Old technology

In a cab, Cuba 2000 © Tanya Clarke

In a cab, Cuba 2000 © Tanya Clarke

Writing Prompt No. 49

Jenny looked over at Tom.

His knee was jigging up and down making the back seat thrum with vibration. The muscle in his jaw was tight with nervous tension. She could tell he was gritting his teeth together. The cab driver reached up to the selection of cassette tapes that were lined up above his head. He flicked one down, opened the case and clicked the tape into the player. Jenny had never seen such a thing for real, only in pictures. Music started to play.

“For the tourists. Yes? Buena Vista Social Club. You like it?”

The cab driver was called José. He introduced himself with a sweep of an open door to his cab and a slight bow. The car was old. Very old. The interior trim had been ripped out leaving behind the bare metal of the car. The smell of warm plastic emanated from the seats. Jenny’s bare legs in shorts stuck to the seat with her own sweat. She shifted trying to unstick her skin.

“Yes,” she said, “I do like it. The music. Thank you José. Gracias.”

The music played as they drove into the countryside.

“Jenny?” Tom leaned towards her whispering his words. They were much louder than he thought. “What if he’s taking us to meet his ‘friends’?” He mimed the apostrophes in the air with his fingers.

“Don’t be an idiot. Of course, he isn’t.”

“This was your bloody idea in the first place. Bringing us to this shithole.” There was silence for a minute or two.

“Well, I happen to love it here.” Jenny began to hum along to the music tapping the rhythm out on her knees with her hands. Tom leaned back in his seat his knee still vibrating the floor of the vehicle.

“When we get back to Havana, I’m booking the first flight back home.”

Jenny looked over at her boyfriend of six months.

“Good,” she said, “I’ll be better off without you.”

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