The following is from Priya Guns’ debut novelYour Driver Is Waiting. Guns is an actor and writer previously published in short story anthologies, gal-dem, Spring magazine, and anonymously in the Guardian. She is a Creative Writing graduate from Kingston University.
If you’re going to be a driver, you’d better hide at least one weapon in your car. Especially if you’re a driver that looks like me. Not because I’m dashing or handsome, but because I am a woman, of course. I think it has something to do with tits even though not all of us have them. I sort of do, but that’s beside the point.
I’d been driving for RideShare using Appa’s old car, whose make I will not disclose. I had a switchblade in the glove compartment (which I normally kept in my back pocket), a tire iron under my seat, pepper spray by my door, and a pair of scissors under the mat by the pedals, taped down to avoid any sliding. In the trunk there were six bottles of water, a bucket, a bottle of bleach, some rope, a baseball bat, a few rolls of paper towels, a can of antiperspirant and another of spray paint, some condoms, tampons, pads, and diapers. As humans we have an assortment of bodily fluids and by then I’d tasted about eight of them. In the bucket—and I didn’t like keeping much in it— there was a roll of duct tape because duct tape will do just about anything you want it to. I also had some dishcloths, a towel, a crowbar, cleaning products, a toothbrush, baking soda, vinegar, and a squeegee buried under some rags in a corner of the trunk, because things got messy. Oh, and there was a pair of black rubber gloves too. These were difficult to find, but I wanted black.
All the drivers I’ve ever met say it’s crucial to drive prepared. Go ahead and ask one. If they tell you there’s not even one weapon hidden in their car, they’re lying. As a driver, you have to protect yourself. Out there in the city, we’re on our own.
From Your Driver is Waiting: A Novel by Priya Guns. Reprinted by permission of Doubleday, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2023 by Priya Guns.