Sliding into the back of the cab, Martyr pulled one of his headphone ***** off his ear.
“Sacred Blood Academy, please.” He spoke up, preparing to move the left side of his orchestra back in place.
“Freakiest name I’ve ever heard for a high school.” The driver replied. He couldn’t have been older than twenty-two, dressed in a baggy canvas jacket that was once a smoky gray, jeans, and a flatbilled cap. His features were fairer with a sandy blond that traced down his face in longer sideburns and a five o’clock shadow. Based on his light eyes and hair, Martyr figured him to be Pennsylvania dutch in ancestry.
Around his rearview mirror hung a white rosary, his name plate just below it.
“Halo Parsons?” Martyr read aloud.
“Yeah? If you gotta problem with that, I can let you right back out on the curb.”
“Oh, sorry.” Martyr shook his head. “No problem. Is that your rosary?”
“Nah. Cabbie before me got nearly beat to death in here, so I thought it would be a bad omen to remove it.” The cabbie looked up at him in the rear view mirror. “You catholic?”
“I go to a catholic academy.”
“You know anything about those necklaces being bad luck?” Martyr could evidently hear the dutch accent in his voice, repressed by time in the city. It only came out on certain syllables.
“Um…no.” Martyr shook his head. “I don’t think Catholics believe in luck.” He paused. “Well, they do. They just don’t call it that.”
“What do they call it then?” Halo Parson pulled the car into the a long lane of vehicles all waiting on a red light.
“Crazy math.” Martyr set his head back against the headrest, pulling his headphones back in place. “Thanks for the ride.”
“Well, it ain’t free.” Halo responded pounding his horn in accordance with a chorus of other honks.
Martyr drowned the noise out with his music, watching out the window.
The buildings, streets, and vehicles blurred by him in a monotonous stream. Philadelphia reminded Martyr of a little boy who had fallen asleep, leaning against the clouds. Where it once had been alive with people and aspirations, the whole city seemed now sedated. In a collection bland gray buildings, stately houses, and ****** apartment; the city had matured itself right out of usefulness. Even the winding motion of the cab on the streets seemed muted in the gray atmosphere, as if everything would happen in its time and nothing could change the events of the future.
There it was!
On the corner of the block was a beautifully grand building about five stories high. In contrast to the milky gray shade of Philadelphia’s coat, this building was a beautiful gold and marble. The luscious garden that swept around the front of it like a tree skirt was speckled with statues and fountains.
It was the Dante art museum, completely free and open to the public. More specifically, It was Martyr’s favorite place on earth. On his golden birthday, his sister had taken him there because it was completely free.
He remembered that it was the first time he had ever heard a cello.
“Have…” He pulled off his ear ****. “Have you ever been inside the Dante museum?”
Halo Parsons looked up from traffic, glancing at the building as if he needed to distinguish it from the hundreds of buildings he passed on a regular basis. “Nah, I don’t need some ****** artist’s charity.” He motioned to the cab around him, taking his hands off the wheel momentarily. “I’m living the high life as it is!”