Cap'n Bucky

I rode in a taxi from Baltimore to Washington D.C. with Bucky and two other strangers. Bucky drives a taxi. He’s been doing it since 1963. He told me that 11 times in just over an hour. He also says he knows a place just off I-95 south of Baltimore that has the best crab cakes “you ever did have.” I know these crab cakes are, in fact, the greatest crab cakes in the whole entire universe because Bucky guaranteed it. “I tell you what,” he told me, slipping his words out through the holes where his teeth used to be. “If them crab cakes ain’t the best you ever had, I’ll done drop you in DC for free.” I raised my eyebrows in polite surprise, privately thinking to myself that this was kind of a stupid guarantee. If we did indeed stop for crab cakes, and even if they did completely blow my mind, all I would have to do to get a free ride to DC would be to say, “Nope. Sorry Bucky. These are good, but I had better crab cakes when I was in Alaska that one time back when I’ve never even been to Alaska.” But then all Bucky would have to do to get out of giving me a free ride would be to say, “You stupid whippersnapper. You’re wrong. These is the best crab cakes you ever done had, dad gum it. Yous ain’t got no taste buds.” I would then, of course, be forced to point out that, although I got no taste buds, Bucky got no teeth. So instead of starting a fight, I told Bucky I wasn’t hungry, and we didn’t get crab cakes.

[That's Halen up there in the picture, thinking things over. He's my buddy, so I can put pictures of him in my blog. Buddies do things like that.]

Bucky says there’s no money in driving a cab. He says he makes ends meet by playing poker. “Just a few games a week,” he gums apologetically. His ex-wife likes slots, he says, and that’s why they’re not together anymore. I can see how that difference would tear a couple apart like a freaking bobcat. Nevertheless, Bucky says, making way too much eye contact with me as he multitasks at both talking and driving, he and his ex-wife still get along well. Every year they go to Vegas together for three days for Bucky’s birthday. He plays the tables, she plays the slots. “You gotta enjoy life,” Bucky says, slapping the steering wheel for emphasis. I wish he wouldn’t do that. It sort of makes the taxi swerve, dad gum it.

The other two strangers were pleasant enough. The man behind the driver’s seat was a lawyer from Ohio. He talked a lot. The lady behind my seat was a commercial real estate broker from Connecticut. The lawyer kept calling her “Blondie,” like, as in, “So, Blondie, what do you do for work?” or “I bet Blondie over here likes the Redskins.” I thought maybe Blondie would sue his butt for sexual harassment. If she did, I think Lawyer would have a good case – all he’d have to do would be to stand up in court and say, “Your honor, would you sexually harass a woman in the back seat of a cab with Bucky and Mormon Guy sitting in front?” Of course not. No one would do that. Only Lucifer, that mangy chauvinist bigot. He hates Mormons.

Bucky didn’t like Lawyer one bit. After we dropped Lawyer off at his hotel, Bucky told me he should’ve dropped that “damned, rich lawyer” right there on the freeway when Lawyer started complaining about the traffic. I made sure I casually mentioned at that point that I quite like traffic and that I am neither “damned” nor “rich.” In fact I hate money. Gives me diarrhea. Blondie didn’t like Lawyer either. She said he talked too much. But I think she secretly liked him. I think love had been blooming in the back seat while me and Bucky talked crab cakes. Blondie has four dogs; it’s pretty clear she needs a boyfriend. Lawyer likes dogs too – he just dropped $17,000 in cancer treatment for his dog, which dog then died. As a result, Lawyer is emotionally vulnerable. And Blondie is an aging dog lady. Emotionally vulnerable lawyer + aging dog lady = XOXOXOXO. Go carve that in a tree, Bucky.