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In the Aussie vernacular1, doing a runner is fleeing somewhere without paying. The most common victim of this despicable action is the humble taxi driver, who being attatched to his vehicle is unlikely to follow you through parks and over back fences. Other popular places in which to engage in this kind of performance art include cafes, bars, restaurants and brothels.

Doing a runner on a taxi is a whole lot of fun, but inexcusable unless every member of the party is pissed as a newt - after all, these guys don't earn very much. Bolting from a shitty resto or wanky coffeshop might not be as exhilirating but in reality can be more of a challenge, and at times is perfectly justified.

I myself have participated a few notable runners. My first was quite the amateur job and notable for the bruises and scratches I incurred whilst leaping over the neighbour's fences in what became a drunken stupor and later the world's worst hangover as soon as I hit home.

Doing a runner does not always involve running. One of the more interesting methods is to finish your tepid meal or american-style coffee (of course, one does not do this to quality establishments) and quietly amble towards the door. If you aren't spotted the adrenalin will rush as you naturally walk down the street, any moment expecting a "hey you!". My brothers and I were chilling in a bar in Bucharest last year, and the service was abominable. As well as this, the place had a Wild West theme and was charging three times the national average weekly wage for a bloody beer. We decide to flee, but too sloshed to run we stroll nonchalantly to the door. We make it, but just as we are about to step out one of us, idiot grin on face, spills a tray of drinks. We had to hide under a bridge.

My most recent is an example of a skill being honed to perfection. On my last night in SA my mates and I naturally held a pub crawl and faced a 10k walk home. Overjoyed at spotting a taxi we realised we were penniless on the way and were forced to do some quick thinking. Somehow managing to make ourselves understood through the foggy haze of twelve longnecks of Coopers, we told the driver to pull up in the driving lot of the local pub ("the pub? it's 4am! it's closed!" "er.... private function"?). This is notoriously difficult to reverse out of due to being so narrow, so we fulng the doors wide open and bolted across the road. The irate geezer had to first close his doors then inch his way backwards, by which time we were well home.

Remember not to be a jackass when ripping someone off. Doing a runner on the coffeeshop three doors is an advertisment of your stupidity, and whilst they may take pity on you and not phone the police, you will be at least refused credit for evermore. Similarly, should one be in a country town gibbing the only taxi driver for miles will only result in long walks home from the pub. Doing a runner is naturally easier in crowded places but this eliminates much of the thrill; of course this depends on your motives. Doing a runner by yourself is really not recoomended unless you suddenly find yourself short of money. Don't do it on acid either.2

1. And in the UK (ascorbic)
2. I thought I could hide in the seat cushions. When I realised that didn't work I tried to scare the taxi driver away - "BOO!". He was angry, and I woke up in a ditch (not even a gutter - a bloody ditch). I had to get a taxi home...

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