoulder again; Copperfield ignored me. They waited at the front door until the limos arrived, and then went inside the warehouse. When the door locked shut, the bodyguard broke out laughing; it turned out he did the whole thing on purpose. It also turned out that he knew Copperfield was a major control freak/power freak and was very jealous, etc. He knew that Copperfield would hate being left out of the conversation and not knowing what Schiffer and I were talking about, and that he was very paranoid.
The bodyguard told me that every time Claudia talks German in his presence he gets mad and sulks, so he tries to set her up with a German speaker every time just to see Copperfield get pissed. Needless to say, Copperfield told the bodyguard to tip us all and to return in a few hours, but not to tip me, as I had broken the rule by “talking to a passenger”. The bodyguard gave me a $20 out of his own pocket, and said it was worth it. Us drivers were told the party would be in the warehouse for at least an hour, so we all went and hung out at a driver’s apartment that was nearby until we got called back. I just can't get over how short Copperfield was, though. The same goes for a lot of famous people; Schwarzenegger, Cruise…
One morning a few months after I had been working at Bell Limo, I went to work, picked up a limousine, and took it to a nearby car wash (which we also had to pay for). I turned it over to the guy at the front, and hung out in the waiting area while the workers hand-washed the car and vacuumed it out. After I paid and they gave me the keys back, I checked the back to make sure everything was all right, and saw that the radio was missing! One of the workers had jacked it while cleaning in the passenger area! I went straight to the manager of the place, who basically blew me off, so I called my shift supervisor and told him about it. They sent a manager out to write a report, and told me to go on with my shift. That was it? Damn, I knew it wasn’t my own personal limo, so I wasn’t out any money, but I had to drive the thing, and who knew how long it would be before they would replace it? Also, passengers are less inclined to tip you if they have to ride in a limo that has a gaping hole where the radio used to be; it just looks ghetto! Also, now there was no music back there; so in a way, I WAS out money!
To further my problems, a couple of weeks after the radio got jacked, I was parked in the parking lot of the Rio, waiting for a passenger who had gone inside and would be awhile. He told me he would call me when he was ready to go, and to hang out in the casino because it was so hot outside. After awhile, he called me up to go get the car, and when I walked out to get it, I saw there was a large dent on the driver side door! I called it in, my supervisor came out and looked at it, wrote a report, and the next day I was fired.
They told me that due to the radio incident and now the dent incident, there were two strikes against me, even though I knew I had no blame in either of them! I especially couldn’t believe they were holding the radio thing against me!
So, once again I was looking for a job. Luckily I now had a few friends, made a few contacts, and they all told me the same thing, drive a cab. They said that driving a cab was a shitty, dangerous job, but if you had to do it; Vegas was the best place. They all told me, “You know the streets, you know where everything is located, you know the system and doormen, and you’re white. What more do you need?”
I asked around for my friend’s opinions regarding the best company, but really, I already knew the best was Nellis Cab. Having driven a limo for several months, I had hung out with a lot of cab drivers while passing time in the lines, and I liked the Nellis guys. The drivers were all clean, American, and the cabs were generally in great condition. Veteran’s Cab Company only hired African immigrants for some reason, all of whom spoke very poor English (if at all) and didn't know the city well. I knew they had a lot of customer complaints.
Get this -- while I was at the Nellis Cab office filling out my application, a black guy that spoke poor English came in and filled out an application. After he left, the guy behind the counter wadded it up and threw it in the trash. He saw me looking so he said, "We only hire white Americans here, Jack. We have nice cabs and those guys drive like shit." Anyway, I was hired and given a cab. I know, I know… the owner and bosses were racist, but I really wanted to work there; I didn't want to work around a bunch of non-English speaking immigrants; I knew from experience those guys would stab you in the back for five bucks. You might think I’m lying, but at Nellis, we had some camaraderie; we would rarely screw other Nellis drivers over, and we helped each other out. It wasn’t even like that at Bell Limo.
So there I was, driving a cab. The money (to me) wasn't all that bad, especially once you counted all the kickbacks and bribes. I was happier driving a cab; I didn’t have to spend money buying alcohol, napkins, flowers, etc. like I did in with the limo. I didn’t have to act like a butler, getting out and opening the door, etc. I could just be myself now, talk freely.
The best places to make money were the whorehouses, which coughed up a 30 percent commission, plus the $200 fare (round trip) the passenger paid, plus a tip if there was one. The second best places were the strip clubs, at $20 a head. If I pulled up at “Centerfolds” with four horny college boys in the cab, I would get $80 cash, under the table. Basically, the club charged them $20 each to get in, and then turned around and handed it right to us. You could look at it as a commission, a tip, kick back, whatever, but we all did it. We brought guys to whomever paid us the most, and you didn’t want to piss us off. In Vegas, the businesses aren’t stupid; they know the first thing a tourist asks is, “Where’s the best place to (eat/gamble/get laid/drink/dance, etc.)”, so they gave us good incentives to bring people to them. If they pissed us off, we would boycott the place and they would back down quickly. We were all independent workers, and had a lot of freedom. The management didn’t watch us at all, and as long as we made money and didn’t give the company a bad reputation, we had free reign.
There was one place that was a little controversial amongst cab and limo drivers -- it was allegedly a "massage parlor/whorehouse", but it was rumored that the whole thing was a scam. However, they paid $50 a head, and almost all the passengers we had seemed to be older, married men, so…
I believe the way it worked was, visitors would pay an entrance fee to get in, then cute young girls would prance about and get them to give their credit card numbers to the Madam. Then, they would simply stall them; make them buy expensive champagnes, lead them to the sauna, etc., all while "hinting" that sex was at the end of the road. Before they knew it, the sun was coming up, the girls would leave the room, and some big bouncers would throw them out, several hundred bucks later.
Heaven help the cabbie that brought guys there and then happened to be seen by them later on or the next day. I was driving by the place one evening when I was flagged down, and the same guy I dropped off the night before (and whom I told could get laid in there) jumped in the cab. "Hey man, you’re the asshole cab driver who told me that place was a whore house! All they tried to do was rip me off and get me to buy drinks all night!" I apologized profusely and feigned sympathy towards him, and anger at the club, and said I only told him what I had heard, and gee, that sure sucks, and that I would make it up to him if he let me! I told him I would give him a discount on a ride to the real whorehouses out in Pahrump, and that I would lose money, etc., but I felt so bad, blah blah blah. In the end he let me drive him to Pahrump, where he spends a couple of hundred bucks, of which I got my 30 percent, plus the fare, minus a $40 "discount". Everyone was happy! Ah, Las Vegas.
Did I feel bad about scamming visitors like that? Nope. Mostly because these guys weren't Midwestern "tourists" like you’d see in Fisherman's Wharf or Manhattan. Most of these guys were in town for conventions or meetings and were cheating on their wives, so I had no respect for them. Many of them would brag to me about it!
The entire year I was in Las Vegas, I had a girlfriend in Michigan, I called her twice a week and wrote her letters, and never once cheated on her. So yeah, I can say I felt "holier than thou" than those guys.
One more thing about Las Vegas -- it turned me into a bit of an asshole. The heat was intense, the locals were all jerks focused on one thing (money), the traffic was worse than anything I had seen anywhere, the food was and is terrible, and -- besides gambling and seeing cheesy Vegas shows -- there is nothing to do! In the entire area, I found only two independent coffeehouses, and neither was air-conditioned, so they weren't very comfortable. I spent a lot of my free time in movie theaters. Vegas is an asphalt desert -- there is no nature, the air burns your nose, and you learn to hate life.
The casinos were nice to us, however (free dinners, tickets, passes, etc.) The further from The Strip, the better the kickback. The Santa Fe sat about 20 miles from the main casinos, so we received all-you-can-eat rib dinners 7 days a week if we wanted them. All we had to do was show up and show the waitress our ID Card.
In December, I had been in Vegas one year, and was getting worn out. My girlfriend had finally left Michigan, and instead of Vegas, had ended up in Palo Alto and was hoping I’d join her. I thought I’d work a few more weeks before leaving, but fate had something else planned for me. I finally left Vegas not because of something I did wrong or unethical, but because of something I did to help out a passenger.
On my last week, I had a lady needing to go to the airport. I pulled into the departures lane, but traffic was backed up for the passenger drop-off area. Finally, about 50 feet from the airline counter she wanted to be at, I stopped the meter, printed out the receipt, took her money, then got out, and opened the trunk. However, as I was about to pull out her suitcases, traffic opened up in front of me, so I jumped back in and drove the last 50 feet. As I turned off the ignition, a taxi authority cop walked up and wrote me a ticket for "high-flagging" (driving with the meter off). I explained to her that the meter was on all the way to the airport, and what I had done for the passenger, but she ignored me. The passenger herself got out and said I did indeed have the meter on, and even showed her the receipt that I had given her!
Taxi cop bitch said all she knew is she saw me driving a taxi with the meter off and a passenger in the back. So I got a ticket for $150 and had to go to "taxi court”, where I was given an opportunity to explain my situation and try to get out of the ticket. I had never seen a bunch of power-tripping, old, washed-up, bullheaded and arrogant fools in my life; they basically refused to hear anything I said. They let me talk for a few minutes, but that was about it. They refused to dismiss the case or even look at the receipt I had! They had a citation dated a specific date and time for the offense, and I had a receipt dated the same date and time, so that should have been all the proof I needed to clear my name; but they refused to even look at it! They were sitting there, basking in their so-called authority, when I stood up, wadded up the citation, threw it in front of them, told them to go fuck themselves, and walked out.
Of course, I wouldn't be able to drive a cab again until I paid the citation, but I'd had enough. I had money saved up and the van was long since fixed, so I went home, packed it up with my things, and followed the breeze to California. I drove until late into the night, then stopped at a rest area somewhere across the state line and slept until the sun woke me up.
I stepped out into a parking lot and was shocked; all around me were trees, birds, and grass, and to the left of me was a huge field of freshly turned earth, and the wonderful smell of life saturated the air around me. I had forgotten what fresh dirt and air smelled like! I must have looked like I had just been released from prison -- walking around, touching the grass and taking big gulps of air, glad to be free of that shit-hole named Las Vegas.###