A guy jumps into my cab near Fenway Park. He keeps looking back where he came from. Tells me to drive.

A couple blocks down the street he directs me to pull into an alley and stop. He gets out, then stoops to feel around behind a light pole in some weeds, pulls out something I can’t make out, then gets back in the cab.

Tells me to drive.

We leave the Fenway, go past the hospitals. He isn’t saying much besides an occasional direction. Left. Right. Straight. Soon we’re in Roxbury. He looks out the window sometimes then drifts off, high or half asleep, I can’t tell which. The meter keeps ticking away.

I haven’t been a cabdriver long enough to get the destination before putting the car in gear. He’s a white guy who looks like he has money so I just keep driving. I know these neighborhoods a bit now and wonder why he wants to go here. Would it have mattered if I’d pointed the cab towards the suburbs rather than the inner city?

We’re deep into Dorchester now. He keeps giving the occasional direction but there’s no rhyme or reason to what he says. Where is he going? It occurs to me that maybe he’s looking for a quiet spot to kill me and take my cab. I rehearse jumping out of a moving vehicle in my mind a few times. It’s been nearly an hour and the meter’s up over thirty bucks.

I tell him he has to tell me where he wants to go. He says to take him back where I picked him up.

We’re by the ballpark again twenty minutes later. He fumbles through his pockets, then hands a bunch of crumpled bills through the pass-through window, thanks me, and gets out of the cab.

This happened in in the mid-90s in Boston. Closest I ever felt to being a dead man. I remember this while watching Jim Jarmusch’s Mystery Train at the Music Box on a Saturday afternoon. 

—Vol.1 Brooklyn published an excerpt from the new book

—Took nearly three years but Soviet Stamps earned out.

—I reviewed a graphic novel about a community center acting class that takes a turn.

—Listen to my talk with Alicia Martinez, then tune in Wednesday for one with Max Samarov. Mallory, Duncan, Dave, and I talked Halloween.

—Got some new bookmarks for sale.