GOD DIDN'T GET ME NO WEED, by Mather Schneider

Me and Lit­tle John were sit­ting at the bus sta­tion behind the wheels of our taxi cabs. We were far, far down on the cab cue, so we wouldn't get a fare for a while. It was a depress­ing place to be, num­ber 9 or 10 on the bus sta­tion cab cue. It was about 4 in the after­noon.

Lit­tle John was on his cell phone. His 7 teeth flashed in the sun.“Hey, Don­ny,” he said into the phone. “What’s up? Where you been?”

He looked at me through our open win­dows and gave me the thumbs up.

What?” he said. “No, no, man…Hey, is Jay there?… Where is he?…Don’t fuck around man, I’m com­plete­ly out, I mean

I had a cou­ple of buds stashed away for an emer­gency but those are gone now and…What?…No, hey, you know me, man, I can’t live like this. I AM A MAN WHO NEEDS HIS WEED! Ray? Ray? Hel­lo?”

Lit­tle John looked at me again. “Fuck­er hung up,” he said. “He’s blow­ing me off, man. But I’ll get to him if I have to dri­ve this fuck­ing taxi all the way to fuck­ing Yuma.”

Lit­tle John was 5’6” and weighed 245 pounds. He had bad arch­es that caused him to walk with a stiff-legged lurch, but he hard­ly ever walked, he most­ly remained behind the wheel of his cab. He was most com­fort­able there, and had the appear­ance of being a phys­i­cal part of the vehi­cle. He was 47 years old with over-washed salt and pep­per hair that fell down his neck and onto his Neolith­ic fore­head. A wart poked its nip­ple-like head out of his right cheek and he had the habit of rub­bing it while he talked.

"Don’t smoke pot before you come to work,” the boss told Lit­tle John one time.

Be rea­son­able,” Lit­tle John said.

Well, don’t smoke at least 3 hours before work.”

One hour.”

Two and a half.”

They set­tled on two hours but Lit­tle John smokes through­out his whole shift any­way. He goes home and smokes a joint and then he’s back in his taxi, or he just smokes in his taxi.

But today he ran out of weed for the first time in years.

"I can't live like this," he said. "I've got to work, I've got to dri­ve this fuck­ing taxi, I've got to make mon­ey. I've got to deal with these peo­ple, all these moth­er fuck­ers…"

"Easy," I said. “God is lis­ten­ing."

"Fuck god," Lit­tle John said. "God didn't get me no weed."

"You hear me, moth­er fuck­er?" he said, lean­ing his head out his cab win­dow and look­ing at the sky. "Fuck YOU!"

He brought his head back inside the cab and looked straight ahead with a sigh. He sat there for a sec­ond. Then he gave me a wor­ried look, and put his head back out the win­dow.

"Just kid­ding," he said to the sky.

Just then a black van pulled into the bus sta­tion park­ing lot. The hot sun reflect­ed off the shiny black paint. The van stopped and a mus­cu­lar tat­tooed white guy got out the back. Then the dri­ver got out, a fat white guy in a white shirt. He ran around the van and grabbed the first guy and start­ed beat­ing him in the face with his fist. He hit him about ten times, rapid­ly, and the guy crum­pled onto the ground. Then the guy got back in the van and drove off.

Lit­tle John jumped out of his cab and ran over to the guy on the ground. A cou­ple of oth­er cab­bies wan­dered over too. Lit­tle John bent down and helped the guy up, and then the guy tried to hit him. Lit­tle John pushed him off and the guy stood up and stum­bled away toward Broad­way.

Lit­tle John walked back to his cab, defeat­ed.

Some peo­ple just don’t want help,” he said.

Did you ask him if he had any weed?” I said.

Don’t joke about it,” he said.

Some­thing will come up.”

Easy for you to say,” he said. “You’re a drunk. All you have to do is go to the store.”

Except on Sun­days,” I said. “On Sun­days I have to wait until ten o’clock. We’re liv­ing in a police state.”

Poor baby,” Lit­tle John said. “Poor god damned fuck­ing baby.”

Yeah, yeah.”

Shit, I got to get out of this city. I got to get back to the coun­try. I was raised in the coun­try, you know.”

He lit a cig­a­rette.

We used to have chick­ens, goats, pigs, all that,” he con­tin­ued. “That was the fuck­ing life, bet­ter than this shit­ty city. This place is fuck­ing dirty, man, and full of ass­holes. Plus, in the coun­try you can grow your own weed.”

So what’s stop­ping you?” I said.

I don’t know, I’ve got my apart­ment. Besides, how would I get mon­ey?”

A Grey­hound bus pulled into the sta­tion and emp­tied itself of peo­ple. A few of the cabs in the front of the cue got fares, and pulled away. Then the whole cue moved up and every­one got in their cars, moved 30 yards up, and parked them again.

I had this one lit­tle chick,” Lit­tle John said, “on the farm. “Lit­tle fuzzy yel­low thing, and she grew attached to me. I named her Peep­ers. Damn, she was cute, man, you should have seen her, she would fol­low me around every­where I went.”

How old were you?” I said.

I was like 8 or 9 I think, yeah. Shit, Peep­ers, I haven’t thought about her in a long time. But it’s sad though, because one day we were run­ning through a field, and I was run­ning real fast, you know, and I guess she just couldn’t take it and she stopped. I felt bad and went back and bent over her and she was breath­ing real heavy and kind of twitch­ing in the grass. Jesus, I start­ed cry­ing. And then you know what hap­pened?”

What?”

Her heart explod­ed! It fuck­ing explod­ed right out of her chest. Right out of her lit­tle fuck­ing chest.”

I gave him a look.

I’m seri­ous, it did, explod­ed right out of her chest, there was blood on the ground, it was ter­ri­ble.”

Lit­tle John seemed to go into anoth­er world and a tear fell down his cheek. He looked away and wiped it.

Maybe you should just stay here in the city, big fel­la,” I said.

He shook his head up and down but he couldn’t talk any­more. The cab cue was dead.

I’ve got to go,” I said. “I’ve got a per­son­al.”

Ain’t you lucky.”

I pulled out, to the delight of the cab dri­ver behind me. Every­thing starts with mov­ing, just keep mov­ing and the luck would change. It was like death just sit­ting there.

I drove over to the Food City by Ran­dolph Park and got a hot dog at an out­door stand. A Mex­i­can guy hand­ed it to me and it was loaded: beans, ketchup, mus­tard, mayo, onions, toma­toes, cucum­bers, cheese and bacon.

I was stand­ing there eat­ing the hot dog next to my cab in the bright sun when I saw a man run­ning toward me across the Food City park­ing lot, wav­ing his arm. He was lug­ging a suit­case and it was obvi­ous he need­ed a cab. Come to papa, I thought. He was run­ning like his heart would burst from his chest.

I was born in Peo­ria, Illi­nois in 1970 and have lived in Tuc­son, Ari­zona for the past 14 years. I love it here, love the desert, love the Mex­i­can cul­ture (most of it), and I love the heat. I have one full-length book of poet­ry out called DROUGHT RESISTANT STRAIN by Inte­ri­or Noise Press and anoth­er called HE TOOK A CAB from New York Quar­ter­ly Press. I have had over 500 poems and sto­ries pub­lished since 1993 and I am cur­rent­ly work­ing on a book of prose.

http://​www​.nyq​books​.org/​a​u​t​h​o​r​/​m​a​t​h​e​r​s​c​h​n​e​i​der

 

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