For the preceding City Gate Chapter click here...
"I don't need a map, I just need a taxi, damn you Sbal!" I cursed in his vicinity trying to avoid his laughing eyes. "One will be along in a minute."
A rickshaw went by pulled by the strongest man I'd ever seen with a long pipe in his mouth spitting embers, followed by a wagon train with four skeletal horses and a man with a crossbow, Siamese twins on an odd three seated tandem, and a wheelchair with no one in it. But no taxis. I sighed with exasperation and sat down on the once yellow curb.
Sbal sat down beside me. "They're on strike, you know."
"I didn't know," I shrugged. "When did that happen?"
"About twenty years ago." He shrugged back.
"Twenty years? What in the world do you strike for twenty years over?" I asked.
"Gasoline." he said simply. "It was decreed that you could not bring it inside the City Gate. You can catch a cab outside the City, and it can take you anywhere but into the City."
"Where is the taxi stand outside the City?"
"There isn't one. There's no business."
"So there are no taxis then." I was puzzled.
"Well, there are actually."
"I don't understand," I admitted.
"Well, that's a start at least!" he smirked.
He motioned me to follow him down Broadway. He set a brisk pace through the darkened streets. Apparently electricity was not allowed in the City either.
"What about my weapons?", looking over my shoulder up at the White Witch's office.
He looked over his shoulder: "You have all the weapons you need. And besides the best weapon you have is the one your opponent holds."
"How can that be?"
"When a man has a weapon, he is limited to that weapon. And in his mind, his foes all fall to that weapon. He ceases to imagine the opponent stronger than his weapon. Or that the fight might be carried on in another way. He is easily surprised."
"Well, smartass, what if he has a gun and I don't? What surprise do I have then?"
"BOO!" he yelled towards a darkened doorway - a man lept out and began running away.
He looked at me and then, with just a hint of a smile, he spun on his heel and began walking briskly.