The bike accident (from my book my adventurous,wonderful life)


I finally decided to write my book today because it’s Frebruary the 29th…I thought that if i died today they’ll celebrate my anniversary once every four years.
                              CHAPTER ONE
Hey Dude, can you pick me up at the Memorial Hospital?

What happened..are you ok?

I’m ok…how long?

about twenty minutes…you mean the one on Hollywood Boulevard?

C’mon Dude…do you know of any other Memorial Hospital in Hollywood?


Dude…. wake up and smell the coffee…are you a cab driver or not?

Oh…sorry dude…I’ll get there in a flash..

I have a hard time remembering the Dude’s name. We all called him Dude because he used to put that word on his sentences as if it was a comma…so to everyone he was the “Dude”.

All the cab drivers in Broward County knew who he was, and kept away from him. He was a boat’s capitain, an helicopter’s pilot, a champion surfer… a perfect compulsive liar.
He just couldn’ help lying on anything…it was so obvious and imbarassing, but he wasn’t a bad person he had a hart and that was very hard to find in 1997 driving a taxi in Fort Lauderdale.
I “picked him up” from Hollywood Beach one day, almost wasted from the various joints he had smoked even if it was before lunch.. he was going to get busted soon or later by selling bags of pot on the beach so i told him he could drive a cab and make an honest living.

He accepted and I spoke to Mike, our supervisor. He got a cab a week later and I had a “Dude” living with me.

The good part was that I was never at home. I was living at 1536 Fletcher street at that time and the year was 1997. The neighbour was friendly and safe back then and  the rent was only 280 a month.

I was single, happily single in a region that had more girls willing to give it away than palms,so i wasn’t even thinking about getting married,start a family and such.
Before the Dude moved in with me I was living only with the “Girl” a 12 year old black Labrador that I adopted from my landlady when she decided to get her 12 year old son a “new dog because that one was blind”. I’ll talk about the “Girl” later though.
What happened Dude?
I fell from my bike and broke my arm
Near Pier 21 in Port Everglades… I went over the railroad tracks and the front wheel got stuck in the rail..flipping me airborne..when  I landed on top of my hand I felt the pain, someone took me to the hospital an here I am.
Holy Shit..that must have hurt.
Still does..can you take me home now?
Sure…but   how are you going todrive a cab now?
Good question Dude  good question…I’ll think about that tomorrow  now i just want to get some sleep.

I let my thoughts wandering about as we were driving South on US1 as i was unusually seated in the passenger’s seat of a taxi.
Ten years…i thought…ten years I have been driving a cab…how many people..
It was like going to the movies for me, getting behind the wheel early in the morning,trying to catch longer rides to MIA the airport in Miami. I was eager to see what kind of “Humanity” would have show in my back seat.
Most of my passengers talked about their problems to me as if I was some kind of priest listening to their confessions. They knew chances to see me again were slim, so they opened up and talked, asked, cried, laughed,offered grass, cocaine or sex in exchange for a ride..

The “Dude” (From my book my adventurous, wonderful life)

Chapter One


I wasn’t considering myself a new Mother Theresa or a Ghandi but if my word could make a passenger feel better..i never backed off.

I rolled the window down all the way.

South Florida evenings…i thought. that warm wind blowing inside, sucking the air conditioning out of the Dude’s cab like a straw.. I enjoyed the temperature in the late evening as I did at night, driving with my windows down.
The Dude was addicted to the air conditioning.

What are you doing man?
You know that i don’t like the ac Dude…it makes me sick…it makes you sick too..
can’t we just enjoy tthe breeze for awhile?
Ok man sice you broke your arm i’ll forgive you.
Dude, look at the finger of my broken arm…can you read between the lines?

We reached Fletcher Street and turned left from US1 just before the Hollywood Dog Track.
Our apt was just two block east and was quiet as usual.
Irwin parked the Chevy on the grass and we went inside greeted by the Girl who was laying in the front door as usual waiting for my return as a good friend.

Just before i fell from the bike, I was meditating on my life as a cabdriver and the outcome wasn’t that good.
I was still single at the age of 41, I only had about 5 thousand dollars saved up for the rainy days  and i didn’t know where my life was taking me , as if it was a small sail-boat adrifted in a tropical storm.
No. I wasn’t happy. I needed a change.
As this thought entered my mind I found myself flying and falling abruptly on the concrete smashing my arm and hand under my 180 pounds.
The pain was terrible.

Now, when i think back of that day I see it as if the destiny had set up a date for my ass.
I complained about my status and my conditions and I fell from my bike as if a Giant’s Hand had decided to take control over my ragged life and give it a twist.
Not only one twist though but three…in the same day.

As i reached home, the Landlady rang my bell

Hi pio

Hi Marylin what’s new?

Hey…!! What happened to your arm? (i told her the whole story)

Oh I’m so sorry. I have one bad news for you.

Hit me!

You going to have to leave the apartment in a month…i sold the house.

Oh great…no problem..i’ll manage…
The third blow came over the phone.

This is the yellow cab Pio in?


We found out what was wrong with the cab you brought in today…


You Blew the engine…so either you come up with 2500$ or you are out?

2500$? I blew the engine? what are you talking about? Let me speak to Mike the supervisor.



Is this some kind of a joke?

No Pio it’s all true and there is nothing I can do about…either you pay or you’re out…


Goodbye I got to go.

I hung up and crashed on the bed.
That was my really lucky day  I thought… the bike accident.Lost the apt.Lost my job.
All in the same day.
I looked at the ceiling fan rotating over my head,trying to see a clear solution out of this mess while the Dude was nervously going back and forth from the chitcken to the bedroom smoking a joint and complaining loudly about the fact that we had to look for a new place.
I hit the “pause” button on him. So he was talking and talking but I wasn’t really listening at all, trying to see clear trough that mess I wasn’t helped either by his talking,neither from the pain biting my arm now that the painkiller they gave me at the hospital was losing its effect.

I saw the Dude coming towards me talking but it was like on the TV when you press the “mute” I wasn’t hearing a word he was saying but I saw the hand with the joint coming my way  Dude.You know I don’t smoke when I have to drive you know…

Well you ain’t driving Pio are you?

You are right Dude.

So I took a couple of hits from the sweet grass and fell back on my back. Ten  minutes later, after i took the second paikiller for the day I fell asleep like a baby.

From the book “my adventurous wonderful life”


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I remember when South Beach looked like a parking lot for elderly people left there by their rich children. I often cruised the strip with my Yellow Taxi in the daytime, (at night it was too dangerous), and watch the building facing the ocean on the West side of Collins Avenue. From the twenties all the way down to fifth street all you could see back then was a quantity of old people sitting on the outside looking at the beach. Who could have ever imagined that years later this would turn out to be the world’s famous South Beach. Miami Vice was being filmed and the eighties were great years for many.

Also for the druglords, attracted by the temperatures and the free hunting for new places to open their vicious markets. Every day i turned the radio on there was a shooting involving this or that particular mafia. The Jamaicans, the Italians, the Cubans, trying to set their territory from one another.

After the killings, and the division of the territory between the druglords, the big money started to flow in faster than the Gulfstream and they had to be re-invested clean and fast.

Bulidings, hotels banks and restaurants came into life in the next years like mushrooms in the woods after heavy rain.

The Skyline of Miami, Miami Beach, South Beach changed from a quiet simple line to the one we know and see now.

It was safe to drive down the strip anytime day or night. The “old farts” that sat in front of the hotels were dumped somewhere else and the casting companies, the fashion artists, and the movie industry moved in changing the looks and the feeling of South Florida forever.

Hallandale looked like a quiet place to live and I rented a small room on 214 terrace, just east of old Federal Higway.It was just a room, if I needed to take a shower i had to ask the owner to go into the house. It was cheap, that is all I cared for.

All the money I had when I came from a small town of Northern Italy was gone. Three hundred dollars, in one night, in New York, after I decided to stay overnight in Manhattan. It was the day of my twentythird birthday when I landed for the first time of my life at JFK.

October 15 1979. I will never forget that ride on the back seat of a Checker Cab, going into Manhattan I could see the skyline getting closer and closer, like a forest of buildings. The Autumn’ sun right behind the Chrisler looked like a huge organge, and by the time we got into the hart of fifth ave, it was dark red.

So i decided that i wanted to live it up, and ended up into a strip-joint, where my money evaporated faster than the steam from the sewer. My first and last time in such a club costed me three hundred and the (kept) promise to never set my “grease-ball” foot again in a night club.

So by the time I landed into the Fort Lauderdale Airport I had only the emergency money that I managed to save between my sock and my left foot. It amounted to fiftysix dollars.

I took a bus South and when I felt it was right, i stepped out and the sign red: US1 and Hallandale Beach Boulevard.

There was an Italian Restaurant there named Doria’s. Went in and got a job as a salad boy, helping Hassan, the pizza man from Iran who was making pizza faster that any italian pizza-men I ever met.

He was hooked on the dogs. There was a Dog-Track, just a few blocks from the restaurant and it seemed to him that the faster he could make those pizzas, the earlier he could go to throw his money away. Hollywood Dog Track, on Pembroke and US1.

I took that really small room from an old man. He asked fifty bucks for the week. I had to take it, I was broke, after all…I couldn’t excpect to be sleeping at the Fointanbleu, after all.

That night i felt asleep as fast as I layed my head on the bed. The room was just big enough to contain the bed.

Later I found out that it was a tool shack reshaped for the occasion (my lodging)… be continued