Scotty and Jimmy
By Timothy Small
A few summers ago, I had to figure out a way, besides waiting tables, to make extra money for college. As a writer, driving a cab had always appealed to me. I imagined that I would meet all different types of characters, and that I would hear voices and conversations that would fill my notebook. Each fare could turn into a novel. I was curious to explore what it would be like to drive a cab in theHamptons. I was especially drawn to exploring the wee hours of anEast Hamptonmorning. Who took cabs at this time? What were people doing out so late (or early)? I’m not sure why, but I always had a strange fantasy of parking my cab on the side of Main Street, near the Jitney stop – in the middle of the night – or standing post at the train station with the radio playing softly – maybe some jazz, maybe sports talk radio.
One Friday morning, I was waiting outside of Lily Pond, the nightclub onThree Mile Harbor Roadwhere most of my fares aftermidnightwere made. A young man in his early twenties stumbled over to my cab, a clumsy old work van that had been converted to hold passengers. “Wair ta fuck are ya, Jimmy?” he yelled helplessly in a drunken Irish accent into his cellphone.
He turned around, took one step away from the door, and from that spot, on the grassy shoulder of the road, searched the parking lot for his missing mate, shouting his name, his lips wet with rage. In the light of the street lamp, his face was the color of a Bloody Mary – probably sunburned from caddying outside all day or from working a fryer in a kitchen all week and getting shocked by the sun on his one day off.
“Do you need a ride?” I asked, trying to guide him through his crisis.
“Cheers,” he said, signaling with a pointed finger that he’d be right back, before disappearing into the parking lot.
Knowing how this usually ended, I started to scout my next fare – hoping that one of the big groups loitering outside the club’s entrance would make their way over. But the Irishman returned before any of the groups could get their act together and this time he got into the back seat. I could hear him cursing under his breath in a tone that sounded almost like he was crying. As we drove away, he asked me to go slowly so that he could scan the sidewalks for his brother. About a hundred yards down the road, a similar-looking lad was stumbling along the shoulder, his head down, as if he had dozed off while walking. As my headlights brought him into better view, the Irishman slapped the window and yelled, “Fucking Jimmy.”
I pulled over and he got out of the cab and grabbed his wandering brother by the arm. “What ta fuck is wrong wit ya?” he cried. “I tot you’d been killed! Why ta fuck would ya walk home?”
Jimmy was too drunk to fight back. His brother pushed him inside the cab and continued to curse him out. “You’re such a fucking gobdaw.”
Through the rear view mirror I could see that Jimmy’s eyes were half-shut.
“How many times do I got to tell ya. You’re twenty-fucking-one. We’re not inDublin. Ya can’t be walking off like tat.”
Jimmy started laughing. “Would ya relax, Scotty. I was just walkin’ home. Jesus Christ.”
Scotty took his thumb and pushed it into Jimmy’s forehead – right between the eyes. “You think it’s funny don’t ya. Everything’s a fucking joke to ya. Well, this here ain’t a joke. Would ya look around? Your in ta fucking woods. You don’t know wair ta fuck you’re goin’. You almost walked into ta middle of ta road.”
“Fuck off! I knew wair ta fuck I was goin’.”
“Where was ya goin’?”
“I was goin’ home.”
“Home!? Do you even know where home is?”
“It’s down ta fucking street.”
“We’re in fuckingEast Hampton. The Memory’s in Montauk.”
Upon hearing this, I took a right onto Stephen Hands Path and headed over to Route 27, towards Montauk.