I'm driving the Maxi Taxi.
I'm called to an address in Dumbarton.
A group of young people want to go to Bunbury, to go clubbing.
It's a $120 fare, one way.
We'll only go back for them later if they pay the return fare in advance.
This they agree to do.
A girl in a sombrero, holding a toy six-gun says, "Hi Dad"! "Can you give me a lift home?"
"Hi Soph!" I say to Favourite Daughter, "I can't take you home cause they're paying the fare and it's out of the way, but you can come to Bunbury with me and I'll drop you home when we get back"
The excited and noisy crew climb in and we set off.
"Hi Sophie's Dad" says one young man I've met in the cab a couple of times.
He seems ok but 10 minutes down the road we notice he's got his head out the window and the disturbing sounds of vomiting echo through the cab!
Seems he drank the best part of a bottle of Tequila in the short period between deciding it would be a good idea to go to Bunbury, and my arrival to make the trip possible.
He's not in a good way.
Another young man is asleep, still clutching a half full bottle of beer.
The ring-leader of the group asserts himself through volume and acerbic humour.
He spasmodically breaks into loud and tuneless verses of "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall". I pray silently that he'll run out of energy before he hits the 80's. Thankfully he does although a third attempt sees him gather a few supporters for a minute or two before good sense prevails and the "song" dies.
Meanwhile Tequila Boy is not well and the group have realised that the nightclub doormen are not going to admit him in this state.
I offer to take him back to Busselton with me. Problem solved! They get to go clubbing and I get to make sure he has some chance of getting home safely.
Ring Leader makes us all laugh by requesting that I drive close to any low-hanging trees so that Tequila Boy can get cleaned up by the combination of water, from the strong rain, and bristle motion of the passing shrubbery.
We arrive outside the nightclub.
They cough up the big bucks, $280 in the end because of the drink/food/ATM stops along the way. (One innebriated youngster managed to have the ATM swallow his card because he couldn't remember his PIN.) Another spoke out what I was certainly thinking, "This was a bad idea!" "I should be home in bed!"
Indeed they should! But they won't be for several more hours!
Meanwhile, Favourite Daughter and I transport Tequila Boy to his residence in Kalgaritch and revive him long enough to find out what number he lives at.
He staggers out of the cab and immediately lays down on the gravel driveway, assuring us he'll be quite comfortable there and we can go!
At the third attempt I manage to walk him as far as the carport, where he insists on laying down again.
I accept the compromise and give in. He's under cover so the storms won't drown him. I put him in the "Recovery Position". His pants, already low-slung, courtesy of the fashion, are now almost completely off but I decide not to try and adjust them, his dignity is long gone!
I contemplate ringing the door bell and letting his parents know he's home but decide against it.
He's home, he's under cover, he's coherent enough to know where he is and he's already expelled the entire contents of his stomach several times over so I feel confident that he won't choke. Eventually the cold will revive him or drive him inside.
I drop Favourite Daughter off and go and park up for the night.