It’s Thursday night. After dropping at Bayside Village, I contemplate my next move, blasting Ty Segall while barreling aimlessly into the night. 11th Street or home to Oakland? What shall it be?
Then my Flywheel phone goes off.
850 Bryant. I assume the Hall of Justice but spot two women standing outside the AutoReturn on Seventh, one waving her phone furiously.
I pull up and confirm the name. “Diane?”
“Yes, that’s me,” the first one tells me. “Can you to take my friend to Berkeley on my account?”
“Sure, no problem.”
The other woman gets in the backseat and Diane asks if it’s possible to order another cab through the app.
“No, but I’ll get you a cab.”
I call in the order on the dispatch radio and offer to wait. The streets are empty and she’s too well dressed for the occasion.
“My friend really needs to get home,” Diane tells me. “I’ll be fine.”
I glance in the rearview. Had I picked them up outside a restaurant, theater or trendy cocktail lounge, I wouldn’t have blinked. But under the freeway at midnight, they’re as incongruous as it gets.
“You sure?” I ask one last time.
After giving me an address, the woman in back sighs.
“Rough night?” I inquire, heading up the I-80 onramp.
“I just had the craziest experience of my life.”
I point out we’ve got 20 minutes or so ahead of us.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”