The tall woman was in Acapulco for a tennis event at the Fairmont Acapulco Princess, the huge pyramid-shaped hotel where the Mexican Open was held every year. As Emilia drove along La Costera in the middle lane, they conversed in English. The woman was a sports agent from Canada, an occupation Emilia didn’t even know existed. The conversation was the
most interesting one she’d had in days.
Emilia slowed to a stop at an intersection behind a silver hatchback. Her rearview mirror immediately filled with the white hood and yellow fenders of another sitio taxi. It wasn’t a Taxis Coco vehicle.
The taxista behind the wheel noticed her noticing him and blew her a kiss. Emilia scowled and looked away just as the other taxi rolled his front end into her rear, tapping it hard enough to give both women a noticeable jolt.
“Sorry,” Emilia muttered. “Traffic in Acapulco is crazy sometimes.” She nudged forward but there was only so far to go before riding the hatchback.
The pendejo deliberately collided with her bumper again, giving Emilia a jangle of whiplash.
Her passenger cried out and clutched her neck. “What the hell?”
“Hold on,” Emilia said shortly. Forcing her into traffic was infinitely more dangerous than invalidating her license or even slashing her tire.
She took her foot off the brake, rolled forward until she kissed the hatchback, then shifted into reverse and stamped on the accelerator. Tires chirped and the taxi careened into the one behind with a healthy thud. Eyes glued to the rearview mirror, Emilia saw sunglasses, CD cases, and holy cards rain down from the taxista’s visor. His mouth
worked with curses Emilia couldn’t hear as he blasted the horn.
He tried to counter her vehicle’s momentum but Emilia was ready. Her RPMs swung into the red zone as she fought the other car’s acceleration to a standstill. Locked together, tires screaming and smoking, the two taxis chewed the pavement in an even match of resolve and horsepower. The light changed. The hatchback moved ahead. Traffic streamed by to
the right and left. Emilia ignored the cacophony of honking horns, held her ground, and counted the seconds.
Just before the light changed, she shifted out of reverse. Propelled by her adversary, Emilia’s taxi shot through the intersection like a stone from a slingshot. Emilia’s foot pounded the clutch and she raced through the gears like a qualifier at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City.
The other taxi was left behind, unable to make it through the intersection before being hemmed in by traffic coming from the other direction.
“Does that happen often here?” her passenger sputtered.
“I’m the only female taxi driver in Acapulco,” Emilia explained.
Emilia found the entrance to the vast Fairmont Acapulco Princess complex. The 15-storey pyramid hotel was an iconic Acapulco tourist draw, with numerous pools, two golf courses, huge swath of beach, and a famous rock garden, all fringed with banana palms.
Her passenger hesitated before getting out. “Seriously,” she said, handing Emilia a generous propina. “If the taxi gig doesn’t work out, you might want to consider a job as a professional daredevil. That was a gutsy move.”
Professional daredevil. Emilia liked the sound of it. Flashier than cop in Acapulco, although it meant the same thing.