The Narcissist

”Elvira always lied first to herself before she lied to anybody else, since this gave her a conviction of moral honesty.”

-Phyllis Bottome, novelist (1884-1963)

She folded her long legs into the back of the cab like an egret stepping into her nest.

At first glance she was extraordinarily beautiful…then she began to speak.

She wanted…went out of her way…to tell me that someone loved her, and wanted her, and longed for her, but was just as eager to make it clear that she would never be his…he was only a carpenter…a boy she knew, who was, she repeated, in love with her. She, however, was living in Pacific Heights, in an apartment paid for by another lover, who was married, and saw her two or three times a week.

She laughed at the foolishness of the first and smirked in satisfaction at the foolishness of the second, and reveled in her studied indifference. I looked in the rear view mirror as her face got older and wrinkled; witnessed the slow decay and sag of flesh as she tried to counter the ravages of age; saw her childless, and lost in bitter loneliness, abandoned and forgotten; and watched as her decrepit body wasted in hellish decline…all the while she was still talking, as if this didn’t disturb her in the slightest.

History is filled with the narcissistically inclined. I have known many.

Shall I list them here?


…not yet.

Ruben's roosters

She had a patch on her eye, the right one I think…and was a large, maybe rotund… but definitely, big lady. He was half of her…small skinny and nervous. When they first got in, it was as if they weren’t even together…he sat on the left, shoulder to the door, gazing out the window, while she sat far to the right, facing sullenly forward. Then he resumed what had apparently been their conversation before they got in the cab.

“Now, baby, you know I got bills to pay…there ain’t no way them bills is goin’ to get paid if I don’t get money. I know you got some money. Why won’t you give me some money to pay them bills. I been at home all alone since you been in the hospital, I couldn’t even cook no food cause there was no food to cook. I had to sit all day in that crappy house with no food, no nuthin’. Now, baby you know you got to let me have a little money once in a while. What am I supposed to do, cooped up there all day? I ain’t got no food, there’s no beer in the house, there wasn’t even nothin’ good on TV…I’m bored there all day. I got to get out to see my friends…and I can’t go out without no money.”

This non-stop patter was received by her with an icy silence, for a remarkably long time…until finally, having absorbed more than she could take, she erupted, starting slowly at first, like a car in first gear and ratcheting up the volume until she shouted at him with a finality that sent him cowering into his corner like a child.

“Why you little worm…I done gone through a heavy surgical operation…they done took my eyeball out and put it back in, I spent THREE days in the hospital, and I ain’t askin’ nobody to hold my hand but do you hear me snivellin’ and cryin’ like a whiney little baby?  You disgustin’ little piece of shit!!!… I’m a WOMAN, and I CAN TAKE ANYTHING!!!

The rest of the ride was spent in absolute silence.


~ by theoxherd on September 25, 2012.

2 Responses to “The Narcissist”

  1. It is hard to believe that passengers speak to each other as if the driver had no ears with which to hear them. I can’t even imagine the conversations you have been privy to during your years of driving.

    • Can you imagine me scribbling down their comments while I drove, trying to keep “disattached”. I guess that’s why I write them now. It still amazes me.

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