Hey, Taxi!
To the Hospital, and Hurry!

Poncho shakes his head disapprovingly as the taxi finally screeches to a halt, very nearly hitting the curb at the sharp left turn ahead. "That was your last chance, son," the cop sighs.

Jack's face pales considerably, his eyes widening in shock as he slowly pulls his rectangular glasses back over them. Those same horror-filled eyes subconsciously check the back seat for a dazed (or unconscious) passenger, but much to his relief, find none.

"N-No, please, sir, this is the only job I have!" Jack stammers. He eyes the small, black, velvet-lined box sitting in the passenger seat and gulps loudly. "I...we need the money...!"

"No wormin' out of this one," Poncho says, wagging his finger almost condescendingly. "If ya need the money that bad, ya shouldn't have been drivin' like a maniac. You even know how fast y'were goin'?"

"Uh..." Jack mutters, stalling for time - he knows perfectly just what speed he managed to hit, as well as how many red lights he ran, how many hills he jumped from, and how many pedestrians he nearly hit, but he doesn't want to believe any of it - "No...?"

"One-twenty in a fifty zone," Poncho says methodically. "Yer outta warnings, son." He extends a slightly chubby hand like the Grim Reaper might extend an invitation. "Hand it over."

"Come on, just one more chance!" Jack pleads. His hands are shaking quite badly by now, and he's very nearly fighting back tears. "I promise I won't-"

"Nope, I've been pretty lenient so far," Poncho says quickly. "Your license. Now, please." His hand remains in place, except for the slight jerk that indicates his growing impatience.

Jack gives a long, loud sigh, and bites his lower lip nervously. "There...there has to be something I can-"

"There isn't. Quit stallin', boy."

At that point, Jack comes very, very close to sucking in another deep breath and shouting out the loudest, most powerful cry for help of his life, but what can the Agents do? Make Poncho change his mind or, even better, quit his job? Wishful thinking, but not likely.

With a quivering hand and eyes clinging to the floor of the taxi, Jack reaches into his pocket and pulls out his driver's license. He inspects it one final time for memory's sake, wondering just how he managed to pull off that confident grin all those years ago.

He was always such a good driver, right up until the very second he climbed into a vehicle with a built-in meter. There's something about that ping sound that clicks his mind into overdrive and fills his muscles with adrenaline.

What can he say? Driving like a maniac is fun. He often wonders why he never tried it before he became a taxi driver, even if it does get him into more trouble than he could possibly ever imagine.

Maybe it's the thrill of carrying the fate of his passengers on his shoulders that gives him such a thrill, or maybe it's the fact that he's managed to outrun the cops nearly every time - especially that fateful day when he met the love of his life - and escape punishment for his crimes.

Crimes...he shivers at the thought of that word. Jack never really thought of what he does day-in and day-out as a crime. He knows it's risky, and he knows it's fun, but criminal? It's a difficult thought to process. And yet here he is, mulling over his history as a taxi cab driver in front of an increasingly impatient-looking officer who may or may not harbor some kind of personal grudge against him.

Jack rakes a hand through his curly mop of hair and steps out of the taxi, quickly stuffing the black box into his jacket pocket in the same motion. Poncho's grin seems to widen slightly - maybe he's happy about his final victory over the insane man - as Jack produces his license from his wallet and hands it over.

"Thanks, son," Poncho says, and judging from his tone of voice, Jack guesses that he doesn't really care all that much. "We'll get the taxi towed for ya, you just head on home, alright?"

Jack nods, feeling numb, and turns in the direction of his house. He crosses his fingers and hopes that Linda will be there to greet him.

A pleasant breeze blows across his face. He sighs heavily as he moves, one foot after the other, not really paying attention to where he's going. He managed to elude this punishment for so long, and even though he knew it was coming, he didn't listen.

After a while, he stops and looks ahead, panic frozen on his face. He doesn't recognize the street.

Still, though, he doesn't let that stop him, not permanently anyway. He tugs off his glasses and shoves them forcefully in his pocket. Confidence swells within him.

Jack takes a second look around, more carefully this time, and off in the distance, he sees a sign and a building he recognizes. With fresh energy and courage, he jogs in that direction, and within seconds he's back on the right track.

He doesn't need the Agents anymore.

A/N: Wow, it's been a long time since I've written a full fic in present tense. If you see any grammatical mistakes I made with it, please please please point them out; I'm so paranoid about that.

Jack is easily my favorite NPC in the game. It's a shame that his level is so easy, or I would play it all the time. I think it's soooo cute how him and Linda apparently get together by the time the Rhombulans invade!

The length of these stories is probably going to vary widely, depending on the idea I come up with. And some of them might just end up being a little dark! I'm honestly kind of surprised with what I came up with here. (And I'm not so confident in that ending; let me know what you think about it.)

Reviews make the world go 'round, and certainly motivate me to update faster, so even if you just leave a sentence or two, click that link! Please? For Jack? ^_^

Oh, and I don't own EBA.