By Patti Kim
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Additional resources for A Cab Called Reliable: A Novel
My mother would have emptied it each week, tapping it on the pavement, instead of adding a half-smoked cigarette stained with lipstick to the heap. " Shielding her eyes, she came close to the window chewing food. " "I need to show Boris something. " She turned her head, shouted something in Portuguese, and looked down at me, leaning her elbows on the windowsill. "Boris is coming. " she asked, looking up at the sky. Boris's mother was out of her uniform and wearing a light blue robe, which made her look like an ordinary grandmother.
She explained that "Reliable" was probably the name of the cab company, and the reason they called it that was because they wanted their customers to know that their service was reliable or dependable or responsible or faithful or trustworthy. When I returned her explanation with a confused stare, she pushed her seat away from the desk, stood up, and pointing to her chair, said, "See this chair? It is reliable because I know it will not break when I sit on it. " Miss Washburn sat back down. She tapped the toes of her canvas sandals against the floor.
When I didn't come to the door with my usual greeting, my father would unlock it and let himself in, mumbling something about me sleeping too much after school. No red light on the rice maker. When he lifted the lid, no rice. No soup on the stove. In the sink, dried orange juice on the sides of the glass. Dried rice and cereal stuck on the bowls. Wooden chopsticks and spoons. Dripping faucet. The table wasn't set with cups for the water, bowls for the rice, chopsticks and spoons on the right, folded napkins on the left, and last night's leftovers, slices of bean curd fried in egg with soy sauce and vinegar, in the center.