Back in the early 90’s Washington DC was labeled “The Murder Capital of the World” due to the alarming rate of murders among crack hustlers fighting over territories. Driving a cab during the night was a dangerous business especially in deep south east and north east DC but I didn’t give a shit at all, nothing scared me because I was an angry white man who was mad at the world so getting shot and killed was a blessing in disguise for me and there were times that I prayed for some kid to take me out of my misery by smoking my ass but at the same time I was making a shit load driving a cab cruising through neighborhoods where cops are scared to go to. Everyone was my friend, they were happy to see a cab in their hoods picking up people and most hustlers preferred to take a cab to move around town.
They used to call him "Jet”! he was a black kid from the projects who dropped out during the 9th grade to hustle the streets of Washington and had a dream of being a drug king-pin. In those days pagers were the high tech way to communicate and I used to get quit a few pages every night from him and drive him around where ever he wanted to go. He used to tell me that I was a “crazy white man with a nigger’s heart” for having the balls to show up in his hood, I didn’t care all I wanted was his money and he used to carry thousands and thousands of dollars in his pocket, I don’t think they had banks in his hood, all the banking transactions were made in liquor stores where you can find them at every block.
It was the September of 1992, I picked Jet up from the section 8 apartments he shares with his mother and three other siblings. It was a slow night for me and I was happy to get a page from him to pick him up, I desperately needed some cash to pay up my bookie who could be trigger happy at times. I drove him all over the place and spent a good three hours with him and some other thugs and finally I dropped him off at his girlfriends apartment in Capitol Heights but for the first time ever he didn’t had the cash to pay me and I was fucken pissed because I was expecting at least a couple of hundred dollars from that trip, he tried to calm me down by giving me the “Scarface“ VHS movie he carries with him where ever he goes, he tells me he watches that movie at least three times a day. So I didn’t have any choice but to wait for a couple of days for my cash and I moved on to my next job with a freaken Al Pacino flick as a partial payment.
A week passed without getting paid, he wasn’t responding to my pages and I was getting annoyed. So one day I dropped of some mental-case at St Elizabeth’s hospital and made a quick stop at Jet’s apartment since he lived a few block away from the hospital. When his mother opened the door the apartment was full of cigarette smoke and little kids running around and she was watching the re-run of “Miami Vice”.
Mother: “What the fuck you want? Who are you?”
Pastor: “I am Joe can I talk to Jet?”
Mother: “Are you a cop?”
Pastor: “No I am cab driver!”
Mother: “A cab driver! I didn’t call for no fucking cab!”
Pastor: “No I came her to see Jet, is he around?”
Mother: “No Jet is dead!”
Pastor: “What the fuck you mean he is dead?”
Mother: “He got killed last week OK! Now leave me alone!”
And she slammed the door on me. To be honest with you, at the time I was more pissed that I won’t be able to collect my couple of hundred dollars than him being shot and killed because I really didn’t give a shit about him. I admit that I was a complete ass-hole but what can I say? that is the nature of night driving, you have to be a ruthless motherfucker to survive, there is no room for cry babies at night shift.
Later I found out that he died the same night I dropped him off in Capitol Heights, they shot and killed both him and his girlfriend while they were walking back to her apartment from a 24 hr Chinese food carry-out joint.
To this day I still have that “Scarface” movie in my basement and “In the memory of Jet” written on the cover. There are quite a few of my passengers who had gone six feet under but Jet is the only one who comes to my thoughts from time to time! Or is it the devil side of my mind thinking about that $200 I didn’t collect?