I don’t know why I said yes. I guess my life just needed a little excitement. I knew I couldn’t take it back when the handcuffed man jumped in my car and responded with an impatient “Just drive.” I doubt that my words mattered much anyway, but the point in my mind is that I consented to join him in his crime.
I applied for this job as a taxi driver to overcome my social anxiety disorder, because, unlike most people, I like jobs that challenge me rather than cradle me. As it turns out, most people don’t enjoy talking to taxi drivers so it didn’t really challenge me that much, although it challenged me enough to make me feel like I was improving myself. I really want to get better. Most of the people just make small talk to be polite but that’s a good thing – I hate small talk and it probably makes me more anxious than talking about real things.
As I said before, most people don’t want to talk to their taxi drivers but this guy did. He didn’t really talk so much as he yelled orders: “Turn left! Turn right!” and “Shit shit shit!”
It was exhilarating; seeing all these twinkly blue lights behind me and accelerating instead of stopping. The sweat that dripped from my forehead wasn’t from the chase, though, but rather the conversation I wanted to make.
It was then that I realized there was a conversation to be had here – I could convince him to stop what he was doing. I could be a hero. I didn’t want to join his problem anymore, I wanted to fix it.
But I couldn’t think of the words to say to him and through all the sirens and yelling I doubt I could speak loud enough to even try. I considered just ramming us into a wall and killing us, ending both our problems but that wouldn’t do for my subconscious mind. No, I had to make this right.
I swerved and followed his directions but silently. What should I say to him? “You can still make it out of this with honor?” That sounded like it was from a movie. “You should think about your family?” No, that probably wouldn’t do anything. “Look you’ve had your fun, now let’s just pull over?” He wouldn’t do that.
My throat closed and tears started forming. What could I say? I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t even whisper. Through my tears I couldn’t see the road anymore, just the ever closer lake and debris from the bridge we just ran over.
I failed. Or at least I thought I had, but when I almost subconsciously clicked on the emergency lights something amazing happened. Wings rocketed out of the sides of my car and tilted us up towards the sky. The rain had disappeared and the sun had suddenly appeared, very brightly, almost unnaturally bright.
“Hey, I’m Brian.” The man said it.
“Oh”, I started. “I’m Ryan too!” Just when I realized I had misheard him he said, “No, I’m Brian.” As I waited for the dreaded awkward silence to approach he started laughing. And I started laughing. My anxiety was never seen again.