Watson Bridge – Austin L. Wiggins

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Daniel sat in his taxi waiting for the next customer to come. Pop music was playing on the radio and he hummed and danced along to pass the time, but Daniel wasn’t too keen on music. He was rather tone deaf and an uncoordinated dancer, but he did those things anyway because they made him happy.

A young man opened the door. He was in his earlier twenties and at least twenty years younger than Daniel, who’d never taken to being called “Dan”.

“Watson Bridge, please,” the man said. His voice was stifled by an invisible discomfort.

“Watson Bridge? Sure.” Daniel knew better than to question his passengers because they always tipped better when he talked very little. This bit was contrary to all his fellow taxi colleagues.

After a mile the man started whispering to himself, but it was in a way that an onlooker could have mistaken it for a whimper. Then he cried without shame.

“Hey kid, you okay?”

“Okay? I’ll be fine soon,” he said. His tone had immediately sobered.

Watson Bridge was in view. It looked like a small scale Golden Gate Bridge, clear down to the international orange. The bridge towered over a vast river whose waters ran in temperatures close to freezing. Daniel turned away from the bridge.

“Where are you going?”

“I don’t know, but not toward the bridge.”

“I’ll fucking sue you man, take me to the bridge.”

“Then sue.”

“I’ll call the police.”

“I heard prison’s comfortable as long as you don’t step on anybody’s toes.”

The man didn’t act on his threats. They circled the block for hours but they didn’t talk. The young man cried until he couldn’t cry anymore and when he stopped, Daniel asked the man his address to take him home.

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