The Girl in the Taxi
I glance over at the alarm clock and it says quarter after one; the phone on the bedside table is ringing. I don’t even know why my wife had it installed. Four phones in the house, that’s just damned ridiculous. I pick it up.
“Hello. Do you know what time it is?”
The voice comes back all wavery and distorted. “There is a car waiting outside your house. Get inside. You don’t want to ignore this.” Then there’s a click and a dial tone.
Melanie rolls over in bed. “Everything okay, Bob?”
“Yeah, just some crank caller.” A horn sounds from the front of the house.
I stumble over to the window and look out. There’s a yellow taxi sitting at the foot of my driveway, engine running.
I throw on a robe and some slippers and head for the bedroom door. Melanie calls after me.
“What is it, Bob?”
“Some jerk called a cab to the house. I’m going to go give him a piece of my mind.”
I stomped down the stairs and out the front door. What kind of idiot calls a cab for you in the middle of the night?
As I approach the cab I notice there’s already somebody in the back. It’s a blonde with great looking-hooters barely restrained by a halter top and shorts short enough that you can see all the way from crotch to ankle. She opens the door to make room for me.
“Come on in, handsome, and we can go for a ride.”
I think about protesting, but then those legs move and dispel all doubt. I climb in the cab. She immediately starts playing with the sash on my robe.
She leans over and whispers, “Close the door.” I do.
The taxi pulls away and she leans back to give me a good view.
“So, uh, what happens next?”
“It’s called the ‘big reveal’, Daddy.”
“Oh, I get it. I’m your sugar daddy? Come to papa, baby.”
“I know I’m not as young as you like, Daddy. Not like Cindy next door.”
“She’s fourteen years old! What are you accusing me of?”
“You were watching her mow the lawn in those short shorts of hers, dreaming about a little cherry pie. And tomorrow when you see her you’re going to help yourself.”
“What’s the big idea? Who the hell are you?”
“I’m your little Hedy from twenty-five years in the future.”
“That’s stupid! Heather is only one year old!”
“Not where I’m from. It’s the year 2000, and I made a New Year’s wish that I could stop you from hurting me or any of the other girls you molested. My genie cab driver brought me back to 1975. Wasn’t that nice of him?”
I backed up against the side of the cab but the latch wouldn’t budge. She reached behind her and pulled out a pistol. A little whiff of smoke came from the barrel as my world exploded in pain.
The Girl in the Other Taxi
I’ve finally cried myself to sleep when the phone rings. I nudge Bob to get it, but then realize it isn’t him. They found Bob’s body in a ditch this morning. I reach across my friend Cassie and pick up the receiver.
A woman’s voice is on the other end. “There’s a car waiting outside the house. Get inside.”
“Please, you don’t want to ignore this. I have answers for you.”
Cassie looks up groggily, “Is everything all right?”
“No. Somebody wants me to get into a strange car outside. It’s just like what happened to Bob. But they say they have answers.”
“Go, but be careful. I’ll watch Heather.”
I put on a housecoat and slippers and go downstairs. There’s a taxi at the end of the drive with a woman in it. She looks to be in her mid-twenties, conservatively dressed in a blouse and skirt with a sensible hairstyle. She looks like my aunt Iris, only bustier.
As I get up to the cab door she beckons me in. I can smell honeysuckle and a hint of roses, and she has such earnest eyes. “Please, get in. I can explain everything. Don’t worry; we’re only going to drive around the block.”
I get in and close the door behind me. The taxi starts moving slowly and gently.
“Please don’t kill me.”
“I’m not going to kill you, Mom.”
“It’s me, Heather. I’m from the future, the year 2000 to be precise. Everything’s going to be all right.”
“That is the most outlandish…”
“No, it’s true! Here, see this?”
She holds out a ring: my wedding ring, handed down from my mother for five generations. My jaw drops silently as I examine it. It’s unmistakable and it’s impossible, since the original is still on my hand.
“How…? Why are you here?”
“It’s a long story, Mom, and it’s not important. I just want you to know I’m the one that killed Dad. I had to.”
I look her in the eye, a dark ugly feeling forming in my gut. “Why?”
“He was a child molester.”
I manage to choke out, “I know.”
"But how, if he's dead?"
"It wasn't exactly me; I think it was some kind of alternate universe thing. But I remember what he did, and what I did,, like a recovered memory. I had to set things straight with you."
She could have asked a hundred questions, or worse yet told me more. Instead she reaches out and hugs me.
“It’s all right, Mom. He’s gone now. You can start over.”
“Start over? I’m a divorced woman with a one-year old baby! Who would want to marry that?”
“Jim Townsend, for one.”
“What? But he’s married, and has a son.”
“His wife is dying of TB; she’s only got a few days left. When she dies he’s going to need comfort and sympathy just as much as you do. I don’t know how it happens, but in my past you two get together. I hope I haven’t mucked that up by telling you.”
The car pulls over and lets me out at the end of the driveway. Maybe there is hope after all.