Dresden Files: Houston
Houston cab driver who is Not asleep at the wheel.
Template: Pure Mortal
Superb: (+ 5) driving
Great: (+ 4) alertness, resources
Good: (+ 3) empathy, endurance
Fair: (+ 2) resources, athletics, might
Avarage: (+ 1) weapons, fists, guns, lore, disipline, contacts
PHASE ONE: BACKGROUND
ASPECT: “In Russia, you don’t drive cab… cab drives you!”
Russian males never get a break. This was not how it went for Gregory, he got the chance thousands of other kids missed.
Gregory’s father had a hard life as a child. He worked his way up from un-skilled laborer into the somewhat respectable field of cabby. When he met Gregory’s mom he had established himself as a respectable and reliable driver with friends in the local Militsiya and the government.
Gregory’s mom had a job with the Russian government which meant they got certain privileges… like immigration visas and an unreasonable income.
Gregory’s parents decided early in their marriage that they would send their children to America so they could have the chances they never got.
Gregory was going to America… weather he wanted to or not.
PHASE TWO: RISING CONFLICT
ASPECT: “Your mommy and daddy aren’t here to protect you kid!”
Greg was in the city of dreams. New York city stretched-out beyond the reach of Greg’s imagination and mostly beyond his comprehension. The Russian sub-culture in the city was easy enough to deal with but the Americans confused him intensely. “Why do they treat me like they do, it was not like this at home.” “Kid, you grew-up as somebody, these people don’t know that.”
Like his father, Greg drove a cab. He had his dad’s knack for reading maps, even the ones in English. Driving was easy, most of the time you didn’t actually go anywhere, you sat in traffic and smoked. Frustration was Greg’s life… until one wrong day. Let’s just say Greg vented his frustration on exactly the wrong person.
PHASE THREE: THE STORY
ASPECT: “Keep your eyes open, stay on target, don’t do that again.”
I woke up with a knot on my head and the smell of smoking rubber in my nostrils. The buss had a flat tire, mud all up the side and was full of unhappy people. The driver was standing in the front, his shirt impossibly white against the pitch-black outside the windshield. He reminded me of the story of the Headless Horseman. I snickered and the lump told me so stop that. I looked around and could see other people who, like myself had been sleeping in the cramped confines of the Greyhound bus. I guess I had my head against the window when the tire went.
The driver was speaking, most of which I understood and the rest I could guess considering the situation. “Ladies and gentleman, we have struck something in the road and punctured a tire. I have radioed for the repair truck and they should be here before morning. Please remain in your seats and if you do leave the buss, please stay in the light from the headlamps. You are in East Texas and there are animals and other things here that are unpleasant to encounter.” He was trying in his own careful way to scare us into staying in the bus. I went outside. (did I see anyone?)
Fourteen hours later I found-out where this bus was going. I had hastily chosen the first bus leaving New York after the issue with the Congressman. Thank god mom still had some pull with her job. I got the chance to “just get the hell out of town” instead of suffering the wrath of powerful people.
Houston was considerably different than I was use to. First-off, there were a lot of empty streets! The cars, and especially the cabs were really moving fast! I got a huge smile on my face that in hind-sight would never again go away.
In the 1980’s Houston was a forest with a city growing in the center of it. The economy was still working even when the rest of the country was feeling the effects of what the politicians called an “economic turn-down”. I was able to find a room in a house just south of Downtown, north of the area where the Zoo and museum district are. The local cab companies were hungry for people and I fit the profile they wanted… I worked really cheap. Heck, I liked driving a cab!
I won the auction! I was still in disbelief when they handed me the envelope and the keys. Twenty years of saving and waiting had paid off! I was going to own my own cab!
I went downstairs and handed the form to the guy behind the glass, he asked me some questions and had me sign a waiver and title requisition. The envelope had a picture and lot number in it so I walked out and started looking for my car.
The auction was for a used Houston Police Department Sargent’s car. Parked in lot 2, space 23 was a 2000 model Ford “Police Interceptor” in traditional Blue and white with the shadows of insignia, the remains of the plethora of antennas, light bar holes and funny little shark fins scattered all over the outside. The two greatest things left intact were the two spotlights at the corners of the front doors. It looked like a chariot of the gods! Two weeks later all the holes and dents were gone and the interior was better than new, it was now MY cab! The two search lights gleamed in the sunlight and the name and phone number, my name and phone number were all over the outside doors! Man were my “regulars” going to love this!
“Hubbub At Hobby”
Hobby Airport was socked-in big time. Looked like another long night for the troups, ferrying the airport’s customers North to IAH so they can continue their various personal persuits.
Greg waited in the circle drive, inching forward as each cab or van is filled with people.
PHASE FOUR: GUEST STAR