Have you ever watched a horror movie and screamed out loud, “Don’t go in there!”, “Run” or “He’s right behind you!” Well, I have. I’ve told the characters how stupid they were for not realizing that the innocent fella they were talking to was really an axe murderer about to chop their heads off. I am convinced I would never be that dumb. I would survive any horror movie! Or so I thought……
We called a cab to take us from Evanston to the Salt Lake City Airport so that we didn’t have to drive the dog truck and trailer through the urban jungle; which would certainly stress all of us and the dogs. The cab was scheduled to arrive at 10:00AM, but did not. We called and the dispatcher assured us the cab was on its way they just had to stop to get something to eat. They? Whatever. 5 minutes later a woman in her late 40’s stepped into the lobby asking for who called the cab. We immediately got up and told her it was us. She explained that she came in because we probably wouldn’t recognize her car as a cab. We looked at the SUV parked out front with no decals or any indication that it was a cab and agreed with her. As she started to load our briefcases, we realized there was another woman that had come along with the cab driver. I thought, “Hmmm, this is odd. An unidentifiable cab driven by two women.” Then I talked myself out of my mini-paranoia. I felt comfortable with the two women. There was no need to run. This was not a horror movie.
We no sooner pulled out onto the main road and the two ladies got into a fairly animated conversation. I only picked up a few things as I was trying not to be rude and had checked out. The driver was basically complaining about some man and I got the impression he was the law. Despite my efforts to check out, the driver started directing the conversation towards us and we got sucked into her private hell for the next 1 ½ hours. She proceeded to tell us that just weeks ago one of her rides had called and complained that she was driving her cab drunk and had been drunker than her passengers. She was aptly pulled over by the police, who were harassing her, but she got in their face and told them to give her a breathalizer as this would be the only way to prove her innocence. She claimed to have passed the breathalizer, but for some reason she was expected to be in court for this issue within the next week. The first of many, many red flags started waving at this point. I noticed the two drinks in the console and wondered immediately if they were truly just soda pops.
We quickly learned that this was not the first run in Cruella the Cabbie has had with the law. She took us back through 25 years of her life starting with her husband dying from Marfans disease a year ago to back when she was with her drug addicted ex-husband straddled with a child. It was about this point I realized I might have stepped into my own personal horror story and no one had screamed at me, “Don’t get in the cab!” Cruella the Cabbie continued to explain that the law has been after her for years and years, harassing her and trying to get her put in jail all because of her drug addicted ex-husband. She was accused of sexually abusing her children and of being gay. As a result the Mormon Church ex-communicated her and got her into trouble with the law. “No one pisses off the church without some sort of harassment.” She has been harassed by the law in three different states; which is why she lives in Wyoming. She started in Salt Lake, but left and they kept giving her trouble everywhere she went and they were starting now in Wyoming. She’s smarter than them though. They won’t get her.
Bruce and I were expressionless and staring straight ahead for fear she’d make eye contact and that would set her off. My mind was going about 90 mph, I was wondering what he was thinking. Cruella the Cabbie proceeded, “The spirits talk to me. They told me one day the cops were coming. So I told my daughter to get the hell out of the house because the cops were coming. Sure enough they showed up. Those spirits were right. Ehh, haa ehhh, haaa!” She cackled with a dry smoker’s laugh that sounded evil. I asked, “Why were the cops after your daughter?” She explained it was because she had run away and had been missing for a year. This was the good daughter. Her other daughter got caught up in meth for many years. She was clean now, but she was a mess for a long time. There is also a third and she is trouble too. I kept thinking, “Lord, I’d be doing meth to if this lady was my mother. Thank you for the mom I have!”
Cruella talked non-stop the entire ride, but this was not the worse part. As we were intently listening to certainly the worst horror story ever, we were acutely aware of the fact that we were doing 80 mph on the curvy, mountainous highway to Salt Lake. It wasn’t ½ hour into the trip and I was white knuckling the door handle. These are not like Michigan highways; straight and flat. They have 7% grades and severe ess curves requiring 50 mph speed limits. Ms. Cabbie was oblivious to this as she set the cruise on 80 and approached the ess curves with 50 mph speed limit signs without ever touching the brake. You could feel the gravity pull on the vehicle as we slung around the corners and I just kept praying that we would not roll. “Then there was the time I was accused of murder!” You see her look in the rear view mirror. “Holy shit, we are going to die!” I thought. I was either going to die in the car or these two bimbos were going to take us down a deserted road and kill us. I started to assess whether we could take them. They were both very heavy set. I figured Bruce could take the driver who was certainly tougher and I would take the passenger.
“Yep, the spirits came to me one night and showed me this gal drinking and falling down the stair cracking her head open. So I told someone about it. The next day I learned that she had gotten drunk, fell down the stairs, cracked her head and died. So they thought it was me. Them damn officers don’t know crap. I didn’t have any money to fight them so I had to put up with their crap. The spirits watch over me.” I asked, “Do all Mormons have conversations with the spirit?” She explained fervently, “Oh no. They don’t talk to everyone. They’ve been talking to me since I was a child protecting my family. I’m Native American ya know.” I wondered why the spirits didn’t seem to want to protect her from the law. I also hoped my spirits were stronger than her spirits. I looked and we had 46 miles to go to Salt Lake. I wasn’t going to make it.
We approached more ess curves. I tried looking off into the distance to admire the scenery. I was starting to think morbid thoughts, “At least the last thing I saw was beautiful!” At this point the passenger started to tell her to slow down to which she snottily replied that she was. She’s now spending more time looking in the rear mirror or at her passenger, but definitely not at the road. The car was equipped with a lane sensor device that indicated when she was outside the lanes. So on top of her incessant ranting was this consistent beep, beep, beep, beep, beep. She argued it didn’t work as she would jerk the car back in the lane. I now have sweaty palms and am starting to take deep breaths. I consider telling her that I’m having a panic attack could she please slow the car down as it stresses me out when I’m in this condition. I look at Bruce and he has the death stare straight ahead. I think he’s left his body.
“You know the spirit talk in parables. The Mormons are stupid though because they don’t read the bible and they don’t understand parables. They think I’m ignorant because I didn’t finish school, but they don’t realize that I’m an intellectual and I read. I read the bible. I read a lot of stuff. The spirit talks to me for a reason. The Mormons have all these rules and they think you shouldn’t smoke.” The passenger replies that it is against the religion to smoke and it tells you so. Ms. Cabbie retorts, “It is a sin for you to do it, but the spirit told me that I could smoke. He wouldn’t tell you that because you are not chosen and he doesn’t talk to you.” She proceeds to ramble several parables and dissect sections of scripture. I’m hoping that she isn’t pissing off the guy upstairs as I don’t want to be wrongly affiliated while in this dire situation. 26 miles to go. I will never make it, I keep thinking. Please no more ess curves. Oh Gawd, a 7% grade followed by ess curves ahead. 50 mph signs. A semi to our right and a median barricade to our left. She’s not watching the road. Beep, beep, beep. I start to notice the passenger using her finger and her spit to clean a large stain off the roof of the passenger side. Is it a milkshake that spilled? From rolling? Holy crap, is it blood? I’m near hyper ventilation and feeling dizzy.
Ms. Cabbie proceeds to rant about religion. You know Jesus Christ was a Jew. We ignore her. She starts in about her husband converting to Mormonism from Catholicism. Then they ex-communicate me. It doesn’t matter because they are dumb. I’m now praying she doesn’t ask for my religion as she has had a problem with all of them except the unidentified spirit she talks to. We then learn her husband was jailed for attacking a police officer. It wasn’t his fault. It was the cops fault.
Thank you Jesus I see a sign to the SLC airport ½ mile. What if she doesn’t take it? She’s not slowing down. Man, I’m going to have to grab this lady around the neck and put something to the side of her head to get her to turn this car down the right exit. At the last minute, we jerk down the exit. I’m literally wiping my brow free of sweat. Just keep quiet and you’ll make it out of this cab. We pull up to the curb and I literally jump out before she was done rolling. As she comes around the back to collect the cash she says, “Oh look you both have the same coat on. How cute. We explain that they were gifts from a dog race we had just participated in.” To which she replied, “Oh, I drove you folks the other night. Yep, took you across town!” “No, it wasn’t us.” “Yep, I took you guys.” We smiled and then quickly dashed off. As soon as we entered the airport Bruce looks at me and asks, “Should we kiss the ground?” I burst into relieved hysterics.
By far the Salt Lake cab ride was worse than the one in Detroit where we only did 75 mph in a 45 mph zone zipping in out of traffic nearly missing the bumpers of other cars and screeching wheels as we turned corners. That was nothing compared to Salt Lake. Yep, I am never taking a cab ever again. I am listening to the voices in the horror movie, “DON’T GET IN THE CAB!” You should listen too; unless you want to die. Ehheh haa ehhh haa hha eehhhh!!!