"Travis Bickle" is Back - The Reykjavik Grapevine

“Travis Bickle” is Back

“Travis Bickle” is Back

Published September 8, 2010

The rancid repertoire of the intravenous fiend strikes fear in the hearts of everyman Joe. Sprawled like a sack of waste across the backseat, seeking either another fix or extreme unction— the latter in lieu of the former. His tether at an end much like mine in regards to him. The next scumbag to board take heed, for I’ll bear this no longer. 
Tonight is a trudging futility. A dreadful stretch of useless time towards an identical tomorrow night. Devastating blasts of death metal are the sole solace.
 I feel at any moment some nitwit will run a light and bring me oblivion wrapped in bent, twisted automobile parts.
I feel I might be trapped here interminably, life slowly ticking away at red lights and traffic jams. My future spent waiting for the next fucking fare, the next goddamn scrap of cash paying the way for this cycle to revolve ad infinitum. 

The road unfolds endless, cold and hard. It’s as if I’m swallowing it whole as it disappears under the hood. Ennui and impatience in a tug-of-war. I’ve had it with this. The never-ending nights and the crawling days. The wealth of drunken idiots and dearth of business. This trade breeds bitterness. The lifers—soured stiff by decades of waiting—bitch, gripe and gossip like old maids. Those not already stupid by birth have grown dumb by prolonged idleness and full of malice from the strain of difficult, inebriated clientele. Now they grasp madly at nothingness as watch their livelihood slip slowly away as business comes ever closer to a standstill and working even longer hours is useless if everyone is doing it, since no matter how you slice it, the pie don’t get no bigger.
At random gas station number one, the joy of drunk driving is displayed in a loud crash sending vibrations through the windows facing the pumps. One less pump than two seconds ago, mowed down by some utter imbecile with wheels screeching in desperation to reverse from his own destruction. Fuel seeps from the hose and the vehicle hightails away, its license number etched into the memory of every single witness. 

She is a Greek tragedy. She is the wailing of a mafia funeral all bundled up in hysterical anguish and mad remorse. “Wasn’t no suicide,” she cries in a voice real shoddy and lispy and grating and insane. “It was you who offed him! You introduced him to those awful people…”, she exclaims through a veil of tears as her tortured conviction gives rise to long suffering sighs from the victim of her wild accusations. Wine has made her delirious, alcohol insane, and the spectacle of her tugs at heartstrings as it tickles the funny bone. Twenty years of her mourning he has suffered ‘til the patina of guilt wore off his now jaded exterior. “Yes, I offed him” he admits wearily. “It was all me… You happy now?” But she can never be happy again, no matter the amount of hard liquor her sorrow yearns to drown in, for the deeper the well of drink, the deeper regret fights to stay afloat. She alights outside her house slower than a dead man’s heartbeat. Her purse is gone, along with her mind. Her feet find no purchase on the frozen ground and she is unable both to climb a flight of stairs and open a door lock. She tumbles to a fall. We leave her there to die from exposure.


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