When I think Sweden, I think Ikea, meatballs, Ace of Base and hot blondes. In fact, I usually think about NAKED hot blondes listening to Ace of Base while eating Swedish meatballs and making out with me in the bedroom section of Ikea, but that's beside the point.
Actually, it kinda IS the point.
The call came in around 10:15 p.m.
The host at a fancy new local restaurant had requested a cab to take a party of five from his restaurant to a nearby local bar. The fare for the two-minute jaunt was $30.
Now, it may sound a little steep, especially for those of you who live in the big city, but its pretty normal around here. An "in-town" run is $10 for the first person and $5 for each additional passenger. The base rate goes up as you venture into other area towns.
Anywho, I got out of bed, got dressed (yeah, I was naked again, for all of you keeping score at home), and went to pick up my fare.
They were waiting outside when I pulled up and the first thing I noticed was that they were hot, every last one of them... males, females, young and old... Hot. Smoking hot.
I assumed that they were a family. There was a mother figure, whose I guessed to be around 50 years old. She was flawless and she hopped into the front seat with me.
"Ah-lo," she said. Their accents led me to believe that they were foreign.
A male and a female, perhaps in their late teens climbed into the way back, while another male and female, maybe in their mid-twenties, climbed into the middle seat.
"To the tavern please," said the older male.
I guessed that they might be German, but the Germans are hard looking, these folks had a soft look. I got excited, though, ya know? Germans... they're a kinky bunch... and they certainly love their hardcore porn.
"Just so you guys know," I said as I pulled from the parking lot, "the cost is thirty dollars."
I learned quickly in this gig that you need to announce the fare as soon as you pick up.
Why? Like I said, cab rides around here are pricey and sometimes the passengers protest.
"Tirty dollars?!?" The older male was not happy.
"I'm sorry guys, that's the price."
"But I am not understanding," he continued. "Tirty dollars is a large amount of money. Are you for sure?"
I explained how the fare schedule worked and all five began to chatter in their native tongue.
"It is fine," said the fine Momma in the passenger seat next to me. "We will pay."
Damn straight you'll pay or your Eruo-asses are gonna be walking to the bar.
Mean cab driver.
We quickly arrived at their destination and I began to get very excited about the fact that I was on the verge of making $15 (my cut of the fare), plus a tip, for about fifteen minutes of work.
And then the unthinkable happened...
... the older male handed me ...a credit card.
"We don't take credit cards."
They started arguing with each other LOUDLY and all the women began digging in their purses, pulling out handfuls of singles.
"This is crazy how you don't take credit cards," the older male said.
"But this is New York," said the MILF. "No credit cards. It does not make sense."
"We have twenty one and fifty cents," declared the female in the middle seat.
"The cost is thirty," I repeated.
"But we only have this," she said, holding out her money.
"Stay here," I barked.
I stepped out of the van and called dispatch.
"Listen, I just got here and these people only have, like twenty-one dollars... and they're German... and they seem nice... they only have a credit card. Is there any way..."
"Tell them there's an ATM two blocks up."
I climbed back into the van.
"Listen folks, I called dispatch and asked if I could take twenty bucks and they said no. There's an ATM a few blocks away. I can take you there."
Immediately, the folks started chattering again and I just... God, I just wanted to go back to bed.
In a nano-second, the following thoughts race through my head:
My passengers had enough for me to cover the company's cut and make myself five bucks.
I had already made decent money that night.
If I were in a foreign country and found myself short on cash, I would hope someone would be kind enough to help ME.
In addition to being a complete and total bitch sometimes, Karma can be really fucking beautiful. In fact, she can be super hot... I want Karma to make love to me, not fuck me...
"You know what guys," I said interrupting whatever argument I could not understand. "Forget it, give me what you have and go."
"No, no, no," said the MILF. They started arguing again.
"No, I'm serious," I said. "Just go and have fun. Welcome to America. Welcome to New York."
"Tank you," she said. "We are only here on two days."
"It's fine... go."
"You are so nice to us," said the girl in the way back. "I have a Swedish Crown."
Ah... Swedish. No wonder they're so good looking.
"Oh yes," said the MILF. "We have Swedish money."
"I'll take that," I declared.
"Yes," I said. "My oldest son collects foreign money."
They all started digging again and they came up with 27 Krona, roughly worth $4 in U.S. currency.
They thanked me repeatedly as they climbed out of the van and made their way into the bar.
I really love this new gig. But, if you get in my cab and try to pull that shit (unless you're really hot and from Sweden) I'll beat you senseless.