Danny, The first time I saw him, he was waving for a ride under the trade centre. I didn’t know that what it would lead me to. It was just two weeks after Makenna left me. He was wearing a solid beige shirt with a tux on. It was something that I would’ve loved to wear if I had that much money. He looked suave. He was a few steps away from me, so I took my cab to him. Few taxis were parked just beside him but he chose mine. It felt great. Didn’t know whether it was the admiration of his appearance or me being high on coke. “How much for Brooklyn bridge, bud.”, He asked through the window, looking at the broken metre of my taxi. “How much will u give?” I said. “Five?” “Umm ok”, he nodded positively. He was generous. Brooklyn Bridge was just a few minutes away from the centre. I could have given him a ride for free, but I also had some ends to meet. The time wasn’t easy on me. Since then the day Makenna broke ways with me, nothing was same. Or normal. I became God’s, lonely man. In this City where nobody slept and everything ran fast, I needed Something to slow things down. So I caught up with this guy Luis or Leon, whatever the fuck was his name. He lived next door to me. Junkies, spooks, whores, niggers everyone used to come there for the doses. I saw them every time. Whether it was broad daylight or 3 in the fuckin morning, the sound kept coming from there. Makenna always asked me about these weirdos she saw when we were living together. I used to tell her that these people had no lives or no soul, we shouldn’t care about them. I never thought that I would also end up being one of them. Damn. little did I knew. Danny Opened the door and sat on the back seat. He laid his black Suitcase next to him. I started the engine. “So you a local?” His voice echoed in my ear from the back. “Yes, mister, Harlem. Born and raised”. I answered to his reflection in the rearview mirror. He nodded. All I saw in the mirror was my face. Bland and wrinkled, from all the shit I had been taking. I realized that I haven’t seen my face in a long time. I had stopped caring about almost anything since Makenna left me. Although it wasn’t all her fault. I had lost all the hope that something good will ever happen to me, again. Unless God himself sends its angel. “Never lose hope bud,” Danny said. And I was like- -“Uh huh?” I meant it. How the fuck could someone read my mind. I was Shocked. “I can see it in your eyes. They call out loud for redemption.” He smiled. I really didn’t know what was happening, this white crap which I snorted that morning was really fucking with my brain. I really needed to get off this shit. But how could I?
“Are you some kinda Psychic?” I had a confused smirk. “No. just a stockbroker.” He Showed his Suitcase and smiled graciously. His presence in the cab was angelic. The ride with him was a short affair, But It was a big deal for me.I dropped him just beside Brooklyn bridge. The view from cab was refreshing. “Thanks, Bud.” He gave me ten Dollars instead of Five. “Well great.” I drove my car while looking at him, walk away. I didn’t thank him technically, but I was very much grateful to him. I was out of words. It was after a long time that I had Felt cheerful. I wished that I could’ve got more time to spend with him. But, you should be very careful of what you wish for, you don’t know what might come true. And how Bad it could fuck you up. Later that Night, it was Dark and the sky was pale. Silence filled the street, the sound of slow breeze was the only thing that I could hear. That one snort of White powder was surely doing its job. I passed through Lincoln theatre. It was the place where I met Makenna for the first time. I still remember she was wearing a red top and white skirt, Waiting for something. a chance, maybe. It was after a lot of courage that was building in me from a week since I first saw Her. I wore my lucky leather jacket and the best pair of blue jeans I had.S he stood quiet, her eyes were gleaming. I approached her with a smile. “Did your License gets suspended for driving all these guys crazy?”, I was nervous. So I used the cheesiest line you would ever find in a magazine. She was surprised. “what?” , She looked around her. Then laughed. She was also nervous. Watching her Laugh that way, I knew she was the one. I still hope that was true. Melancholy of the time spent with Makenna was taking over me. I was a different person Back then. Happy. Everything had changed but still, everything was constant. I needed something in life right now. I needed money to pay off my debts. I needed redemption. I needed Makenna. And as Danny said that day to me, I needed Hope. Being a taxi driver in new york wasn’t an easy job, especially during the late night. Driving through the Bronx was riskier than Jumping from a plane without a parachute, a lot of crimes took place with cab drivers. But for me, I didn’t give a single damn who sat in my cab. I Had nothing to lose. And with one line of cocaine inside me, I was ready to do anything. As I was driving through these narrow streets of Bronx, I felt as if I was flying. The speed was infinity and I didn’t care even if I hit something. Nobody could’ve stopped me. Nobody but me. But then, all of a sudden I saw a silhouette over my headlights. I pressed my brakes with all strength. I thought I hit that thing. But no. The person whom I nearly killed at 3 o’clock in the morning was none other than Danny. Standing in front of my car all suited as he was in the evening when I dropped him over the bridge. He looked fresh. He came toward the door.
Looking him close up front I could see my eyes. they were trippy. “I never thought that I would meet you again,” he said. “So did I”. I was startled. He smiled and sat in the back seat. “By the way, my name’s Danny.”He took out cash from his suitcase and started counting it. “Ok. I’m Joe.” Everything felt surreal. I also had a friend name, Danny. But he was Imaginary and I was eight years old then. “I feel I have lost my way. Can you give me a ride to the bridge again.” He was stacking 100 dollar notes in suitcase one by one. With my old leather shoes on the gas peddle and mind still in confusion, I hinged the keys and started the taxi. Looking back at the moment, If I hadn’t started the taxi, If had taken right choice there, I would have not been in where I was now. While driving I thought something was fishy with this fella. Although he looked like someone you could put all your trust in, the way he was staring at me as I was steering through the streets, I felt I should ask him this. “So Danny. What’s the deal huh?” He was intimidated but didn’t show any sign. “I know what’s on your mind, joe.” He really knew. “You have to do something for me. for money. for you.” I didn’t have single Idea what he meant by that. While talking we finally reached Brooklyn bridge. Again. He got out of the car and said to me. “In your secret box, under the stairs where u put all your money, there would be a pistol. Meet me here at 11 pm tomorrow and bring it with you, Because u have to kill someone.” he threw a bundle of notes on my seat.”Take it as a tip.” Then he just walked away. He didn’t want my approval, neither did I have rejected his deal. I really needed money. more than that I needed a reason to live. Or Die. All of this felt like dream to me. It can’t be true. Was I hallucinating? Or was it real? It must’ve been real because that money he gave me, about 1000 dollars, were real. Thinking of that, It all happened because of Makenna. Still can’t forget That day. The Day she left me. Everything went downhill from there. My life, My expectations, everything. Looking back from the very start, my life was never so happy until I met her. I didn’t complete the high school, had no family, Didn’t have someone to rely upon. But when I met her every day was a bliss. She came from England to work in Broadway Theatre. She tried her best, Auditioning every place she could find. Her determination was true, but luck wasn’t with her. She thought she was just another nobody like a drop of Water in rain. Not for me. To me, she was Rain after drought. Every single second spent with Makenna was the best time of my life. We made out in central park, time square, subways. Everywhere it was possible. We walked hand in hand under Brooklyn bridge, every wished felt to be fulfilled. Just like in Fairytales. I wish I Could Turn back the clock and bring the wheels of time to stop. There. Right there.
But life isn’t a fairytale they say. They are Goddamn right. Three months later, when I came to my room, I noticed something was missing. It was Makenna. There was just a piece of paper on the bed. I took courage to read it. “I am sorry Joey. I’ve gotta leave. This City isn’t for me. I’ll never forget you.” “So won’t I.” Everything felt unreal. It was an earthquake inside my brains. After that day I tried really hard. But forgetting her was impossible. she was the best thing to happen to me. Nothing could’ve been better than her. In the past or future. It was time I started taking Cocaine. One snort of it chilled my spine. Even in dreams, All I saw was Makenna, It was a great experience in beginning days. After sometime It became an addiction and I started getting nightmares. Makenna wasn’t anywhere there. All I saw was Luis and other people whom I owed money. I kept my money under secret drawer under stairs, only Makenna knew of it, But each penny of my saving was gone, I didn’t know where. I didn’t know what to do, all I had was my taxi. And people came to reach their destination. Some wanted to go to Central Park, some World trade centre, some Brooklyn bridge. Everyone was the same. Boring. Until that night when Danny gave me the tip. It was quite surprising. The favour he asked me to do in the midst of a lonely night. I admired him at first sight, but now I was Skeptic. How did he know about the secret box? Was he some kind of spy or That cousin of Makenna who she told me lived in Arizona with his family. But that couldn’t be true. Or could it be? Everything aside, He gave me money. Which I needed badly. And he gave me a job to do, A job I didn’t knew whose life it would take. Next Day, in the night I was driving through time square, giving a ride to a black gentleman towards mary’s Cafe, a place just steps away from Brooklyn bridge. The view from the window was Breathtaking, everyone looked delighted and Colors were everywhere. It was totally opposite of my current circumstances. For a second At that moment, I totally forgot that I had to kill someone today. It wasn’t something delightful, I felt like puking. I felt suicidal. My mind was on a trip from cocaine. A bad one. But then my watch showed 10:55 pm. It was just about time to meet Danny. I didn’t know whether I could press the trigger of that 9mm in my boots. As I was thinking of what to do of this Danny situation, I felt something cold near my ears. “Give me everything you have. Or yo brains will spread all over the fuckin taxi.”, The black gentleman was nothing but a thug and now his gun was on my head. I was a bit shocked so I stopped the cab. “You don’t have a choice chump.I’ve got a gun” he smirked, neither did I. Little did he knew that even I had one. Infraction of a second, I took the gun out of my boots and shot him. Bang! bang! two shots and his blood was all over my face. I got out of cab and ran. My mind was vibrating. While I was running with gun in my hand, I saw him. Danny. He was standing In front of me.
Smiling. “You came,” he said. “What the hell do you want, you piece of shit”, I was out of my senses. I didn’t care about what I said. “Shoot me”. I was stunned. “What?” “You heard me. Kill me & End this. This is the judgement day.” He really meant it. Or that’s what I thought. I came towards him, just feet away, with my gun on his chest, I pulled the trigger. I felt a blow on my body.That moment was painful. But I felt a relief, inside my mind. Everything was lurid. I fell on the ground. My eyes closed, everything faded to black. Next time I opened my Eyes, I was in a bright place, it smelled like that of lavender handwash. I was on a very soft mattress, very different from my bed. It was a Hospital bed, all white. It was a Goddamn hospital. I didn’t know How I ended up here. How was Danny? Where was he? Then an old Guy who was probably a doctor came towards me. He looked concerned. “You are very lucky, young man. the bullet was just inches away from the heart. Why do You guys take these things.”He leaned towards me. “Join a support group. Talk to more people. Suicide Isn’t an option.” “Where’s Danny? Is he Ok.” I asked him, with a very low tone. “Who’s Danny. You were the only one injured on the scene. Take rest Boy.” He moved away and went out of the room. What did he mean by all that? Where the fuck was Danny. Was he alive or dead? Was he even real? Was I dreaming? What was it?