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This is a question Desperate Times

Stranded in a hotel in an African war zone with no internet access for two weeks, I was forced to resort to desperate measures. Possessing only my passport and the clothes I stood up in; and the warning "You can catch it shaking hands with a vicar out there" ringing in my ears, I had to draw my own porn in order to preserve my sanity.

Alas, it all came out looking like Coronation Street's Audrey Roberts, but, as they say, any port in a storm.

What have you done in times of great desperation?

(, Thu 15 Nov 2007, 10:10)
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Exhausted, desperate and fairly shaken I knew this was my last chance to get home so I ran headlong into the road slamming my hands onto the bonnet of the rapidly braking taxi….

The night had begun, as most do, at the beginning, with me and a couple of mates hitting the tiles for a night of booze, japery and not pulling. It was one of my first nights out in my new University town, Bristol, and I was going to make the most of it. Many many shots of vodka later and enough sugar laced caffeine to turn even the most placid of children into a fire staring ADHD granny basher.

Leaving the sticky heat of the club my friends piled into a mini cab, as they lived in a different part of town, and disappeared into the frigid October night. Inebriated, cold and alone I was pondering just how I would get home when a mini pulled up and a chap with a soft Geordie* accent enquired as to my final destination. “Home to Frenchay” I slurred, “nay bother” came the reassuring reply.

I sat back to enjoy the warmth and safety of a taxi ride home… although it didn’t quite work out like that.

After some brief dialogue with the driver it transpired that this wasn’t exactly a carriage licensed by the great city of Bristol. Never mind, me thinks it might be cheaper. It wasn’t.

As we drove through Bristol my driver took a obvious wrong turn, and when I politely mentioned this he said that he had to pick something up on the way home. Maybe he’s got to pick up the gruel rations for the orphanage I thought and I pushed it from my mind, however I was adamant that I would not pay him more than £10 stirling as that was the cost of this journey.

“No problem” he said, “why don’t you give me the money now?”

“I think I’ll wait” I replied,”Anyway I only have a 20 so do you have change”

“Of course I have change, now give me the 20”

“Not until to you show me the chan….”


I should point out that I have the fighting pedigree of a small kitten whose spirit has been crushed by overachieving siblings. I gave him the money in the hope he would merely kick be out and speed off into the night, alas no. We drove on deeper into the rabbit warren that is St. Pauls**, in due course he pulled over and with 30 seconds to chaps of African origin*** walked over and engaged my chauffeur in a brief conversion at the end of which my £20 went to them in return for what looked like a small ball of tin foil.

We pulled up around the corner, fuck knows where we were, as a nice public school boy this was not the end of town I frequented. As the car stopped an ominous clunk was emitted by all the doors and the child lock sealed my fate. The driver wasted no time in pulling out a small glass sculpture, which as it turned out was a crack pipe. He then started to hotbox the car, maybe that was why I felt relatively calm, we chatted for some time, he offered me a smoke….I declined and he gave me his life story about how he’s lost his job, his wife had left him and he was living in his car.

I’m not surprised you psycho Geordie crack head I thought. Outside however I was calm and tried to placate him and agreed that none of this was his fault, I contemplated kicking out a window, but it was cold dark and I knew that there were crack dealers just around the corner and I had know idea where I was. After a while he became, well unstable, and once more we were off around Bristol.

Now it got scary, he would alternate between crying and screaming at me, I watched the speedo as it whipped past 50, 60 even 70 miles an hour around town. We stopped at green lights and ploughed through reds. We swerved all over the road, and all the while he insisted that he was going to take me home.

Eventually we made it onto the motorway all seemed to have calmed down until my dickhead mates who had long ago got home and had a cup of cocoa decided to call and see if I was ok. Now he knows I have a phone.

I refused to give it to him, until he swerved from the outside lane to the hardshoulder at 80 mph and than back again lightly clipped the central reservation.

‘Take the phone’ I said ‘call the wife call fucking Australia for all I care just let me out here!’

People on crack can’t text and drive at the same time. How we made it my junction I’ll never know but we did. I could see the lights from my halls not ½ a mile away, unfortunately, my driver took the wrong exit off the roundabout and when I, quite politely, pointed this out he flew into a rage and conferred to me via the medium of rage and spit that he was taking me back to town.

That moment was crushing. I was so close to home, it was so near to being over.

We drove in silence all the way back to town; I have little memory of this part, due to alcohol and having had escape snatched from my aching fingers.

We arrived back in Bristol and he pulled over and opened the childlocks. I pleaded for my phone back but he refused. He was weeping openly now, sobs shook his wasted shoulders, I decided to be aggressive and shouted at him for my phone, but he reached into the footwell and produced an iron bar which he swung at me, I ducked and got out the car which accelerated around the corner.

Never have I felt so alone. It was 4:30am and there was not a single person or car anywhere, I had been in that taxi for 2 and a half hours and having held it together for that long I had little left in the tank. That’s when I saw a taxi on his way home and that’s when I was desperate enough to throw myself in front of it, risking my life for something as simple as wanting to go home.

Never get an illegal taxi by yourself, they caught the fucker but there wasn’t enough evidence. I can still remember his smell.

* Ironically I had just come back from visiting friends in Newcastle which was full of lovely Geordies.

** St. Pauls was fucking dodgy; I believe it was the crack centre of Britain at one point.

*** Not racist just painting a picture, I’m sure there are many white crack dealers as well!
(, Fri 16 Nov 2007, 11:59, closed)
I've always been scared that something like that would happen to me!

You're the reason I'll never get an illegal minicab... Glad to see you came out of the other side of it though sir!
(, Fri 16 Nov 2007, 12:32, closed)
UWE or the posh toff filled other uni?

I accidently ventured into St Paul's once. Never again.

Glad your ok now.
(, Fri 16 Nov 2007, 12:51, closed)
Reading this
has brightened my day and brought a smile to my face :) despite the fact that the story itself is bleak and pretty damm scary!
(, Fri 16 Nov 2007, 12:54, closed)
I was back out the next night..
UWE twas the Uni as I cocked up my A-Levels.

the story probably reads more bleakly than I feel about teh whole thing, was funny in parts, scary in others, whenever I tell it in the pub to one person by the end the entire table is listening!

most annoying is that he got away. he was in the line up but I didn't pick him out as was so pissed.

Seriously though the smell. 110% it was him.
(, Fri 16 Nov 2007, 13:23, closed)
That's a bloody terrifying story, you're damn lucky to have made it out unscathed. You should consider telling it to be a public service, as it's a pretty effective deterrent from getting in unlicensed cabs (and hopefully earns your a few beers).

I also derived some lulz from the reference to my alma mater as "the posh toff filled other uni". UoB serves as pretty good shorthand for those without chips on their shoulders.
(, Sat 17 Nov 2007, 17:26, closed)

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