Not all taxi cabs take you where you want to go.


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Andorra & Driver

Word Count 1957 BY VALORMORE

Burton Saddler got up at the same hour every day. He shaved and showered as per

schedule. He ate his usual breakfast of toaster waffles with cherry jelly and a large cup of

coffee. He dressed in business attire, readying himself for work at the office. He whistled

the little tune that he often joked about being the only tune he could remember. It was the

theme song from "I Dream of Genie." He went out the door of his swank fifth floor

apartment and walked to the elevator.

"Darn it" he said to himself. "It’s out of order again."

Burton always left enough time to take the stairs as the lift was prone to malfunction.

He whistled his way briskly down the five flights of stairs, knowing there was plenty of


Across the street Andorra Palmer had already shut off the alarm clock and dragged

herself out of bed. She had tossed and turned all night but managed to bathe, dress, and

put on her thick makeup in record time. Her red, slightly graying, hair was to be covered

in a scarf so she was glad that she had no need to take a lot of time styling it. Her focus

was on getting to work on time. Andorra rushed out into the third floor hallway of her

apartment building and was about to lock the door behind her when she remembered she

had forgotten her cards. She quickly went back in and retrieved them and hastily headed

off to her job. She didn’t like the confinement of the crowded elevator and always took

the stairs. Today she was in a hurry so she skipped every other stair and made it to the

bottom very quickly.

Johnny Driver got up earlier than normal and made himself a splendid breakfast of

pancakes with bacon and scrambled eggs. He had plenty of time for a second cup of Joe

to wash it all down. He splashed some water on his face and looked at himself in the

cracked mirror of the medicine chest and decided to shave tomorrow. He sprayed some

deodorant in the armpits of the shirt that he had slept in last night, put on his pants,

grabbed his keys and off to work he went.

Burton Saddler, after whistling his way down the stairs, exited his apartment building

in a cheerful mood. That didn’t last long. He looked at his day planner and checked to be

sure this was Monday. It was indeed. His mood shifted rapidly to panic as he realized that

the streets of the city were empty of people and traffic. It was eerily soundless.

His panic caused him to shout out loud, "How could this be? Where is everybody?"

A female voice came from across the street saying, " Everybody, isn’t gone. I am still

here and so are you." It was Andorra Palmer standing across the street in front of her

Fortunetelling Parlor.

She called out to Burton again saying, "You need answers? I can tell you your


Burton had never been to a fortuneteller before and didn’t believe in that kind of stuff.

But something was not normal about this day. He crossed the empty street to her parlor

and went inside where she was now waiting at a very cliché looking card table.

He sat down in front of the Gypsy woman and asked, "How much is this going to cost


Andorra replied in a scolding tone, "Today it is free for you." She dealt out the Tarot

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cards, then she told him his name and many personal things that convinced Burton that

she was not a faker.

He apologized and asked her to tell him, "Why is everybody missing?"

Andorra leaned forward and touched his hand with hers and said in a calm voice,

"Nobody is missing."

Burton insisted, "Then where are they?"

She softly said, "Everyone is exactly where they are supposed to be." Burton was

getting agitated and confused.

He said in an accusing tone, "Why won’t you tell me what I need to know?"

She answered, "I can only answer the questions you ask."

He thought about it carefully and asked, "Why is today different for me than every

other day?"

Andorra leaned forward again and touched his hand with hers. This time she had a

quiver in her voice and a tear in her eye.

In a soft voice she said, "Last night you had a heart attack and died in your sleep, that

is why today is different."

Burton jumped up and stormed out saying, "I knew this was a hoax." Outside the

streets were still empty except for a lone taxi coming his way. He hailed it to stop and it

picked him up.

As they sped away Burton was thinking, "Of course! The Gypsy was nuts!"

He looked out the window to realize that the streets were still empty and the driver

was going through the red lights.

He looked at the taxi driver’s Id tag that had his name on it. Johnny Driver. He

chuckled to himself, amused by such a name for a taxi driver.

Burton said, "Johnny. You didn’t ask me where I am going."

Johnny looked at Burton in the rear view mirror and said, " I know where you are

going. The same place I take all the dead people. To see Saint Peter. He will let you know

where you go after that."

Johnny was accustomed to the disappointed bewildered look in the faces of his riders.

Burton just sat back and thought about his life.

The next day as Johnny reflected on his odd job he thought to himself, "There is no

decision like indecision." He laughs at the play on words as he looks through the blotchy

haze on the cracked mirror of the medicine cabinet.

Many of his passengers just have no idea which way they are headed. Johnny Driver

spends most of his day in his sweaty smelling old taxi cab. At night he goes back to his

small, cluttered, apartment to clear the day from his mind. The confusion of his riders

minds predestine them to be undecided.

For Johnny their conundrum is wrapped in his enigma. He just can’t figure out why

they are so confused. He used to ask his passengers how they felt about their lives.

If they are asked to talk about their life they seem to have a well thought out spiel

about who they are, or rather who they want you to think they are.

But when you inquire of their feelings about who they are, the word feeling puts them

in a quandary. People don’t think of their feelings about themselves. Even though they are

always willing to elaborate on how they feel about everything else!

If he was more specific and asked, "Do you think you will go to heaven?" Almost all

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quickly reply with the affirmative. But in their eyes he can see they believe it’s still


Nowadays he doesn’t try to query them about feelings, instead observation through the

rearview mirror is more revealing. Yesterday he took the long way to the pearly gates in

order to visually eavesdrop on Burton Saddler.

Burton recollected his life, saying repeatedly under his breath, "Where is everybody?"

Johnny conveys those who have passed away to their appointment with Saint Peter. After

dropping them off their fate is a mystery to him. The enigma Johnny wrestles with is, do

they know which way they are going? If so how many are correct?

The next morning his passenger is, Andorra Palmer, the fortune teller. Johnny has

never met Andorra. He just finds whoever is standing alone out in the empty street where

he picks them up in his cab, and takes them to, you know, the gates of heaven.

This morning the one, lone, person out in the street is Ms. Palmer. Johnny stops the

taxi and lets her in. While they speed away, he studies her in the rearview mirror. Johnny

Driver watches Andorra intently. He is in a quandary because he can’t read her

emotionless face. He is about to come right out and ask her but stops short of letting the

words leave his lips as she shuffles her tarot cards.

Johnny thinks to himself, "She must be undecided. If she is a fortune teller how could

she not know? Is her fate also undetermined?

Next without showing any hint of emotion Andorra Palmer starts dealing the cards as

she usually does. Placing the cards onto the seat of the moving taxi causes them to slide

around just a little.

She stops dealing half way through the deck and breaks the silence uttering, "Now

that’s a conundrum."

Then she stares at the cards that are face up for a short while and says, "Slow down!"

Johnny complies with her request by taking his foot off the accelerator. When the cab

slows down to about 30 mph he puts the cruse control in the on position. Andorra can feel

his eyes upon her every move as she slowly deals out the remaining cards.

"Mind the road," she sternly advises.

Johnny chuckles to himself, "She must not be getting the cards she was expecting."

He chuckled because they were, by this time, outside the city and there is no other

traffic anyway. They were on the high road now, you know, to heaven. There aren’t even

any bumps from this point on. How good of a fortune teller can she be if she can’t see

that. He found it difficult to keep the corners of his mouth from turning up ever so


Andorra now had seven cards left to deal out.

She let out the tiniest little, "Hummm."

"Seven is a magic number," she thought to herself.

Unable to control himself Johnny asked politely, "What do you see?"

Andorra sheepishly said, "So far, each card that comes up has canceled the one


Impatiently Johnny asks, "Is that good or bad?"

"Neither," she scolded.


After the next card she raised one eyebrow, with the next she frowned. The next two

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cards went the same way. Beads of sweat were forming on her forehead as she

concentrated on the cards. Three left.

Johnny breathed in deeply then let the breath out as slowly as he could. The tension

Andorra had on her face was getting to him now. He took his eyes off her to look at the

road for the first time since she started dealing. The taxi cab was at the last bend in the

road. Soon they would arrive at the gates.

Andorra Palmer now took a deep breath and while letting it out slowly she again

sheepishly said in a quiet voice, "I have been doing this for over seventy years now and

never seen the cards balance themselves out.

She turned the next card up saying sharply, "There it is."

Johnny started to open his mouth to tell her they had arrived.

But before the words left his lips, Andorra hushed him again turning another card.

"NO!" she shouted.

"That sounds bad," Johnny blurted out.

Andorra said, "I exclaimed NO because the cards are still level, equal, even, centered,

balanced. That is mathematically impossible."

Johnny said, "You have one card left. Won’t that one break the tie?"

She turned the card revealing the card of death, but no answer about which way.

Johnny said, "We’re here. Sorry you didn’t see which way you are going. St. Peter will

tell you. Goodbye and good luck."

"The reading’s for you, Johnny, not me."

"You’ll have to ask Saint Peter which way you go.




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This had a lot of imagery that would only be the equal of a Martin Scorese motion picture.

Posted 3 Years Ago

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3 Years Ago

Thank you MoriartyMesa.This is a very flattering comment. You did a little digging to find this nugg.. read more

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Added on November 4, 2012
Last Updated on November 4, 2012



Picture Rocks, AZ

Welcome to, "The Mindscapes of Valormore" I hope my stories produce pictures in your mind. That is what a mindscape is. A place you can go repe.. more..