Taxi Driver

“It’s not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”

- William Shakespeare

There’s a taxi driver in town who can tell people’s destinies – what they’re meant to do or meant to be – but he chooses the price of the information: the fare. From some he asks for a heavy sum of money, from some just the fare of the distance they travelled, from some a sacrifice, and from some nothing at all.

Everything he has told anyone has obviously come true. If not, this wouldn’t be a very good story now, would it? There must be something weirder to this, right? Yes, of course there is. He’s mostly seen as a dashing European lad of 20 something. Mostly. To some he appears as a balding 40s male in his late 40s. Fun fact, he’s been around this city for at least the last 60 years. And oh, his eyes glow when he reveals the destiny of the seeker.

How do the passengers know it's him? Right before the passenger gets off, he says: __?

Another fun fact, no one actively seeking him has been able to find him. He only chances upon those who really are in need of the destiny revelation or when it’s time for someone to know their destiny.


But this once, just once, around 30 years ago, someone happened to find the taxi driver. Well technically, the taxi driver found them, but what I mean is that the taxi driver was found by a mortal before the time was right for the person to know their destiny.

They must’ve taken a wrong turn or something, which is highly unlikely because they have been using the same road to get home from work for the last 7 years. Alex found themselves in a part of the neighborhood they didn’t know existed. As they stepped into the first alley, the rain just disappeared.

“That’s weird.” Alex muttered.

“Excuse me, do you know how I can find my way to Wellington Street?”, Alex asked a passerby.

“Do you mean Weatherby Street?”

“No, Wellington Street.”

“Wellington Street from the outside world?” the passerby said fearfully.

“...The outside world?”

“How did you get in? Who are you?”

“I’m sorry I just want to go home-”

“I’m sorry I can’t help you!”

“Can you show me to someone who can? Hello- excuse me- please- ugh.”

Alex walked some more. Everyone was staring at them and literally ran away when they tried to approach anyone. They swore they heard someone whisper, “How did the mortal get in?!”

Alex looked at their watch. The hands were spinning.

“There is no concept of time here.”

“Huh?”

Standing in front of Alex was this burly 20-year-old resembling a Greek God, with quite a pleasant voice. Alex felt themselves turning red.

“The hidden world is different. We don’t have the concept of time or age or death or life. We just exist and then we don’t; as the universe pleases. Everything we do, see and be is just your perspective.”

“Wow okay I..”

“Alex, isn’t it? The Barista from the Coffee shop on Racecourse Street.”

“You know me?”

“Not only do I know you, but I am also particularly interested in you.”

The red tinge on Alex’s cheeks deepened.

There’s someone I’d like you to meet.”

“What’s your name?”

They just smiled and motioned Alex to come with them. Alex followed in silence. They walked a little distance and reached an evidently out of place, run down, two storeyed house.

“Come in.”

Alex hesitated.

“Come on! Don’t be nervous.”

“Will it get me home?”

“You ask too many questions. All the answers you seek are inside.”

They held Alex’s hand, and both walked through the rusty metal gate and into the house.

A brown-beige themed house. Minimal furniture. A large, dual staircase foyer was the first thing Alex saw.

“Huh. The house looked smaller from the outside. Maybe it's because there’s less furniture.”

“The house looks smallish from the outside but its huge. Very spacious. Depends on the way you see it, really.” they said, as if reading Alex’s thoughts.

“BEHOLD-!” they said loudly, startling Alex. “Oops, didn’t mean to scare you. Just look on the right.”

A mirror. A rather large mirror. It was wall length and had inscriptions on the sides. “Pepromeno”, read Alex in his mind.

“Perpromeno. It shows who you really are.”

Alex moved closer to the mirror so they could see their reflection. It was like a movie. They saw their life flash before them till it reached where they were now. The scene changed to Alex in a lawyer's robes, then them in front of a large house, then with a girl they had never met or seen before; and finally, their face wrinkled like a raisin in a bed, smiling.

Alex blinked, stunned. They looked at the other reflection. There was nothing. The person had no reflection! Gasping, they looked at the person, now a 40- something man. They blinked. A woman. Must be in her late 30s. They blinked again. The Greek God was back.

“What… what are you?” Alex stuttered.

“Why, a shapeshifter of course!”

“A shapeshifter?”

“I prefer Poseidon, but sometimes Mary or William works too. I can be whatever I want, you know? I can be whatever the person who sees me wants me to be. Perspective, you see?”

“Why don’t you have a reflection?”

“Because I’m living and fulfilling my destiny! I tell and, in your case, show people their destinies.”

“You’re... you’re the taxi driver!”

“That’s right.”

“If I found you, why didn’t you just tell me my destiny and let me go home?”

“Because someone led me to you. I found you. I spoke to you. I’m bound to tell every mortal I find their destiny. And it wasn’t time for you to hear it from me. So, I decided to show you.”

“Now what?”

“Are you happy with what you saw?”

“Not particularly.”

“Then either you go live it, knowing that this is what is in store for you, or you change it. Make it the way you’d like it.”

“I thought destinies were fixed! Like a book or something. Written. And we just play it out.”

“It’s not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”

“I suddenly feel faint.” Said Alex, grabbing on to the nearest table. “What’s happening?”

“Oh, don’t worry. You’re going home! I’ll see you some years’ time. Maybe if you chance upon me in the city, I may tell you if you have been able to change your destiny or not. For a price of course.” Said Poseidon, winking.

“Wait! Last question! Who did you want me to meet?”

“You.”

Alex found themselves standing in front of their house, keys in hand.


Author: Zoyah Virani

Editor: Manas Mehta


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