“Will you punch me in the face, please?”
The Czech was highly agitated when the taxi he shared with his girlfriend got stuck in traffic. The oppressive heat outside cooked the air-conditioned vehicle, depleting the coolness of trapped air inside.
The driver, fortyish and opinionated, laughed when he heard the request. His daily fares ranged from the quiet types to the weirdos like the pair he ferried at the moment. They were starkly the opposite of lovers who frequented the houses of love.
X, which she baptized herself with, negating her boyfriend’s call sign, pinched him on his side. She wished she could grant him what he asked for, but there’s another soul around.
“That hurts!” The Czech grimaced, regretting he asked for the pain in the first place.
“Behave yourself,” his girlfriend was not amused.
“This is taking too long. If I walked the distance, I could have been there by now.”
“You won’t make it alive,” the driver interrupted. “With this heat, you’ll lucky to walk a hundred yards without seeking shelter in the shade.”
“What’s with the traffic anyways?”
“Well, smart guys are to blame,” the driver baited. It was his usual adlib to elicit opinion from his passengers.
“Will you be so kind to explain that? I am smart so I think you are wrong.”
“Do you see that excavation by the curb?”
The Czech nodded, knowing the driver glanced at him via the rear-view mirror.
“Smart guys from the telephone company dug it up a month ago. They covered it after finishing with their repairs. A week later, the cable company dug it up once more, did their repairs and covered it. Two weeks ago, the water company dug it up for the third time and repeated the routine. The local government opened it up to clean all the garbage the three companies left there to prepare for the rainy season. Clogged canals cause floods.”
“They are not smart after all,” concluded The Czech, shaking his head upon hearing the tale.
“Oh, they are,” argued the driver. “With all those excavations, the road cracked. Of course, the national government has to repair it.”
“What’s the connection?”
“All three companies are under a conglomerate. One of their sister companies is a huge construction firm.”
“Who happens to get the contract to repair the road,” completed The Czech, whistling afterward.
“Smart, eh?” the driver felt triumphant with the way he explained it all.
“You might be mistaken,” X decided to join the fray. “There are thousands of companies around.”
For evidence, he mentioned all the names of the companies involved.
“You can look it up. Your boyfriend said he is smart.”
“I believe he’s right,” The Czech admitted. “If only I have my netbook with me, I could surf right here to prove his point.”
There was sudden gap in the traffic: an ambulance was given the space.
Opportunism ruled the road as daring drivers tailed the ambulance to squeeze out of traffic. The Czech and X were fortunate enough to ride the vehicle of one of those opportunists.
(to be continued…)