It was the best one I’d had, curvy in the old style, freshly washed, and I could see the Christmas lights in it from the curb.  Inside was even better:  every inch was covered in some kind of decoration.  Mostly it was St. Valentine’s day, because that was the season, but there was a little section for St. Patrick’s day as well.  On the roof was Christmas lights and in back, obscuring the view, was a shrine devoted to the victims of 9/11.  There was a photo of the towers, photos of sad people, and photos of candles.  That part was permanent.

I love decorations, and that’s probably what I told the driver, or if not I made some other expression of wonderment.  “Please listen to this,” he said, “before asking me any questions.”  He pushed a button on his tape deck and we listened to an old radio interview he had participated in at an earlier point in his career.  A lady was asking if he always wore the Santa suit.  “Only during Christmas season,” he explained, and I regretted that I had got this cab during a minor holiday.  

He was telling the lady that he hated it when people locked and unlocked his doors.  He had power doors, he explained, and could be trusted with them.  To drive home that point, he unlocked and locked the doors while we listened to him tell the lady.

When the interview was over he put on Michael Jackson’s Bad, flashing the lights along the ceiling to the beat.  Then it was quiet for awhile and I asked him if he really wore a Santa suit in December.

At O’Hare I looked down at his card, as good a one as I’d imagined.  I was sure I’d call that number many times.

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