#30DayWritingChallenge: Something that happened in a car.

Day Twenty-Two: Something that happened in a car.

The world started spinning the moment I stood from my seat.

“Can I stay over at your place?” I asked the guy I just met. He was friends with my friends and I thought he was trustworthy. Cute and trustworthy.

It didn’t help, the short walk to the roadway. Every step felt like a tumble and I begun feeling like my stomach was starting to protest.

It wasn’t the only one. I vaguely remembered one of our companions complaining. He wanted to be with the guy. How did I ever get so lucky?

The cab driver might have had misgivings if he should let us in. His instincts were right, of course, but he still agreed to bring us to Pasig.

I can’t remember what the ride was like, now. It was probably awkward and quiet. I wouldn’t trust myself talking while trying to hold my beer down. The world was hazy and my eyes couldn’t focus.

It happened when the cab was about a hundred meters from the guy’s place, like a bad sitcom sequence. That point where I could have waited just another minute and things would not have been as embarrassing. I threw up.

No one throws up with dignity. One can hope that he can at least open the cab window and let puke fall out to the street. I didn’t do that.

Damn manual car windows. I barfed while the window was still halfway open with some vomit falling on the cab floor. The driver should have listened to his instincts.

At least I didn’t puke on the guy. He wouldn’t have slept with me if I did.

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.

On speed.

The cab driver seemed a little nervous, a little on the edge. Normally, I enjoy speedy cars but the way he swerved around other vehicles in moderately heavy traffic made me pull the safety belt and lock myself into the seat.

He was bragging how his car might be old, but it’s used to passengers telling him to speed up because they are running late.

“I’m already late as it it,” I told him. “I don’t really care about getting there quickly anymore.”

He was a chatty person. I was in a chatty mood so I didn’t mind it. He told of frequent passengers, one of which also worked in a BPO. He said BPO workers eventually grow skinny from working at nights.

I told him, not really. Many BPO workers gain more weight. Eating can sometimes be a way of dealing with the lack of sleep. I know this from experience.

For one thing or another, our conversation ended up on taking meth. Maybe it was the talk of how to lose weight and him saying that he used to be heavier. He lost weight when he started using meth to keep himself awake so he can drive for more hours.

“You earn little outside the ‘boundary’,” he said. “So in this job, you sacrifice sleep.”

Dusk, Bonifacio Global City

My view on recreational drug use has softened as I grew older. I’m fine with weed, but I wouldn’t personally try harder stuff. I know people who can handle their drugs; I know people who couldn’t. It’s like people and alcohol, which, when you think about it, is just another recreational drug.

Still, I was not sure if I was comfortable with being driven by someone who seemed to have admitted that he’s on meth. The driver joked maybe I should give meth a try.

“People have different trips,” he expounded, “some are in it for increased libido, some crave for food, some look for trouble. I only do it when I’m working, otherwise I don’t.”

He was proud of being able to keep a family and raise his kids, unlike other cab drivers who had left their spouses and hooked up with other partners, presumably because of meth use.

I was relieved to finally reach my destination and get out of the cab. I added a little extra to the cab fair because he took me away from the usual route I take, which had unusually heavy traffic that night.

For a moment, I thought about telling him to be careful in choosing to whom he will be confiding with about his meth use, but the moment passed and I didn’t. I was already an hour late.

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.