Available on Amazon Kindle here: https://amzn.to/2CYKxu4
With my attention elsewhere, I walked into a man who was hurrying in the opposite direction. He was a big man with a scar running down the left side of his face from eye socket to mouth, and who was also wearing a black shirt with a red tie.
That was all I remembered as my heart almost stopped.
He apologized as he stepped to one side, the same way I stepped, as I also muttered an apology.
I kept my eyes down. He was not the sort of man I wanted to recognize later in a lineup. I stepped to the other side and so did he. It was one of those situations. Finally getting out of sync, he kept going in his direction, and I towards the bus, which was now pulling away from the curb.
Getting my breath back, I just stood riveted to the spot watching it join the traffic. I looked back over my shoulder, but the man I’d run into had gone. I shrugged and looked at my watch. It would be a few minutes before the next bus arrived.
Wait, or walk? I could also go by subway, but it was a long walk to the station. What the hell, I needed the exercise.
At the first intersection, the ‘Walk’ sign had just flashed to ‘Don’t Walk’. I thought I’d save a few minutes by not waiting for the next green light. As I stepped onto the road, I heard the screeching of tires.
A yellow car stopped inches from me.
It was a high powered sports car, perhaps a Lamborghini. I knew what they looked like because Marcus Bartleby owned one, as did every other junior executive in the city with a rich father.
Everyone stopped to look at me, then the car. It was that sort of car. I could see the driver through the windscreen shaking his fist, and I could see he was yelling too, but I couldn’t hear him. I stepped back onto the sidewalk, and he drove on. The moment had passed and everyone went back to their business.
My heart rate hadn’t come down from the last encounter. Now it was approaching cardiac arrest, so I took a few minutes and several sets of lights to regain composure.
At the next intersection, I waited for the green light, and then a few seconds more, just to be sure. I was no longer in a hurry.
At the next, I heard what sounded like a gunshot. A few people looked around, worried expressions on their faces, but when it happened again, I saw it was an old car backfiring. I also saw another yellow car, much the same as the one before, stopped on the side of the road. I thought nothing of it, other than it was the second yellow car I’d seen.
At the next intersection, I realized I was subconsciously heading towards Harry’s new bar. It was somewhere on 6th Avenue, so I continued walking in what I thought was the right direction.
I don’t know why I looked behind me at the next intersection, but I did. There was another yellow car on the side of the road, not far from me. It, too, looked the same as the original Lamborghini, and I was starting to think it was not a coincidence.
Moments after crossing the road, I heard the roar of a sports car engine and saw the yellow car accelerate past me. As it passed by, I saw there were two people in it, and the blurry image of the passenger; a large man with a red tie.
Now my imagination was playing tricks.
It could not be the same man. He was going in a different direction.
In the few minutes I’d been standing on the pavement, it had started to snow; early for this time of year, and marking the start of what could be a long cold winter. I shuddered, and it was not necessarily because of the temperature.
I looked up and saw a neon light advertising a bar, coincidentally the one Harry had ‘found’ and, looking once in the direction of the departing yellow car, I decided to go in. I would have a few drinks and then leave by the back door if it had one.
Just in case.
© Charles Heath 2015-2020