Sat, Jan 10, 2009 - Page 8 News List

Johnny Neihu's News Watch: If Studs Terkel were a curmudgeon

Editor’s note: Johnny Neihu is on assignment. The following transcripts appeared on the editor’s desk just before deadline in a taped-up plastic bag bought at Carrefour.

By Johnny Neihu 強尼內湖

Taxi Driver No. 1: Johnny, I don’t know what you think, but as far as I see it we’re screwed. The economy is stuffed. I drive 13 hours a day just to cover gas, car costs and maybe a few hundred NT dollars for food.

Johnny: Take a right up here, buddy.

Driver: What, at the lights?

Johnny: No, the alley before the lights. We can beat two sets of lights on Renai Road that way.

Driver: You’re the boss. Anyway, my friend, I’m hearing some stories in my cab that would really worry you. People losing jobs, families without essential income, you know, good people that never did anything wrong, saved all their money, put the kids through school, decent people. It’s all fucked up.

Johnny: I thought all the main job losses were in the IT sector.

Driver: Nah, Johnny, it’s all over the damn place. How’s “the lady indoors”?

Johnny: Still waiting for her to come home. She’s been in Taitung for some time now.

Driver: Trying to drum up some business?

Johnny: If only. By the way, I have a tip for your colleagues on how to get more business.

Driver: What’s that?

Johnny: Don’t honk at potential customers as if to say, “Look at me, I’m a taxi cab.”

Taxi Driver No. 2: Where to, pal?

Johnny: I dunno. What’s on offer?

Driver: What?

Johnny: Just kidding. Take me to the Linsen N Road Golden Happy Phoenix Massage Emporium, and make it snappy, I’m up for a good workover.

Driver: I know a better one up on Changchun Road. The girls are younger and cuter and do extras for nothing extra, know what I mean? Nice big titties, no rough lookers. Know what I mean?

Johnny: I’m sure I don’t. Anyway, I’m a regular at Golden Happy Phoenix. They treat me fine ... Say, did you just sideswipe that little girl?

Driver: She’ll live. She wasn’t hot, so who gives a shit?

Johnny: You know, she kind of reminded me of photos of my gal Cathy Pacific when she was a little cherub.

[Driver turns up radio, which has the hourly news bulletin.]

Johnny: Can you turn that down? It’s booming through my head like a high speed rail train in a tunnel. The bass is up too high.

Driver: You need to get some of that ginseng essence in you, it’s good for old-timers like you.

Johnny: Thanks for the suggestion, but I’d prefer it if you just turned the damn radio down. [Pause] It doesn’t help when it’s all about bullshit legislators bullshitting everyone about bullshit.

Driver: You think you’re better than them, eh?

Johnny: Well ... yes. But maybe not as rich. Certainly much better looking.

Driver: We’re here. That’s NT$210.

Johnny: That should be NT$190. I got in the cab before 11pm.

Driver: Well why don’t you just pay NT$190, then, you old fart. I’ll treat you the difference.

Johnny: You know, assholes like you should remember not to be such obvious assholes when you let someone out in front of his favorite massage parlor. This isn’t the 1990s and I know your cab company. You don’t have 50 friends waiting to back you up with baseball bats. But that guy at the door is a friend of mine and he has one or two friends behind that tastefully opaque window who will make you learn how to be professional and courteous. “Know what I mean?”

Driver: Why don’t you go and do your mother!

Johnny: Well, Mama Neihu was pretty cute in her day. Not that cute, though. Now piss off and go find yourself some nice big titties before I have your damn cab torched.

Taxi Driver No. 3: [Heavy Hoklo accent] So what do you think of Ma Ying-jeou [馬英九], then?

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