This post contains a very gory, graphic story. Please don’t read this if you are squeamish.
I’ll start with this.
I found this rainbow pocket knife half hidden on the floor behind the driver’s seat of the taxi at the beginning of my shift. I have a lot of feelings about this. It doesn’t look all that threatening if you consider the size and color, but pretty much any knife can slice a throat. Personally, it brings back memories from a few years ago, on Halloween weekend. I tried not to let it set my mood for my work weekend, and I think I was pretty successful with that, but instead of being in a foul mood, I got hit with a bunch of Halloween-appropriate stories and experiences.
The first is the most gory, so lets just dive right in. I had a couple in my cab, both a little inebriated, and the man made a joke about always being hot and sweaty and how he should just stick his head out of the window like a dog so the rest of us could enjoy the heater. That triggered a memory in his wife, which she shared and horrified me with. Her friend works insurance claims and one day she took a claim that made her shut down and not work the rest of the day. The story goes like this: A man had driven himself and his best friend home while extremely drunk. When the man woke up the next morning, he couldn’t find his friend and he was obviously extremely hung over. He farted around a bit, figured maybe his friend had stumbled home or something, but when he went out to his car he found his friend’s headless body in the passenger’s seat. Apparently his friend was puking out of the side of the car while he was drunk driving, and he swerved into a barrier and knocked his friend’s head off. He was just so drunk he DIDN’T EVEN REALIZE IT. He had called the police immediately when he found his friend and the police had to trace the trail of blood back to find the head, which is how they deduced the swerving and puking.
When I heard that story in my cab, my heart dropped into my stomach and I felt sick. My passenger decided not to stick his head out of the window. I feel like I’ll be telling this story a lot to my passengers, especially the ones who stick body parts out of the windows.
Moving on: I had a couple homeless men in my cab on a trip from where they camp in a field to a pub and then later in the day, the return ride. They were full of stories to tell me, which I actually like better than telling stories myself, but they did smell a little foul. One told me he used to work for the Essen Haus “way back in the day”, and the old German cook died with all his secret recipes. He was about 86 when he died, and when they opened a storage locker that he rented, they found a German torpedo signed by the military men he served with. The homeless man also told me he met the Rolling Stones when he was 10, at the home of a famous local artist, Mona. The Stones were buying heroin off Mona at the time.
The third story from these fellows was that Orton Park, a popular park near the lake in a good neighborhood, is haunted. According to this man, Orton Park used to be a Confederate cemetery, but they dug up all the bodies and relocated them to the current place across town. “But with those god damn huge trees, you know they didn’t get all the bones!” He insists that sometimes he sees ghost children there at the nearby gas station on Williamson Street. He doesn’t know why the ghosts are children, but that’s his story. The next day I told a woman this and she said it made sense considering she does yoga in Orton Park regularly and always got a “weird vibe” from it. Looking at wiki, it seems like his story might logistically hold and there are some websites that support that other people think the park is haunted, too.
To end my weekend, something very Wisconsin-esk happened. Let me prep the story a little. The police dispatch will call all the taxi companies in town to let us know if they’re searching for a suspect. Having four fleets of taxi eyes looking for someone is pretty helpful, and they also know that sometimes suspects try to flag down taxis to get somewhere, thinking that it might be untraceable (which it’s totally traceable). Also, Wisconsin is known for having crazy white people who sometimes eat other people and make weird furniture out of people, namely Jeffrey Dahmer and Ed Gein. We got a call from the police that our dispatcher repeated over the air to our fleet. “The police are looking for a white male, 26 years old, 5’8″, medium build with sandy curly hair, possibly with blood up to his forearms. If you see him, don’t pick him up and contact us immediately.” Within the description was also the area of town they thought he might be in.
And this was the weekend BEFORE Halloween. This year might be a doozy.