LOADED SOUTH: A TAXI MEMOIR
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 a series of run-ins with law enforcement —and more lawbreakers—along with a wide but fleeting cast of characters from Austin, Texas, circa 1977-1983, as encountered from behind the wheel of a Roy’s Taxi.
Loaded South follows the inner and outer roads of a storyteller and self-described social critic, turned loose on the streets of a city where cab drivers roamed free and relatively unregulated in search of a “knockout punch” and where Roy Velasquez, Sr.—Big Roy—started Roy’s Taxi with a Model A Ford and a five dollar loan in 1931.
Along the way, the author evades arrest and lives to tell about it, is pronounced dead at his 10-year high school reunion and stars, briefly, in a German television documentary as Himself. He charges the cops, criminals, derelicts, drunks, druggies, legislators, titans of commerce and industry, massage parlor girls, officer workers, scammers and strippers a dollar a drop, a dollar a mile – plus tips.
In the end, against all odds, Loaded South evolves into a love story and our hero lands a “real” job and leaves the cab business and his Magic Meter behind.
Now, after waiting for the statute of limitations to run out, he tells the story.
"If only I had known Clay Coppedge back in the day, when we both put in our time at Roy's Taxi— his dry comic storytelling and detailed memories of the "humid, sensual funkytown" that was Austin in the 1970s are a rare combination. I gobbled this book faster than a perfect nacho, the flat round kind from the Amardillo beer garden you hardly see anymore."
-Marion Winik; Author of First Comes Love and The Glen Rock Book of the Dead