Eric's Last Passenger
Eric is early for the final fare of his shift. Leaning against the cab he smokes a cigarette. There is frost in the early morning air and having finished his smoke Eric tucks his hands under his armpits to keep them warm. He has been a taxi driver for a little over nine months now, ever since he lost his job at the factory. This work is much better, much more interesting. Eric loves the brief, but intimate, even confessional, connections with the strangers he meets.
Carefully the woman places the pet carrier on the ground. Holding her handbag in the crook of her elbow she locks the front door. Her coat is too thin for the weather and she is not wearing gloves or a scarf. But Eric feels sure that it’s not the cold that is causing her hands and shoulders to shake.
Throughout the short journey the woman talks quietly, soothingly, to the cat. This trip to the vet’s is likely his last.
Smoking another Eric waits outside the animal hospital.
On the return trip the woman cries a little. She asks Eric to stop at the bridge and he is frightened about what she might do.
With nowhere else he needs to be Eric parks the car and walks alongside the woman. Together they eat oranges and look out across the water.