I Died Today
I DIED TODAY
“You'll never guess what happened to me today,” Julie said even before climbing in the cab.
Donna cringed knowing Julie's penchant for exaggerating.
“I died today, I literally died,” she continued once she sat beside her best friend since grade school.
Donna groaned to herself. The cabdriver looked in the mirror and thought she looked pretty good for having died. He asked without looking at them directly, just in the mirror, “Where to ladies?”
Both women looked at each other and laughed out loud. “Francos!” they each screamed.
The cab driver shook his head. Francos was way on the other side of town. He'd collect a good fare and hopefully a good tip but that long with these two giddy women might not be worth it. He started the meter and steered the cab into the traffic lane thinking he might break his rule of not speeding just to get rid of them faster.
As the cab maneuvered through the streets he radioed his destination to the dispatcher, still looking back in the mirror whenever he could.
“So what happened,?” Donna asked hesitantly.
“Oh you just won't believe it,”
Donna hoped she would tell the story and shut up. She envisioned the story not finishing before they got to the bar they were heading for.
“Do you remember Gerald, what's his name? Gerald Swanson, that's it. You know, from junior high school.” Julie took a breath.
“He sat in the front row in Mr. Dunn's class.”
Before Donna could say, 'he sat in the front row in every class,' Julie continued.
“Well I ran into him today at the supermarket. I wasn't even sure it was him until he said hello.”
Donna tried to say something but Julie kept talking. “Anyway, as soon as I heard his voice I knew it was him. You know, that nasal, squeaky voice he has.” Donna nodded. “It made everyone shudder.”
“He tried to talk about how good I looked and that the years sure hadn't hurt me.” The cab driver remembered her standing at the curb in her short dress and open neck. He silently agreed, the years hadn't hurt her. For that matter it hadn't hurt either of the ladies.
“He talked about the old days in school and when he asked me out.” Julie fished in her purse for a moment and pulled out a mirror. She held it up but the dim lights of the cab and the flashing lights from outside made it almost impossible for her to see herself.
“Of course I refused him,” She continued as she put the mirror away and buttoned her purse. “He was naturally heartbroken.”
Not for long Donna wanted to say. She wondered how Julie would respond if she knew she and Gerald dated behind her back for months before he moved away. Something about his father getting a job across the country.
“Well anyway he tried to date me again and I told him I'd heard he had a girlfriend. “ Julie looked out the window, catching her breath before starting up again.
“Can you imagine any girl dating him? She must have been a real loser!”
Donna bit her lip so she wouldn't scream at her friend. The cab driver put ear buds in his ears to listen to his radio hoping to drown out Julie. It didn't work.
“Anyway, he asked if I was married. I wanted to say yes but I knew he had already checked out my ring hand. That is, when he wasn't looking at my boobs.”
“I tried to get away from him but he followed me all over the store and even to the cashier. He helped me with my groceries and asked if I was doing anything tonight. I think he was going to ask me out again. Can't he take a hint? I was trying to avoid him. Even when I walked away from him I could see in the reflection of the glass he was staring at my bum. What a pervert!”
Donna saw that they were getting close to Francos, their favorite nightclub. Finally she broke in.
“Well actually I also ran into him today and we went for coffee. We had a real nice chat. He has changed a lot.”
Before she could say more the cab swerved and pulled to a stop. The driver turned his head, saying “That'll be Twenty-two dollars ladies.”
Julie fished through her purse trying to find her wallet. Donna pulled a Twenty and Ten dollar bill out of her clutch purse.
“That's good,” she said as the driver feigned looking for the change. He felt it was worth more than eight dollars to have to listen to the chatterbox.
“I've been trying to tell you something,” Donna said.
Before she could finish Julie's door swung open. She looked up to see the cab driver still sitting behind the steering wheel. She turned to see a hand held out to help her out of the car. Julie moved her head to see who stood beside the cab.
“I invited Gerald to join us”