Los Angeles, CA
It's time for a new installment of Tao of Five, which is an interview series I created specifically for Tao of Poker and I ask different subjects a series of five questions. In the past, this series focused on members of the poker industry, however, for this installment I wanted to change things up a bit, so I included an interview with an authentic Las Vegas taxi driver.
Mr. Funk is one of my favorite Las Vegas writers. I don't know exactly how we befriended each other, but I do know that it had origins in music because we both have similar tastes and listen to some of the same bands. He's an old school Deadhead and digs Phish, so much so, that I sent him a few bootlegs that he actually plays while driving his cab. Yes, Mr. Funk's day job is driving a cab. Actually, he works the night shift, and that's when he gathers tons of compelling material that he shares on his blog titled Las Vegas Cabbie Chronicles, which I have linked up on more than one occasion. LVCC has become one of my favorite Vegas-centric reads these days. My only critique is that I wished Mr. Funk wrote more. His most recent series of posts about fighting a ticket is an amazing lesson in bureaucracy and the social structure of Sin City.
Anyway, let's get down to this.
Photo by Wolynski
Pauly: Is it true that cabbies can take you to strip clubs for free?Thanks to Mr. Funk a.k.a. the author of the Las Vegas Cabbie Chronicles for taking the time out to be a part of the Tao of Five. You can (and should) follow him on Twitter.
Mr. Funk: Well most every strip club pays a bounty for every customer you bring them. It works on a per customer basis so if the club is paying, for example, $20 (which is the current take at most major clubs, full-nude clubs slightly more) a head and you drop off 4 people that will earn you $80 just like that. The free rides come into because if I find four guys who want to go, I can easily comp a ride to help influence the deal, knowing that it's only going to be a $10 fare or whatever it is, and I'm really only paying the companies share of that anyway. The smart customers who know the game will simply request a free ride but the free ride all depends on how many in your party and what the payout happens to be at that time for that specific club.
One cannot say who pays the most because these things change constantly. If one raises theirs to $50 rest assured in a matter of minutes the rest of the majors will follow suit. I've seen it as high as $100/head to as low as none of the clubs paying anything for almost a 6 month period. Generally speaking, the higher payouts will be found during the slower parts of the year.
Pauly: Have you ever let anyone have sex in the back of your cab?
Mr. Funk: Yes, three times. Once was a hooker and a John that netted me $100 fee collection for the cab rights for 30 minutes while I had breakfast at Peppermill. The second was a mysterious couple that humped in my backseat, without permission, circa Koval &Flamingo. And of course, I'll never forget the three lesbians. That shit counts.
Pauly: What is the biggest taxi scam to avoid as a tourist? Is the highway ever faster when getting picked up at the airport?
Mr. Funk: Longhauling is without question a tourists' chief concern when utilizing taxi service while in Las Vegas. If you end up on the freeway from the airport there is a 99% chance that you are being longhauled. If the cab fare from the airport reaches $20 or more you need to start asking questions. I've talked this topic extensively on my blog in a Q&A post.
Pauly: Once in a while, I usually come across a cabbie who tries the old "I don't have any change" trick. What's the best way to combat that?
Mr. Funk: The best way to combat that is to have exact change. I am only required to carry $5 in change. I don't need to be starting my day at risk with wads of my own cash in my pocket because you were too lazy to stop at the cage and break your hundred. That said, when a cabbie says this, there is always the chance that he's bullshitting you and in fact he probably is. Regardless. if you think ahead and break a $20 into 5's and singles beforehand than you can alleviate this problem altogether. Now in my brother's defense, the reason in all likelihood, that he is bullshitting you is because you are probably a bad tipper anyway.
Pauly: Where is the best place in Las Vegas to hide a dead hooker's body?
Mr Funk: I'm not sure, but I can tell you not at some of those big empty lots of property that you see all over the Southwest side of town. South of 215 there is some big empty spaces in between neighborhoods and such. Don't do it there. I know another cabbie that dumped a bunch of his trash on one of these lots. There are no dumping signs everywhere but this guy doesn't give a fuck. Apparently some of his personal items were in with the stuff that he dumped and at some point, I don't know if it was before or after he dumped his stuff, somebody dumped a body there. The cops seeing my friends info quickly dispatched units to his home and the cab yard in search of him. He was able to talk his way out of the murder but not the dumping fine.
Previous installments of the Tao of Five included interviews with Matt Savage, Michael Craig, Otis (the infamous Otis vs. the Devil), Flipchip, Wicked Chops Poker, and Benjo.
Stay tuned for the next installment of the Tao of Five.