Taken for a Ride

By Ric Waters

The taxi came to a stop on the busy Rio de Janeiro street where we’d been walking among the revelers at Carnaval.

The driver, whose bald head was all we could see, paid no attention to us as we got into the back seat; he simply pulled away from the curb and inserted the vehicle into the heavy traffic that filled the street.

Sandy gave me a worried look. “He didn’t ask us our destination,” she whispered into my ear.

I could only nod in agreement. It wasn’t that there was bulletproof glass between the driver and where we sat; he’d simply gone about his business without acknowledging us.

“Senhor?” I called for his attention, my voice a little tight with concern.

The man’s dark, hooded eyes appeared in the rear-view mirror. “Sim?” came a rough growl.

“O Hotel Copacabana,” I said to the eyes in the mirror.

“Hã,” he grunted noncommittally.

The cab kept heading south with the traffic; the driver made no move to change lanes or turn.

“I thought the hotel was east of here,” my wife said quietly.

“It is,” I whispered back.

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