It is imperative that cabbies know the location of police stations and their proximity at all times. Moreover it helps to know which stations operate full-time or part-time hours.
Late on Saturday afternoon I luckily picked a night station which was already open for business. Although I didn't need them, just the fact the lights were on was enough to eject an out-of-control passenger...
He had climbed in at a shopping rank and ordered a south-western suburb, a $50 fare. A tall good-looking fella in his early twenties and of, maybe, Persian extract he wore a dark hoodie and King Gee work shorts, and work boots.
His English was passable, though a strong accent coupled with being totally stoned – there was no smell of alcohol - rendered him barely coherent.
“Where are we?” he slurred. I told him, whilst trying to decide which way to go. He repeated the question. “Yeah, but where are we really?”
I looked at him and his eyes were rolling back as he struggled to maintain eye contact. Then I knew which way to go-left-to the nearest police station about a kilometre away.
He gave a street name which the sat/nav rejected. I made him repeat it but it didn't exist. “I gotta sleep, man, gotta get this seat down”, and he dropped it back, low-rider style. “I want to see my mother.”
“Fucking Australians”, he moaned to himself, a hand shielding the eyes. Then he flopped it out across my arms and onto the steering wheel.
Showing the underside of the arm he said, “Look what they did to me”, but I flicked it away. Touching the steering wheel whilst moving is a cardinal sin and I was none too impressed.
Apparently some Aussies, he seemed to be saying, possibly workmates injected him with something, most likely heroin. Although he probably chose to do it he was now somewhat remorseful, resentful. A hand-full.
We were on final approach to the police station and I decided to give him one more chance. “It's going to be about $50. You got cash or plastic?” He recklessly threw an arm out across the windscreen. “Forget the money, it's okay. Take me home.”
I hit the hazard lights and made an illegal U-turn to stop outside the police station. “Mate, I can't help you,” I said, clearing the meter. “Find another cab.” He sat upright protesting, “Aw, fuck man, why?”
Pointing to the police station I told him to either get out or I go inside. He started arguing so I jumped out, slamming the door. This got him out and I locked the doors remotely. He showed me a phone. “My mother can pay, here, ring her.”
It was too little, too late. And also too early with a twelve hour shift ahead and I drove off leaving him pleading, almost crying on the footpath. I felt bad about that, for a minute or two, but he will learn.