The man drew a deep breath, and pressed his head back against the hard vinyl seat of the cab. As was his habit when he was in a "situation" as his boss referred to it, he began running over his plight and his options. First of all, where was he? The cabbie who had picked him up spoke with an American accent, and the cab looked to be an American model, probably a Crown Vic. So he was probably still in the states, but what city? He glanced out the window at the passing cityscape. It was dark, and the tall buildings and gray sidewalks could be from any city in the United States. Second question- Why? Why was here? The last thing he remembered, was leaving his apartment for the airport, to leave for an assignment in..... where? He struggled to remember. His head was still throbbing, and he was still struggling to control his breathing. Bangladesh? Bangkok? Beijing? He couldn't quite seem to remember.
He suddenly realized they had come to a stop, and glanced up to see the burly cabbie watching him with a concerned look on his face, quite unusual for a cab driver.
"Hey bud, you gotta decide where to go, or I'll have to drop you off at the nearest hospital. I don't mind givin' you a lift, but I can't haul your **** around all night."
"No, no hospital." he was adamant about that, although he wasn't quite sure why. Just that something in his gut was telling him that a hospital was not where he needed to be. "Uhh, where are we?"
"South Bronx," he cabbie answered with an even more puzzled expression. "And I don't go any further south than this. Neighborhood's too bad. Normally I wouldn't be this far, but I had a drop-off."
He leaned back in his seat. ****. How did he get to New York City? He wracked his brain. There was a number...an address...."2378 East 148th Street!" He nearly shouted. "How close are we?"
" 'Bout seven blocks," said the cabbie. "That where you want to go? 'Cause I wouldn't recommend it in your condition."
"I need to go there. Now. I can't pay you now, but I'll make sure you'll be well paid."
"Right," said the driver skeptically. "You ain't a pusher are you?"
"No!" he paused and squeezed his eyes shut. "Look, I work for the government. I'll make sure you get paid. Just... please..."
The cabbie shook his head and put the car in gear. "Alright. It's your funeral."
"Oh, ****, I hope not," grunted the man holding his pounding head in his hands. "I haven't had dinner yet."