Wednesday, May 13, 2009


For the majority of my school days, I was delivered to class in a taxi.

My father was not a morning person, my mother didn't drive and the thought of Donavan on a school bus is like a seeing eye dog in a Chinese restaurant so my parents decided the best solution was to dial the Beverly Hills cab company.

Every day, at exactly 8:15am, an Indian man sat with the motor running in the driveway.

I was still asleep.

The man's name was "Dash", an appropriate name for him since that is what he did with me daily in a futile attempt to get me to school on time.

My parents would come into my room right around the time my first period was starting.

I never liked math anyway.

I would awaken from the foggy grog of sleep to the soft sound of coffee being poured from a sterling silver thermos into a large pink mug emblazoned with the green flagged crest of The Beverly Hills Hotel.

My mothers manicured hand would cradle the back of my neck and the cup of black tar would be brought daintily to my lips.

"Thatta boy, time for school"

Have I mentioned that I was old enough to drive?

Never mind.

My father would say, "Why does he have such a hard time with mornings?"

"Oh for Christ Sakes Stan, you kept him up his whole childhood and now you wonder why he's not a lark?", said my mother, puffing away at her twelfth cigarette of the day. "Besides, he watches Letterman every night, let him enjoy his freedom, god knows the world loves a cage"

I began to whimper.

"It's OK kid, you're almost done with this damn school thing, just a couple more years and you're free", says my curlered mother.

My father paces the room in his red robe and velvet slippers..."Stupid system, trying to force a round peg into a square hole...bullshit I tell you, Bullshit!"

"Here now, we've gotta play the game"

I down my cup and jump into the shower, a grand shower...

Seven high pressure heads.
Scalding hot.
Tile seat underneath a window that overlooked the fragrant orange trees.


An hour later, skin like a pitted prune, I get out and dress in my signature all black.

I was goth before it was chic. Or maybe I was just mourning the thought of another day of geometry and gym...

A muffin and a travel mug later, I am getting into the cab which has been waiting for me for since the early morning.

Like I had done every early morning for the last five years.

Dash, my old friend, my daily driver, has been given explicit instructions (and a healthy retainer) by my mother.

Always the same routine.


9:30am-10:15am (Give or Take)- DRIVE BOY TO SCHOOL
10:30am-3:15pm- WAIT AT CURB

I did not like school any more than I like swallowing tacks, so I was allowed to leave at will and Dash was my cabbie in waiting.

I was given two notes...

To Whom It May Concern,

Donavan will be late.

For the rest of the year.


Mr. & Mrs. Freberg


To Whom It May Concern,

Donavan Is Unwell.

He may decide to leave.


Mr. & Mrs. Freberg

The first one was kept in the principals office and the other was always in my wallet, at the ready at the first sign of sniffle or stomach ache.

Which happened often.

One time, I felt a diarrhea attack impending from my ever nervous cast-glass stomach.

I was scheduled to be in P.E.

"Be" in P.E. is the best way of wording it because I spent my physical education reading Stephen King novels on the bench.

I forgot about the third note.

To Whom It May Concern,

Donavan does not do P.E.

He has a hernia.


Mr. & Mrs. Freberg

Had a hernia should have been more like it. As in, when I was ten. It had long since healed, but my mother took it as a sign that I was forever thereafter one calisthenic away from a lifetime in a wheelchair, so I got out of any and all strenuous activity.

Anyway, back to my impending diarrhea.

Dash could see me walking out the exit and had the door open for me and the motor running.

As I got closer to the cab, my stomach begginning to settle, I felt a hand on my shoulder.

It was my P.E. teacher. A dispraportianately muscular man with a comb over and a spare tire.

"I'm sick of your spoiled ways young man, you are coming to class"

Dash stepped forward, his eyes glowing red beneath his teal turban.

"The boy is with me"

"Who are you?" asked the professor of sit-ups.

"I am Dash"

"Well, I don't give a damn who you are, he's due in gym"

"He does not. He is with me now"

The P.E. teacher flexed, testosterone flowing like milk from a motherfucker.

Dash opened the trunk of his cab and pulled out a sword.

"I am a master of Gatka. Stand down"

Mr. Muscle/Spare Tire did a 180.

I got in the cab.

"Wow! Dash, I didn't know that you knew martial arts"

"Since boy"

On the way home, we stopped for an orange freeze and a patty melt at the "Fountain Coffee Room" in the palm frond wallpapered, hidden recesses of the Beverly Hills Hotel.

As we sat on the flamingo pink seats sipping our cool shakes, Dash regaled me with stories of hot summers on the Ganges and how he would lay on his back and dream of elephants that were gods.

Every boy should have his Dash.

Mine lives just inside the gates of my memory palace, sharp sword and sweet story at the ready.

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