Coppedge, Clay

Author: Clay Coppedge
Publisher: Pegasusbooks
ISBN: 978-1941859353
Copyright: September 2015

The opening chapter of Loaded South: A Taxi Memoir begins with a call at a downtown Austin bar that involves an atypical fare who has "just committed the most newsworthy act of the day" and ends at the Alamo. That sets the stage for "Cop Karma," which features our hero-that would be me-a few forbearing Austin police officers and some folks who were never in the running for an "Austin Citizen of the Year" award. The story takes us from east Austin, where Roy's Taxi was founded in retaliation to the city's 1928 segregation plan, to the University of Texas, the state capitol and destinations far removed from those iconic landmarks. The people who pass through the pages of Loaded South range from the down and out to the high and mighty, from hookers and topless dancers to blue-haired little old ladies and a fair cross-section of everybody else in between. As the stories unfold, the reader realizes that not only is the city where all of this takes place changing, but so is the narrator. The early hijinks gradually give way to a realization that maybe he is not "really" a writer, social critic or working class hero; maybe he is "just" a cab driver after all. With a certain amount of hard-earned street smarts, he tries his hand at serious gambling and other "off the meter" ventures and becomes, briefly, an accidental drug dealer. The "knockout punch" he spends a year seeking finally comes, but not in the way he imagined or hoped. He comes close to losing what little he had and even commits suicide (sort of) over the phone to a person he mistakes for a bill collector but who turns out to be the organizer of his 10-year class reunion. Driving a cab for Roy's Taxi when he was young and life in Austin was cheap comes to shape him more than he ever imagined and certainly more than he might have hoped. He never quite makes it as a social critic, but he is interviewed for a German TV show and eventually finds love and, yes, a "real" job.

Book by the Author:

Forgotten Tales of Texas

Hill Country

Loaded South

Texas Baseball