ZYGOTE IN MY COFFEE.COM
| Rowina Miller is 90 years old and the color of dusty coffee. She climbs slowly in the front seat of my cab. She has to go to the doctor. I’m five minutes late.
“Good morning, young man,” she says. “You’re late.”
“Sorry,” I say.
What's your name?”
“Well, Jorge,” she says, “I’m Rowina.”
“Nice to meet you, ma’am.”
“Jorge, I sure hope you're a good driver.”
“Don't worry,” I say, pulling onto Pima Street.
“Hmmph,” she says.
“You don’t believe me?” I say.
“Well, I just don’t know, do I?” she says. “My husband Edward always said he was a good driver, too, hmmph. One time, he tried to take that corner over by 36th Street, you know the one?”
“Sure,” I say.
“Well,” she says, “he couldn't make it. He crashed it! He walked home and you should have seen him! Whooo, doggy!”
“Another time my Edward throwed Albert, that's my baby, Albert, he throwed Albert out the window when he rolled our old Oldsmobile. Shoot, was I hot! Albert was ok, thank the Lord.”
Some asshole is on my bumper, so I give him a look in the rearview. He switches lanes and passes me. I turn and look in through his passenger window, but he doesn’t turn his head. Good.
“Edward was all right?”
“Hmmmph, Edward was all right, yes, though I didn’t give no mind about that then. He was too dorn stubborn to ever get hurt.”
Edward died 30 years ago. I have taken Miss Miller to her doctor several times and it is always the same. She can’t remember me, and she tells me stories about Edward.
“One time he did kill a boy,” she says, “a boy he worked with. They was both drinking and my Edward just did what he always did, got in the car and started driving. He drove that car right into a telephone pole. Poor boy was killed, mmm, hmmm. Edward went to jail for a couple of years, but when he got out he weren't no different. Hmmph.”
“Too stubborn,” I say.
“Ha, you said it, was that man ever stubborn! Lord, he was something.”
I let her off at her doctor and promise to come and get her in an hour. But she looks worried and lost, so I walk her to the door of the doctor’s office and encourage her to walk up to the receptionist’s desk. Then I wave and leave.
As I’m about to pull onto Wilmot Road, a young girl runs the red light there at the intersection and doesn’t t-bone me only because I drive the brake pedal into the floorboard. She doesn’t even give me a glance, she looks straight ahead, smiling vacantly. Her own mortality has never even crossed her mind. A quarter of a second later she crashes straight into a car that is trying to make a U-turn. Wherever she’s going, she’s going be late.
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