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Bridge To Nowhere
About the Author: Bill’s stories, plays, and comedy sketches have been published, produced, and/or broadcast in Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Czechia, England, Germany, Guernsey, Holland, India, Ireland, Nigeria, Singapore, South Africa, the U.S., and Wales. His stories have appeared in Fiery Scribe Review, Ariel Chart, New Contrast, Mystery Tribune, Guilty, Shotgun Honey, Rock And A Hard Place, Horror Sleaze Trash, the Crimeucopia "Crank It Up!" anthology, Granfalloon, Defenestration.

Greenizan stood on the bridge, peering down into the river. It was raining heavily, and he took his glasses off to wipe them on his shirt, but it was useless because he was already drenched. He put his glasses back on and looked down again.

He heard a car motor being gunned and glanced to his left. There was Murphy’s car disappearing at the other end of the bridge into the veil of rain. What the hell is he doing, he thought.

He turned to his right. Out of the dark drizzle came a cop in full rain gear, looking like a sodden ghost making its usual haunt. Fantastic, thought Greenizan.

The cop stopped beside him. “What are you doing?”

There was no way Greenizan could tell him what he was actually doing there, but no reasonable alternative came to mind. After a while, he said, “Nuthin’.”

“It’s not worth it, buddy,” said the cop. “There’s a lot to live for.”

Man, was he wrong about that, thought Greenizan, but he also had the wrong idea about what Greenizan was even doing there. “Oh, I’m not gonna off myself, if that’s what you’re thinking.”

“So what are you doing here?”

He’s already asked that, thought Greenizan. Is this some cop concept of repeating himself, hoping for a different answer? In a different context, that’s the definition of insanity. “I’m not doing anything, officer. Just enjoying the night.”

The cop shook his head like a dog getting out of a swimming pool, and the rain splintered all over Greenizan’s glasses.

Greenizan didn’t move despite wanting to pop the cop in the head, and just looked at the cop.

“Well, move on,” said the cop.

“Am I doing anything illegal?” Shit, he thought, I shouldn’t have used that word.

The cop didn’t say anything. Just for the sake of doing something, Greenizan took his glasses off again, and attempted to wipe the rain off his lenses with his t-shirt that hung out below his soaking wet Ti-Cats windbreaker. The pause stretched for a thousand years. He glanced at the cop, who just looked at him, rain dripping off the bill of his cap. His stance indicated he had no plans to go anywhere …

Three hours earlier, Greenizan had been holding up a lamp post in the blazing sun at the corner of Montgomery and First outside the abandoned pharmacy. He couldn’t go home because his landlady would be waiting for him yet again to ask for his rent money. He was a few months behind, and it reminded him of “One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer,” anyone’s version, but especially Hooker’s, Thorogood’s, or his own when he could afford a guitar and still had a voice that could growl and not degenerate into coughing due to his stupid smoking habit.

He didn’t have enough money to even get a beer or a shot at the Duchess of Durham across the street, the cheapest place in the neighborhood. He took his jacket and t-shirt off, worked on his tan, and finished off his remaining smokes.

While he was trying to remember if it was possible to get back into his apartment through the kitchen window, he saw Murphy come out of the Duchess (a joke he and Murphy still thought funny).

Murphy looked agitated. He stood in front of the Duchess and seemed as confused as a kitten in a room full of squeaky toys. He almost went one way, then another, then spotted Greenizan across the street. He waved and quickly looked both ways on the street. What he saw clearly didn’t register as he ran across the street between honking cars to reach Greenizan.

“I’m in trouble,” said Murphy.

“What’s the matter?”

“Do you want to make a thousand bucks?”

“Do pigs whistle?” said Greenizan.

“What? Never mind. I know you do. Come with me.”

Murphy ran back across the street, initiating the honking again. Greenizan was more careful and followed him. He didn’t like the sound of this, but a grand was a grand. At this point, for a grand, he’d go to a nightclub that played dance music.

Murphy had disappeared down Montgomery, and Greenizan strolled. At the alley that ran behind the Duchess, there was Murphy. “Get over here!”

Greenizan looked around him. There was no one. He moved as quickly as he had done in years. He coughed.

Murphy’s car was there, and the trunk was open. Behind the car was a kind of large duffel bag.

“Give me a hand,” said Murphy.

“What the fuck,” said Greenizan.

This story appears in our JUL 2024 Issue
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