After Art in the Park.

The cab was waiting there, outside Salcedo park. I hailed it and quickly got in. The driver was waiting for other people to get it, but it seemed they changed their mind. Lucky for me.

The driver asked what was happening in the park, if there was some party going on. I told him about Art in the Park. He said he wished he could’ve brought his son with him.

His son drew well. He proudly stated how his son did henna tattoos and often covered his room with drawings.

The driver couldn’t draw, himself, but he encouraged his son with his talent, buying henna or paint, if the son asked for some. There was pride there, the way he told me their story. His neighbors sometimes asked him why he and his wife let their son do whatever he pleased but the father told them that is talent there and he and his wife wanted their son to use it.

I told him his son was very lucky to have a father like him.

During the drive, we talked about his work and his family. How he often sleeps in his cab because he only gets to go home on weekends; his family lives outside Manila. How his other child cooks well, better than him, and that was the other child’s talent.

He got me to work on time, despite leaving Salcedo later than I planned to. I gave him a tip on top of what the meter said.

In hindsight, I may have given him too much. I think I gave him 1000 pesos which I mistook as 100.

I feel bad losing that much money, but at the same time I hope I did give him that bill instead of losing it elsewhere.

I should start spending less from today until payday.

The driver had a golden cock. Probably.

In the cab we rode from Fete dela Musique, Markee sat next to the driver while Bern and I sat at the back. Markee, after near-terrorizing the food vendors of Market! Market!, decided to interview the cab driver.

Being interviewed by Markee was like letting yourself face an army of elephants, but the cab driver humored him despite initially complaining how Markee’s incessant questions made him lost track of the confession letter portion of the radio program he was tuned in to.

“But they’ll have a replay by 2 o’clock,” Markee told him.

“How do you know?” the driver asked, skeptically.

“I used to work at that station,” replied Markee, without a pause. The guy could instantly come up with an outrageous lie and say it with a convincing tone. He then changed the subject, “mister, what if a gay guy asks if he could do something naughty with you?”

The blunt question could cause other drivers to be quiet in anger or embarassment, but this one isn’t backing down. He gamely told us of the time a guy got in, asked him to drive from Guadalupe to Buendia and back.

“He asked me how much should he pay me to touch my dick,” the cab driver went on. When we asked him what his answer was, he said 500 pesos plus the normal cab fare.

“Oh wow. You’re so good looking, mister,” Markee said mockingly. The driver laughed it off and said he accepted the money, let the other guy touch the driver’s dick but without opening his fly. Then the driver sped to Guadalupe and back so it’ll be over before the other guy could enjoy his little thrill.

“That was all?” the other guy complained. “Could we have another go?” The driver said the other guy should pay him again if he wanted another round; the other guy decided to get off the cab.

The driver obviously wanted to appear that he can’t be outwitted by lecherous gay men. One time another guy asked him how much he’ll charge to be given a blowjob, the driver answered “2,500 pesos”.

What’s that?” all three of us protested. “Is your dick made of gold, mister?”

He laughed it off and said, “because I’m a driver. I don’t do that shit.”

The inane question and answers continued as we drive until the apartment. The next time we’re taking a cab with Markee, we ought to bring a recorder with us.

“Hey, mister,” said Markee when we only a few hundred meters from the apartment. “Where’s your meter?”

The driver swore and palmed his face because he forgot to flag down his meter. When we got off, we gave him a hundred persos. He was asking for 20 pesos more for the fare. I told him, a hundred is more than enough. “I take a cab to just outside Pateros and that only costs me a hundred,” I sternly told him. “And that’s through daytime traffic, too.”

The guy continued to protest so Bern cut him off. “Since you didn’t have your meter running,” he told the driver, “we should only be paying you the flag-down rate.” He was lucky we gave him a hundred. We got out of the cab and went into our building.

Until then, mister cab driver was boasting how he outwits every gay man who offers him money for a feel or a blow. It gets irritating, really, after some time. Hearing the now desperately pleading tone of his voice, which was (um) cocky just a few minutes ago, was just absolutely delicious.