UnScripts:I had that Archduke in the back of my cab once

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June 28th 1914

Franzferdinand01

I demand you drive my wife and I out of this rat hole.

June 28th 1914. The city of Sarajevo in Bosnia. A sunny day to remember but for me it was business as usual. I was working as a taxi driver, just moved back home after working in Vienna for some years. I hoped to start my own taxi company with the money I had saved. I had supported the incorporation of my home country into the empire and there were plenty like me who were of that opinion.

It had been a busy that Sunday morning, The Austrian military were in town and that meant a lot of fat tips. My firm had given me the best taxi in the fleet to pick up some really important customers. Me..well what's a uniform or a fancy hat to me? I was glad our main rivals, the Black Hand Cabs had been banned from working that day. That lot were way too political for me. I was parked outside the City Hall taking a break when a man with a handlebar mustache tapped me on the head with a long stick and shouted at me in German.


MAN IN FEATHERED HAT
YOU THERE. DO YOU SPEAK GERMAN? Take us to the railway station.
ME
Morning guvnor. You looking for a ride in the lap of luxury?
MAN IN FEATHERED HAT
I demand you drive my wife and I out of this rat hole.
ME
It has been one of them days. The traffic has been murder. Sooner they get rid of this horse and cart economy round here, the better.
Uncyc franz moustache

First and last time in Sarajevo. Ghastly place.

The man grimaced at me. He looked familiar and was dressed up like a prize turkey. I could tell he was a top high ranking general judging by that hat of his. Feathers and Medals. Oh, and there was his wife coming up behind him. She was wearing a huge white dress that could sail her down the Danube. They got in and sat with fixed, angry stares. I hand cranked up the car and we were away.

ME
Is this your first time to Sarajevo?
MAN IN FEATHERED HAT
First and last time. Ghastly place.
WIFE
Yes, I agree, Franzie. Terrible place. No shops to look at and this bloody corset is really digging in.
FRANZIE
Now, now Sophie, we don't need to swear, do we? I promise after this we will go to Paris on some mission or other.
SOPHIE
Your uncle Misery guts won't let you go. About time Franz Fossil-Josef died and let you run the family business.


My earlier happy mood went sour as I listened to this. Sarajevo is no Paris but it has its attractions. For a minute or so, the couple didn't speak to each other. When this happens, I like to pipe up as it usually helps to increase the size of my tip.

Blackhandcabs01

I would never use a Black Hand Cab

ME
I can give you a rundown on our city's attractions if you like. On the right....
FRANZIE
I had a bomb thrown at me on the way in today. Is that how Sarajevo treats tourists?.
SOPHIE
It quite ruined my day. This place is full of anarchists or worse.
Taxidriver001

They much as cut your throat as take your fare.

FRANZIE
Damned ingratitude. Sarajevo was still stuck in the Middle Ages until we came here to sort it out. And I get a bomb thrown at me for the trouble.
ME
This place can be a bit rough. Our taxi firm is always fighting the Black Hand Cabs for customers..
FRANZIE
I would NEVER use a Black Hand Cab.
ME
I'm glad to hear it, guvnor. They much as cut your throat as take your fare.
SOPHIE
Can you get that man to drive faster, Franzie? He is really going very slowly as if he is taking us to a funeral.


Male customers always like a good rant in my cab but they lose track of time and where we are going. Women are always aware of time...funny that. Anyway, don't get me wrong. I don't take the long way round that often to increase the charge and certainly not that day. I had already picked up a tidy sum that morning and the day was still relatively young.


Kaiserhelm

He is good at shooting things, well, birds mainly.

FRANZIE
You know, Sophie, that uniform I arrived in is ruined. I had someone to brush all the debris off me....there was an eyeball...
SOPHIE
I DON'T WANT TO KNOW! Urgh!! Revolting people. I want to be back in Vienna tonight. If I wanted to go to Africa, I would have ordered a safari. Well at least our staff packed us some extra clothing.
FRANZIE
Safari. I like that. I will ask Willy next time we're in Berlin if he is planning a trip. He is good at shooting things, well, birds mainly. My friend Doctor Freud says it is all 'emotional displacement complex' for wanting to shoot people instead.
SOPHIE
Doctor Freud? That Jewish man?? I didn't know you were seeing him.
FRANZIE
Yes. Interesting chap. He wanted me to lie on a couch. I said I can lie standing up. He laughed at my joke.
SOPHIE
Oh, Franzie. That is what I liked about you. Your sense of humour.


And so on and so on. That's why cabbies get to know so much. After a time, people forget you are there and will talk a lot about personal stuff they would never say to friends and family. If you want to know what is going on in any city or country, ask one of us. And certainly don't ask for a Black Hand Cab!! By now we were approaching the station but I was finding the chat in the back interesting so I took a 'wrong turn' and started up a side street. Of course the guy in the hat didn't notice but his wife did.

Driver01

Are you giving us the runaround driver?

SOPHIE
Driver? Where are we going?? I can see the station but you are going in the opposite direction!
ME
This is a short cut. The traffic around the station is terrible but this...
FRANZIE
What? Are you giving us the runaround driver?? I will have you reported! I will have you conscripted!!
ME
Keep your feathers on, guvnor. This is the quickest way, honest.
SOPHIE
Do something, Franzie. This man is disobeying you. Have him shot.
Sophie01

This man is disobeying you. Have him shot.

Just then, I saw a guy I recognised who drove for the Black Hand Cabs. He looked at me and then at my passengers. Shifty bloke, called Prince or Princip - something like that. I guessed he was angry about not being able to work that day. Then the woman called Sophie hit me on the head with her parasol. I don't like to be patronised but I could see these two could cause me problems at my company. So I stopped the car and turned round.

ME
Now Lady, there's no need for hitting me like that. I maybe an 'umble cabbie but I have rights you know.
FRANZIE
No you don't and you'll have less of them when I am running this country. Now back up and take us to the station.
SOPHIE
Do as you are ordered, driver.

I cursed in my native Bosnian but 'Franzie' heard some of my choice words.}}

FRANZIE
Damn you, driver!!! I heard every word. I am going to have you shot when I get back to my palace.
PRINCIP
I AM DOING THE SHOOTING!!! Bosnia belongs to Serbia! Death to tyrants!!!! Black Hand Cabs are the best!!!!


BANG BANG


Before I could say anymore, that guy Prince or Princip fires a revolver at my passengers. The woman gets it first, she had thrown herself in front of her husband. He takes the second shot. I look at Princip - the bastard is saving a third bullet for me but then the police arrives and beats him to the ground. I have a cab with two dead occupants and no chance of collecting money for the fare. And I have got blood stains and bullet holes in the upholstery. And it had been such a good day up till then."

October 9th 1934

I had hoped to get a nice packet for my story when I discovered the true identity of my passengers but then shooting at people became a Europe-wide hobby that summer. Our cab company went out of business and I ended up on the street. My cab was taken away and stuck in a museum after the war was over.

No one wanted to employ me as a cabbie after that. I was considered a 'jinxed driver' and so moved to Marseilles in France. There I got various driving jobs. Today I am at an undertaking firm. Business is good and I get to drive the big car again. I will tell you...

MY GUVNOR
Osman, I had a call from the Prefect. They want us to pick up some visitors who have just arrived.
Dumbkopftaxi

Why don't they call a taxi company?

OSMAN
Why don't they call a taxi company?
MY GUVNOR
Their cars are too small and nothing else is available. You can drive down to meet them in that car we use for expensive funerals.
OSMAN
Who am I picking up?
MY GUVNOR
The King of Yugoslavia is here. You can speak his language. Our Foreign Minister Monsieur Barthou will be with him so if you can pick them both up and head for the reception organised at the mayor's residence.

I drive down to Marseilles docks in a big black sedan. Why, I was only using this yesterday to drive a family of mourners to a funeral. Better not mention that to my passengers. I see them waiting at the quayside and surrounded by crowds. King Alexander is standing straight and wearing a tight, buttoned up uniform. Barthou sees me.

BARTHOU
CAB!
KingAlexander01

Which archduke?

OSMAN
Where to, Guvnors?
BARTHOU
To the reception. Are you foreign?
OSMAN
Indeed I am. I came here from Sarajevo after the War. I had that Archduke in the back of my cab once...
KING ALEXANDER
Which archduke? Franz Ferdinand??
Assassin01

Hello, is there someone I forgot to take with us?

OSMAN
Yes your majesty. I couldn't getting any taxi work at home so I came to France...hello, is there someone I forgot to take with us?...there is a guy running towards us...with a...


BANG BANG BANG

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