The Doctor Is In

in Poetry

Dr. Wes



Last issue I talked about my cab driving history. Since then I have been met with deep, penetrating questions by my readers. Questions such as, "What?" and, "So how was it?" So I have decided to keep at it a while longer.

Rather than talk about fear of Iraq I can talk about cab driving. It's all the same.
The nice thing about cab driving is that it's just like everything else. So if you talk about it enough, eventually you've talked about everything else anyway. That's why poetry works!

Take fear for instance. Fear is a big subject these days, what with Home Security, snipers, Saddam, et al. Rather than talk about fear of Iraq I can talk about cab driving. It's all the same.

I began cab driving in fear of it. I was just quitting a job that had been making me ill, and I was looking for something completely different. That day, the newspapers were all about a cab driver who had been shot to death for the fun of it, in South Seattle off of Rainier Valley. The murderers were still at large. I read the stories and immediately thought, "That cab company will be needing a new driver," and I signed up with them that Monday.

There was training, and the next thing I knew I was set loose on the whole of Seattle to drive cab anywhere I wanted in the city, six nights a week, twelve hours a night. I was expected to work where the business was, but now a new fear set in. I found I had a powerful dread of working unfamiliar neighborhoods. I lived in the Rainier Valley dispatching area. That was the area I knew, so that's where I worked. Even though the murderers were still out there.

Isn't that just the way it always is, folks? You back away from one fear and another one is breathing down your neck right behind you. I think a grand unifying philosophical principle is involved here. Some day vinyl may be implicated, also.

But back to the fear. The thing we all do in cases like this is ask, "Where are the police? We need police to catch these murderous thugs." All right, I'll tell you where the police were. They were all over Rainier Valley doing their drug busting and breaking up domestic violence, all the stuff you see them doing on Cops.

And guess what the police do when they are breaking up a fight in a family and they need to get one of the parties out of the area? Do you think they haul them out in a patrol car? No way. They put them in cabs and ORDER the cab drivers to take them somewhere, and don't pay the drivers.

One day I was ordered to take a teenage girl who had been beaten by her father to Harborview Hospital. Trouble is, she and her sister who came along didn't want to go to the hospital.

Well, I shouldn't commit kidnapping just because the Seattle Police order me to. The girls wanted to go to a 7-11, so that's where we went.

Wouldn't you know it? The father drove up in his Caddy right after we got there, and the sisters proceeded to fight over which one of them would have the honor of shooting him in the face with a pistol they were carrying.

After one of them waved the gun in the father's face and after a passing gang (I'm not kidding) intervened and took away the gun, the police showed up and lined everyone up against the wall but me. I was the only witness willing to cooperate. Without me the police couldn't prove anything.

I was all set to witness the whole thing when the officer put the girl who had brandished the gun back in the cab sitting right next to me, in the front seat, and she pretended her finger was a gun and stuck it in my ribs. Or I thought she was pretending. But I couldn't be sure so I started to get out of the cab, to get a little away from her, when the same officer karate kicked the door on me. In that one blinding instant I learned always to fear the police.

Suddenly I couldn't remember seeing anything. There's poetry at you again.

© Dr. Wes Browning:
2129 Second Ave., Seattle, WA 98121 (206) 441-3247

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