Sad Funny

Guy stood in the rain-swept street of the big city he called home, and hailed a cab. The hand that wasn’t gesturing to the driver to stop was busy holding a small bottle of booze concealed in a paper bag. He took a swig as he jumped into the back seat.

“Follow that car!”, he instructed the driver.

“You mean that other taxi?”, the man asked confused. There were many cars in the street that night and Guy was not being very specific.

“Yeah, the other cab, the one in front of us”, he leaned forward, pointed his finger at the other cab and recited its license plate number, his mouth too close to the driver’s ear.

“Alright, alright! Now sit back down before I throw you out, you freaking drunk. And don’t even think about puking on my seats”, the driver commanded.

Then they both fell silent, so Guy got to thinking. His thoughts always swirled and swayed when he drank, and they were seldom happy thoughts. He stared at the raindrops appearing and reappearing, flowing, absorbing each other, and glinting in the orange light of the streetlamps on the outside of the cab’s window.

They are watching me! Oh god they’re watching us all! They know everything! He took a swig of booze.

Then, the car that they were following stopped, and the woman who was inside stepped out and walked away.

“That’ll be five-fifty”, said the driver.

“No, no, no, keep driving! Keep following that cab”, Guy told him insistently.

“You want me to follow another cab around the city? You drunks get crazier by the minute. I don’t wanna follow one of my colleges around town, now pay up and get out”, the driver was even more insistent.

Guy took a wad of cash from his pocket and showed it to the driver. “There’s a tip in it for you, just drive.”

“Alright man, I guess as long as you pay and don’t puke, I don’t care. The taximeter stays on”, the driver’s voice was deep and aloof.

Guy took another swig and enjoyed the warmth of the heater. The other cab immediately got a new fare and started driving through the sparsely occupied streets of the city at night. This time he stared through the windshield. The raindrops playing with the red, yellow, and green of the traffic lights; periodically resetting themselves as the wipers wiped them away. He noticed that the poles of the traffic lights were riddled with hi-tech cameras. That reminded him.

Oh god! They are watching us! All of us all the time! Everywhere!

But maybe this works. Maybe I’ve tricked them. Who in their right mind would drive around in a taxi following another taxi? They probably think I’ve gotten out somewhere, and they just didn’t notice. I’m not that important, am I? They probably have their eyes on some other guys, I’m just a nobody. Maybe I’ve finally succeeded in disappearing. At least from their eyes. Can’t hurt to believe that. I need to believe that.

As the other cab stopped again, they stopped too. Neither of them said a word this time. The driver already saw the money, and he did not have any reason to keep talking to the drunk. And the drunk, well, he didn’t want to say too much anyway. So, they just kept following.

Guy took another swig. This was the last of the booze, which explained why his previous thoughts were more optimistic. He laid back on the seats, listening to the sound of the rain falling on the car, and the tires sloshing through the rain that already fell on the street. There was music too. On the radio…

Guy woke up to the feeling of the driver’s hand pulling his leg.

"That’s enough man. Give me your address and I’ll take you home”, the driver said, tired.

Guy looked out the window groggily, and realized they were actually really close. He knows where I live! Of course he does. They’re everywhere! Whatever, I obviously can’t beat them.

“Just let me out here”, he saw the number on the taximeter and rounded it up to give him a little bit extra, as promised. The driver grumbled and took the cash.

It was still raining when Guy stepped out the cab, but there were faint hints of light coming from the sky now. I really need to go to sleep. He walked along the street, and then turned a corner, avoiding facing the traffic poles and other places where he knew the cameras were situated. He came to his door and unlocked the variety of locks that secured it. That took some time. When he entered, he turned around and locked them back again. Then he proceeded to turn on the home alarm. He went to his room, closed the shutters, and collapsed on the bed.

He woke to a loud noise coming from… everywhere. He rubbed his eyes to truly wake from his dream and realized that it was the alarm going off. They’re here! Someone is in the house! Oh god! He first looked out the window to see if anyone was around the house, and saw too young men in white shirts, black pants, and some kind of books in their hands awkwardly walking away from his door. The sun was setting.

“Who are you?! Get away from my house! What do you want?!”, he yelled at them, voice trembling.

“Have you heard about the work of Jesus Christ, sir? We just wanted to share His word with you, but when we knocked, a super loud noise rang from your house and we freaked out”, the young men confessed.

“Get away from here, I know who sent you! You’re not welcome at my house”, he told them off.

The boys looked at each other, shrugged, and left.

Guy closed the shutters and the window, grabbed a baseball bat from under his bed, and carefully started to explore the house to make sure that those youths were not just a decoy. He first went to the alarm system to turn it off. Maybe I should make it less sensitive. Yeah right! Then any idiot could come into MY house! He looked around the rest of the house and found no one. They might have planted a camera somewhere and then ran off. He then rummaged through the nooks and crannies of his house until he grew to tired, not having found anything. Screw them!

He went to his laptop. The little camera on the top was covered with tape. Let’s see what this week’s prompts are. I couldn’t have had all that booze and the cab ride without having won the prize last week. Maybe I can do it again.

He opened the website to read:

#182: Feeling Watched

Being self-conscious is one thing; being paranoid is another. Feeling eyes on you changes your behavior, simultaneously casting you in a reality TV show and a dystopian horror film. Do you thrive in attention, feel jumpy, or overthink your every move?

Let’s don our trench coats, take a furtive glance around a street corner, and search the unmoving darkness for answers. Don’t forget the torch.

This week’s prompts:

Start your story with a home alarm system going off.

Set your story in a society where everyone is constantly aware of unwanted surveillance.

Write a story where someone’s paranoia is justified.

Write about a character who wishes they could just disappear - and they do.

Start your story with someone entering a taxi and saying ‘follow that car.’”

Guy took his face into his hands and started to weep. Then he collapsed on the floor, crying.

Oh god! They know! They know! They know everything!

January 23, 2023 17:38

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Karen McDermott
10:51 Jan 28, 2023

Haha, well-played. I do love a meta story.


Neven Kliček
16:37 Jan 28, 2023

thanks :)


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