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June 2, 2008

June 2, 2008 – The Hidden Compartment

            Thump, thump, thump…

            That’s never a good sign.  I exited the taxi and took a look around.  It was a flat tire, as I had suspected.  I really hate changing tires, especially on these cars.  They’re filthy.  With tires like these it’s no surprise that there are blowouts. 

            So here I am, staring blankly into an empty trunk.  Oh sure there were things in there, just nothing useful.  There was Windex, some old oily rags, and a musty smell.  Oh yeah, there was a shitty old spare tire – but once again, nothing useful.  I pull out the spare, which was pretty low on air, not much better than my flat tire I might add.  But there’s a problem, there’s no jack.  That’s sort of an important step – to jack up the car.  To my surprise there was a tire iron.  I call the office.

            Me: Hi Julie, is Catherine there?
            Julie: Ugh, hold on.
            Catherine: Hello
            Me: Hey Catherine, it’s *****
            Catherine: What’s the problem?
            Me: I have a flat tire and there doesn’t seem to be a jack in the car.
            Catherine: Did you check the trunk?
            Me: …Yes Catherine, I looked in the trunk.
            Catherine: Did you check in the side compartment?
Me: Well, I’m not exactly sure where that is but I’ve looked everywhere in the trunk.           
Catherine: I’ll come over.

So this took a good 45 minutes or so.  It probably took so long because she let Earl driver her over.  I’d never get behind the wheel with that guy, some of Cortez’s residents feel that way as well.  Yeah, he’s still driving people around in his late 80’s.   Unreal.  And what the fuck was with her asking if I had looked in the trunk?  I just wanted to say something like “No, I’ve just been looking in the glove box” or “I already checked my pockets, I don’t know where else it could be.”  Give me a little credit.

So Catherine walks over to the trunk, grabs a felt panel, and peels it back.  No shit, there’s a secret compartment in the trunk.   I never would have found this.  Turns out that I’m not the only driver who has had issues looking for the jack here.  How am I supposed to know about this.  There’s no marking, labeling, or visible seam to hint that there is a hidden compartment.  Catherine just gave me a funny look as if I wasted her time, and truthfully I did, but if she had just explained a little better this all could have been prevented. 

Luckily I had brought a change of clothes with me – namely a black shirt.  Catherine has adopted a uniform policy where drivers can wear black pants and a white, black or yellow collared shirt.  Not many of the drivers follow this.  I usually wear t-shirts because they are more comfortable.  I’ve never once heard a customer complain about what I was wearing.  Catherine claims that customers complain about how I am dressed all the time.  Really, a clean t-shirt and jeans?  I drive a taxi not a limo.

I’m not sure exactly who it is, but it’s become fairly obvious that Catherine has drivers that keep and eye on things for her.  Most likely one of the daytime drivers, there’s quite a few ass kissers during the day that try to get brownie points from the office.  They mainly keep watch for unimportant things like who is wearing the required company uniform.  The office used to send one of the workers out on surveillance missions with a camera to take a picture of anyone who wasn’t wearing the “official colors.”  There are some drivers who wear the same black shirt, or white or yellow for that matter, for days on end.  By the third or fourth day they are covered with b.o. and stains from eating on the road.  This is all ok though…

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