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It was past midnight. The sky was ink-black, but the shops’ dazzling light made everything visible. It was not raining but one could feel the heavy storm clouds overhead. Although people were walking around, the night was calm and suffocating, especially inside Smith’s car. Leaned on his window sill, He was thinking about something.
Then, his thoughts were interrupted by two middle-aged men. They opened the door with such loudness that Smith banged his head in the window. They were wearing heavy leather jackets and holding a liquor bottle in their one hand.
“Go to 352 streets.” One of the men yelled. Smith got the impression that the stranger was ordering him as if he was his personal chauffeur. And by their voice, the two strangers were clearly drunk. They could hardly stay awake.
“Yes, sir….” He started the taximeter and started to drive. After about thirty minutes, Smith looked up and checked the driver’s mirror. Both men were yawning. They seemed bored, so Smith tried to start a conversation. “You know, something happened to me yesterday. Not in a good…”
“Can you just on focus on driving, please? We are tired. It is midnight.” Smith nodded his head and drove in silence.
Almost right after the two men managed to stagger outside the car, a young man got in. Smith was delighted that he did not have to spend time alone in his car. Wearing a long coat and black glasses, the young man was holding a leather covered note book. As soon as he got in, he started to write something down as he was talking on the phone.
“By tomorrow? That is ridiculous. It cannot be… Okay… I will try my best. I will see you tomorrow at your office. Eight o’clock.” He hung up the phone and focused on his notebook until Smith glanced at him and asked for his destination.
“Oh, I almost forgot. Please go to 372 streets.”
Delighted by his polite manner of speech, Smith remarked about his phone call, “You seem busy. Have something important going on, huh?” There was no answer, but Smith kept going on. “You know, yesterday, I was also very busy… But…”
“If you do realize that I am busy, would do me a favor?” For the first time, the young man looked up from his notebook.
”Sure. How may I help you?”
“I need to work on my article. It would be very nice if you don’t…. talk. I am really sorry…” Smith could tell that the young man's apology at the end was sincere. He nodded his head twice and kept driving.
The last customer that day was an old man. He had a huge smile on his face and asked Smith for a ride to his home. Smith smiled back and tried to start a conversation.
“Sir, probably everyone has a day, hard to focus on work, and that day is today for me.”
“I bet you are right. Why isn't today working for you?”
“Well, because yesterday…” Then Smith almost bumped his car into a telephone poll. Luckily, Smith turned the steering wheel before it was too late.
“Are you an NUTS? Keep your mouth shut, eyes open, and your hands on the stirring wheel!!!” Embarrassed, Smith sighed. His hand was wet with sweat.
Smith was sure done for the day. It was already two o’ clock. He parked his car in front of his yard when his dog sprinted toward him. He opened the door, so it was able to come in. He looked up the black-ink sky and started to talk.
”You miss her, don’t you?”
The dog barked and he took that as a yes.
“Why did I work today? Why didn’t I take a rest? No…Not because I am okay, not because I don’t feel anything….I just wanted to talk to somebody about it… so I can… I don’t know…”
The dog looked like he was nodding his head. “Yeah, you know what I mean…What I didn’t know was that everyone is too busy with their stuff to talk to me…but I can talk to you…I can say something like my wife died yesterday and you say something like I am sorry for your loss..” Smith gave the dog a wan smile and petted it. Then, he finally went inside to get some sleep.