My Last Fare

by Kerrie Ann Salsac

It’s creeping closer to quarter to eight,

with a twelve hour shift reaching its end,

I drive my cab, trying to concentrate.

In jumps a girl, a wad of cash to spend,

so young and at the library so late.

A strange fare will always make shifts extend,

she shouts, “Follow that man!” I hesitate,

but needing cash I don’t want to offend.

I put down my foot to accelerate,

slowing only so to twist round each bend.

 *

Curiosity claws away inside.

Why is a child pursuing a car chase?

What could make such strange conduct justified?

In the rear view mirror I see her face,

I see her gazing at the world outside,

looking down I see her holding a case,

a black case that seemed to be classified.

This man could be leading us anyplace,

I’m trusting a stranger to be my guide

in this strange and unexpected race.

 *

Finally from the car a man gets out,

the girl turns and says “I’ll be back, wait here.”

I still can’t fathom what this is about

but I can sense a certain atmosphere

and I feel my insides fill up with doubt.

A simple exchange, the contents unclear,

The girl returns, on her face is a pout.

I ask, “why?” Though I’m loath to interfere,

“I live the life of a daughter devout.”

 *

I look at the father re-enter his car,

I wonder why he’s led his child so far.

So young, living a criminal career,

down her face runs a single, lonely tear.

With a girl in my cab, way past my shift,

I turn to her, smile, and offer a lift.

Asking if someone will look after her,

the pout disappears; she names her mother.

There’s such excitement when I get her there,

of her two parents I could not compare.

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