“Sam? Sam's wormed his way inside Orias?” Harold glanced at the taxi as it pulled up. Tom's Taxi Cabs? He was certain he'd dialled Five-Star. He opened the front door and leaned in to speak to the driver. Are you here for Waterman?”
“That's right guv.” The driver turned to face him, dark glasses set into a face full of suntan. His shock of ginger hair was jammed into a red baseball cap, though the logo was so faded it was illegible. “Hop in.”
Harold was about to climb in the front when a hand clamped onto his shoulder. “My seat, I think you'll find.” The Spall-demon shimmied past him into the passenger side and Harold then had to wait while Jasfoup climbed into the back and shuffled across to the driver's side amid much tutting as to the state of the taxi.
Harold had to concur. He was tempted to call the controlling company and would have done if there was any indication of the telephone number. There was nothing painted on the side of the cab and no information cards on the inside. There was a driver licence card declaring the driver's name to be Putney Bridge but as far as he could recall that was the name of the least desirable destination in the Game of London. He shuffled his feet trying to find the floor beneath the layer of cigarette ends, old polystyrene coffee cups and McDonald's wrappers where the familiar clown had been replaced by a crudely drawn hamburger-faced chef. “This is disgusting.”
The driver grinned into the rear-view mirror. “Thanks, Mate. We do our best.”
Harold looked down at his phone and scrolled to see the record of his outgoing calls. “How did you pick us up? I called a different taxi company.”
“That's a principle of philosophy.” The driver now sported a cigarette, dangling between his lips. Harold noticed the dashboard ashtray so full of ash it looked like a model of Mt. Fuji. “If all the souls in the world are part of one Great Spirit, then all the cabs in the world are part of one great firm, yes?”
“You hijacked the call.”