BRIAN by Bob Boyton
It's half past two Wednesday morning and up until now it's been about as deadly as it gets which is why I'm taking a risk on getting into one with a black cab by mooching a fare off the pavement.
He was outside a pub called the Bull and Pump on the corner of Huntley St. and Tottenham Court Road. Going by the way he's leaning over he's just come out after a substantial session. Tottenham Court's a double width one way and I was right the other side of it with traffic behind, pushing me on, so I probably only noticed him because of the white raincoat he's got draped over his arm. I had to let a few go and then I cut across eyeballing the road in the mirror to make sure a black cab or old bill doesn't see me pick up in the street.
I have a look at him as I'm coming to a stop, close up he's definitely pissed. He's got his collar undone with his tie flapping about in the wind and his suit's hanging off him the way even posh clothes do when you're drunk. By his feet there's an extra large briefcase so I reckoned he must be some sort of high up office worker.
I leaned out of the window and said, `Mini cab?'
He just stood there looking down at me through his glasses for a long time, twitching them up his nose a couple of times as if it was a nervous tic.
The he shrugged and said, `I'm in finance.'
Judging by his stupid smile he still thinks he's in the pub having a joke with his mates.
If I wasn't boric I'd have left it and pulled away but I'm wearing trainers that let the rain in and the social have just cut her money off because they've caught up with me being back round there.
I said, `Do you want a mini cab.'
He smiled and said, `Sure why not, 26 Harcourt Avenue, between Willesden Green and Dollis Hill, get to Willesden Green and I'll show you from there.'
I've got a rough idea and he doesn't look as if he's going to notice much, so I reached over to open the back door and said `Jump in.'
I pulled away up Tottenham Court and tried to make my mind up. It was Willesden Lane I needed so I had a choice, either Euston Road, then Edgware Road to Kilburn, or Mornington Crescent up to Swiss Cottage, over the roundabout and through to Kilburn that way. There wasn't much in it and the state of the motor I reckoned I was better off sticking to the back doubles in case I got a pull.
The punter was sitting in the back staring into space, he was so still he looked like a big doll with glasses.
I was keeping an eye on him in the mirror every now and then just in case he started to look as if he was going to be sick but he just sat there, like a big buddha or something.
He was so dozy that once I was off the main drag I figured I was alright to have a bit more charlie. I've licked a finger tip and then poked it into the envelope, trying to make sure that I don't get more than a little dab because this lot's good enough to make me go whoosh if I overdo it.........