Part 164 – Half An Hour

Ambrose sat in an uncomfortable huddle in the middle of the back seat. He really wanted to lean his head against the window. Every time he tried, though, the sun blazed into his eyes.

He scratched the plastic divider, separating the driver from the passengers. His claws scritched long, noisy lines.

“Hey, Mac. Sit back or I’ll toss you  out the door.”

“Aren’t we there yet?”

“We’ll be there in half an hour.”

Ambrose slumped back.

Too warm.

Too tired.

And I don’t even know what Sammy wants.

His head twirled through a dizzy cycle.

He moaned softly and doubled over. He pressed his hands against his eyes as if that would help.

It didn’t.

But it felt good.

“Are we there yet?”

“Yeah. In half an hour.”

***

“Are we there yet?”

“In half an hour.”

***

“Are we there yet?”

“No. Half an hour.”

***

“Are we—”

“No.”

Ambrose uncovered his eyes and glared at the plastic divider. “Well, what’s taking so long?”

“Street lights. Stop signs. Pedestrians. Hot chicks I must oogle.”

“Fine. Stop the car.”

“Huh?”

“I said stop the car. Do NOT make me repeat myself.”

The driver turned in his seat and gave Ambrose a what the heck look. “What are you gonna do?”

“Walk.”

The driver snorted. “Don’t waste your time.”

“Too late. My time has already been wasted. Stop the car.” He pressed the edges of his claws against the plastic divider. “Or else.”

“Fine, ya yokel. I’ll stop the car.” He pulled over to the side of the road and unlocked the back doors. “There. Go. Scat. Get yourself lost.”

Ambrose opened the back door.

Daylight blasted into the car.

He clenched his teeth.

“Well? You gonna sit there and wait for a sun tan to happen?”

I want to go home.

I want to sleep.

I want to tell Sammy exactly what…what…

He closed the door and settled back to the middle of the back seat. “Keep going.”

“Sure thing, boss.”

Ambrose could hear the smirk in the driver’s voice, but he lacked the energy to do anything about it. “Let me know when we get there.” He doubled over and covered his face with his hands.

***

The car stopped, jolting Ambrose out of a nightmare involving a vampire Mark Caten.

“Hey, boss. We’re here. Sammy’s Place.”

Ambrose uncovered his face and bleared at the plastic divider.

The driver looked back at him. “So? You gonna pay me and get out?”

“Pay?” He sat up. “What?”

“Hey. I’m a taxi driver, not a charitable drive fund. I expect to be paid for m—”

Ambrose pressed his fists against the sides of his head. “Shut up. Shut up! You’re giving me a headache.”

“If you don’t pay me, I’ll get you a headache plus twenty and charge you double for damages.”

“There’s a word in French for someone like you.”

“Yeah, I’m sure there is, boss. Pay up or I’ll drive you back to your starting point. Won’t that be a big thrill ride for you?”

“You do that, I’ll break through this flimsy plastic thing in between us and I’ll—”

“Yeah. You’re such a big boss danger man. Whatever. Pay up now.”

“Fine.” He pulled out his wallet and opened it.

There was no money inside.

“Figures.”

The driver looked down at the empty wallet and arched an eyebrow. “Seriously? You called for a taxi and didn’t bother to see if you could afford it?”

“I don’t do my best thinking during the day.”

“So? Who’s gonna pay me? Huh? I got plenty of bills and stuff to pay for. I can’t afford to—”

Ambrose shook his head. “I don’t have time to listen to your whining. Yeah, you have problems. Boo-hoo. I have problems too.”

“Oh, well. Boo-hoo back at ya.”

Ambrose snarled at him, baring his fangs.

The driver startled. “Holy hot shoot dang! You didn’t say anything about being a vampire! Fine! Fine! You don’t have to pay. I’ll let you off easy this time.” He unlocked the doors. “Go! And take your vampire germs with you.”

“Vampirism has nothing to do with germs.”

“I don’t care. Out! Out! Out!”

As Ambrose opened the door, the driver moaned. “I’ll have to send the car through the cleaners.”

Ambrose snarled at him. “I don’t have germs!” He got out of the car and slammed the door.

The driver hit it into high gear and sped away.

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