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The man in the Honda Civic drummed his fingers on the steering wheel and listened to the man on the radio with growing concern. The car had been brown once but, like its driver, had gone prematurely grey. The rare patches of original color only served as a reminder of better days.
“Police have stopped all traffic over the Freeman Bridge,” his radio companion said. “We have received several eye witness reports of a jumper on the west side of the bridge but we’ve had no official confirmation at this time.”
The man glared at the tail lights inches from his front bumper, snarled at the driver reading a newspaper to his left and groaned at his fake Rolex wristwatch. He was going to be late again.
“If the prick wanted to jump, he would have already,” the man said to himself. “So just run up, grab him and haul his depressed ass to jail!”
Sadly, his advice went unheeded and he remained stuck a quarter of the way over the bridge. If he had been in a better mood he would have admired the lovely view while he waited for the situation to be cleared up. But he was not, so he did not.
“Morning rush hour is at a complete standstill right now folks,” the disembodied voice of the DJ continued. “If you haven’t left home yet, get back in bed! There’s no telling how long this will take to clear up.”
“Fantastic advice you moron,” the man said through gritted teeth. “What about us suckers stuck out here waiting for this jerk to end his life so we can carry on with ours? How about some words of wisdom for us you useless twit?!”
The man stared at his watch again. Only thirty minutes before he was due at his desk and it was a twenty minute drive from here on the best of days. Today was not looking like the best of days. He could not be late, he had used up all of his second, third and fourth chances.
“We have been very patient and, I think, generous,” his boss had told him in that God awful monotone. “We understand the toll that your divorce proceedings have taken on you but we simply cannot continue to allow your regular absences and tardiness.”
The man didn’t think his boss understood the ‘toll’ at all: the sleepless nights, the devastating effects on his self-esteem, the hollow feeling in his chest whenever he remembered the happy moments he had shared with Christine. The rage that overwhelmed him whenever he thought of her with Ryan.
“Coming up next we’ve got Cake with Long line of cars to -” the DJ was cut off by the man slamming his fist into the on/off button on the stereo. His knuckles ached but he was too proud to let it show, even to an empty car.
Needing to do something, anything, the man turned off the car’s rattling engine, opened the driver side door and stepped out into the crisp fall air.