Taxi Deductible


Having read some loose talk about rip-off taxi fares from Lisbon airport, I was determined not to fall victim and established via the internet that our journey should cost no more than €10. Armed with this information like a metaphorical snooker ball in a sock, I marched up to the nearest taxi facilitator and demanded to know in advance, in advance mark you, the full cost to our address. “€19” was his nonchalant reply.

“Ah ha!” I countered using only my glittering eyes. Mr Brylcreem clearly thinks I’m some rube, fresh off the plane when in fact I’d already been in Lisbon for 26 minutes. My facial expression announced “the game’s up son” while my perky mouth delivered “I have it on good authority that it should cost no more than €10”. He parried with “€19” and I’m pretty sure he stifled a yawn. I realised that this cut and thrust badinage was getting us nowhere so dropped the bomb, “ok, we’ll agree on €15 and say no more about it my good man. Now make haste!”.

He immediately delivered checkmate with “€19”.

It appeared the time was ripe to reach a compromise so we agreed on the middle ground of €19. Ultimate victory belonged to this Gadabout though as I let him lift Susie’s monumentally heavy suitcase into the boot by himself.

Lisbon’s Travis Bickle proceeded to drive to our apartment like a suicidally angry drunk. To distract us from our imminent fiery death he made small talk in Portuguese. After our verbal jousting, I wasn’t really in the mood and it seemed pointless to kid ourselves that this relationship was going to progress to drinks and nibbles.

Você está falando comigo? Você está falando comigo? Então quem diabos mais você está falando ... Você está falando comigo? Bem, eu sou o único aqui.

He grew increasingly frustrated at my indifference and used his hands in an expressively dramatic fashion to elucidate further. This left little time for steering so I began to pay him closer attention. We eventually established that London is very often colder than Lisbon so the effort paid off.

After finally arriving at our destination, he pulled out a pad and began scribbling complicated calculations like a tanned Stephen Hawking. We were parked in a narrow alley and as smoke rose from his blurring pencil, cars began to form a line behind us. Despite the famed laid-back patience of the Latin temperament, horn tooting and yelling began almost immediately. This didn’t seem to overly concern Professor Hawking who announced that the final tally was €19.05.  Presumably the additional 5¢ was to cover his meteorological insights.

Susie handed him €20 and waited for change. He began to energetically pat his pockets as if he were on fire. Given the way he drives, I imagine this practice will eventually come in handy. He finally announced that he didn’t have any change and to be fair, he did look pretty devastated.

Running my hands over the body of a powerfully built Portuguese man in an alleyway was not the way I wanted to start this adventure (it’s something I like to work up to) so we were left with little choice but to collect our luggage from the boot. Perhaps unsurprisingly, our driver didn’t move a muscle to help. As I offered Susie supportive words of encouragement while watching her desperately struggle to lift her suitcase, I could only hope that he was deeply ashamed of himself.


One Response to “Taxi Deductible”

  1. 1 Ho

    another awesome final sentence

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