Prompt: “The bridge is icy.”

Sarah ran through the crowds downtown, shoving and apologizing the entire seven blocks. Reaching the bridge, she turned right and heaved a great sigh at seeing the bridge empty. Run-walking let her catch her breath as she tried to figure out why Johnny would be late. He’s never late, punctuality only one of his expectations to which he held her to his own strict standards. Maybe he finally stepped in front of a bus. She laughed in her head, hearing that silent voice actually saying “ha, ha, ha.”

From behind the second pillar of the bridge, Johnny stepped in front of her, admonishing her, “You’re eight minutes late. Early is best, Sarah. Late is never okay.” He grabbed her upper arm and walked swiftly across the bridge, pulling her back into a run-trot.

“Let me go, Johnny!”

“The bridge is icy, Sarah. I don’t want you to fall.” He gripped her arm tighter. “You were late. We must walk faster. I have only so much time for lunch and you’ve already wasted eight minutes of it.”

“Rawr!” She screamed to the winter white sky and karate chopped his hand.

He let go. “Christ, Sarah, what is wrong with you today?”

She pushed him. He shoved her back and turned away, walking on, stating his case, “If you act like that, I don’t even want to have lunch with you. You’ve wasted far more of my time than the eight minutes you were late. Go on back to work, Sarah. You don’t deserve lunch with me.”

“Rawr!” Sarah shouted out to the world and gave Johnny a bigger shove than before.

He slid sideways, hit a cable in front of the railing, fell over on his side, and slipped under the bottom bar, clunking his head a couple times, scrabbling at the end with glove-less fingers before flailing toward the East River.

Sarah screamed after him, “The bridge is icy, Johnny!”

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