Safe With Nena

There are a million stories in the city, and I don’t want to be one of them.

I inherited the car from my father. It’s an oversized sedan, a gas hog, and features a roomy and comfortable back seat. 

Mom told me to sell it.

I decided to turn it into a cab, and make a living with it. Why not? If there are a million stories, imagine the millions of people who need rides every day. 

Nena appeared out of nowhere. I mean that literally. 

On the morning I picked up my newly renovated cab, a tiny dog greeted me when I slipped into the driver’s seat. She was no bigger than a minute, no easily identifiable breed and had big, expressive eyes that said, “I love you, Sandra.” 

Silly? Whatever. It was love at first sight for both of us. I didn’t want to mention anything to the guy who had built my custom cab, but, “Excuse me. You probably want to get your dog out now.”

“Got no dog,” the fellow answered curtly.

“But, there’s a little dog in here,” I argued. 

He poked his head in the window, looked briefly, and gave me a perplexed smile. “No dog,” he said. “Have a nice day.”

I looked at the tiny dog. She looked at me and winked. “Nena?” I asked, and she nodded. (This is all true–she’s a special dog.) “Well, he has my check. And my phone number. But you’re staying with me, okay, sweetie?”

Nena gave me a cute little bark of agreement. 

We were fast friends, and I had already decided she was special, but how special she was became clear to me just a few days later. 

The fare in the back seat that day was sweating profusely, and Nena repeatedly wrinkled her nose in distaste. He kept changing his mind about his destination, until I finally lost patience with him. 

“Look,” I told him, “Next place you name, you’re getting out. I don’t have time to traipse all over Manhattan, and I’m running low on fuel.”

“Don’t tell me what to do, lady,” the stinky man muttered. “Dintya never hear, da customer’s always right?”

 Nena growled, low in her throat. I glanced at her; she looked bigger. But…that couldn’t be.

“Did you read my notice that I will exercise my right to refuse service to anyone?” I retorted. 

“Ah, blow it out yer ass!”

Nena growled again. I wasn’t wrong–she was bigger. 

I pulled over, grateful for the plexiglass between me and my so-called customer. “The fare is $12.68. Put it in the tray, and get out.”

“Dis ain’t where I want to go!”

Nena looked over the top of the seat at him and bared her teeth, her growl quite threatening by this time. I was amazed to see that she was still seated, not standing up. Shoot, she couldn’t see over the seat even when she got up on her hind legs! What on earth was happening?

“Shut dat mutt up!” The smelly fellow had the nerve to get right up next to the glass and pound on it, right in my Nena’s face. 

Nena grew to an enormous size, and the plexiglass retracted. She snarled, and barked, and the man retreated as far as the seat would allow. 

I looked at Nena, who was now roughly the size of a Great Dane. She looked back at me and grinned, her mouth full of huge, sharp teeth. I turned and looked at my nasty smelling passenger. “$12.68. Put it in the tray.”

He began a frantic search of his pockets. Nena growled again, and barked three times. 

“What? What, doggie?”

“She says add a generous tip,” I said. 

He tossed a twenty in the tray. I slid it closed from my side and examined the bill. You never could tell. “Change?” I asked in my sweetest voice.

“Just lemme outta here!” 

I unlocked the door. He jumped out. “You oughta control that dog!” he shouted. 

Nena, all three pounds of her, stood on her hind legs to look at him through the passenger side window. She could barely be seen. “This dog?” I said. “What’s the matter with you?”

People paused on the street to admire my sweet, tiny Nena and give the flustered, malodorous fellow bewildered looks as he ranted on and on about the monstrous dog in my taxi cab. 

I decided they’d all seen enough, and we retired for the evening. 

We haven’t made the nightly news yet; so far, our story hasn’t spread. Why would it? Nena is unbelievable. 

Author’s Note: Sometimes, you just have to have fun with a Writers Unite! prompt.

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