Soccer Dad and the People in your Neighborhood: True Tales of an SLC Cabbie

Note: All names of persons have been changed

So I had had a decent 10 and a half hours of driving, money-wise and otherwise, and I was seriously considering cutting out before the final 2 a.m. bar rush. It was, after all, my fourth night in a row of working. I was cruising around on West Temple halfheartedly looking for fares, but mostly just kind of soaking up all the activity—the drunk girls and the drunk boys that love them, the fights, the exchanging of digits, the posturing—you know, the standard banality of human mating rituals on a Saturday night. I was particularly focused on the groups of boys and the groups of girls walking back to their cars without scoring and I was imagining which packs of each should've, could've been hooking it up for some after-hours action. I was making some pretty funny pairings, too, when my phone rang.

"Hey Soccer Dad, this is Jane. Could you come and pick me and Tom up?"

Jane is my girlfriend's roommate and she's actually really cool. Oh, and she likes to indulge in libations on occasion. Tom is her new boyfriend.

"Yeah, where you at?"


"No worries, I'll be there in two minutes."

As I crossed the tracks and pulled up to the bar, I saw Jane struggling to keep Tom and my friend Jerry away from each other. I know that Tom and Jerry have been friends since, like, junior high, so I was thinking that perhaps they were all just fucking around in some sort of faux drunken barn-dance type deal. When I parked the car in front and got out, however, I realized that they were straight up on the verge of throwing down.

Jerry, slurry beyond slurry: "Dude, fuck you, man. I'll kick your ass."

Tom, trying to reach over Jane and get to Jerry, a little slurry himself but not quite as slurry: "Man, you can fuck off so many times. Don't you ever call my girlfriend a bitch."

And so forth. I'm sure that you've all seen just such a confrontation. And although Jane was doing a bang-up job of keeping them separated, I was thinking that I should probably help her out and get them into the cab away from Jerry. But for some reason, I hesitated. Years of living have taught me that before getting involved in someone else's battles, I had better find out exactly what the score is first.

Said I, "Hey Tom, what's up?"

Tom, "Dude, he called Jane a bitch and now I'm gonna kick his sorry ass."

Jerry, "Yeah right, pussy. I'll beat your weak ass down."

OK, so yeah—I was thinking that it was all just a little bit of drunken nonsense; that I should totally just diffuse it and get Jane and Tom home. Then, Jerry took a swing at Tom, missed, and hit Jane in the boob area. Oh, shit.

Very calmly, Tom looked at me and asked, "Could you get Jane out my way now so that I can kick this motherfucker's ass?"

And, according to polite society, I totally shouldn't have. I totally should've said no and I totally should've forced him and Jane into the cab. But lots of thoughts in my head led me to believe that I should just let 'em knock around for a minute. I mean, Jerry was kind of being an ass. And he did just hit Tom's girlfriend in the chest. And sometimes it's good for longtime friends to have a good fight, right? Right? See, here's the worst part, though—I think that I wanted to see them fight and I think that I wanted to see who would win (I would've put money on Tom, mostly 'cause Jerry was way more drunk). And I figured that I could play referee and that if it got too bad, I could simply break it up. I motioned Jane over to me and she reluctantly obliged.

And then it was on. Initially, like most drunken scraps, there was a lot of wrestling and attempted tackles. And then Jerry got Tom up against my cab and landed a pretty square shot to the left eye. It had been awhile since I had heard that sound—the sound of a fist landing on a human face. It has such a dull and hollow quality to it that is so much more sickening than the imitated sound in the movies. I cringed and questioned my decision to not break it up. As soon as Tom cocked back from the punch though, I could see his face take on an air of gratuitous determination. He was going to fight for his honor, for Jane's honor, and he was totally going to win. I didn't envy Jerry at all. Sure enough, Tom went ballistic. At the crescendo, Jerry was on the ground as Tom stood over him and landed three successive right hooks to the mouth—one, two and THREE!!! At that point, Jerry held up his hands in an "uncle" gesture and Tom let him up. Jerry's mouth was bleeding. Fight over.

After I dropped Jane and Tom off, it was definitely quitting time. I played the scene over in my mind as I drove back to City Cab HQ and tried to decide if I had let them fight more for their own good or for mine. I tried to feel all benevolent and wise, but mostly, I just felt voyeur's remorse. Yeah, I'm definitely still kind of a shitty person, despite my desires for the opposite. Oh well, huh? A happy aside, though—Tom and Jerry pretty much made up the next day.