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The light turned red again and he still hadn’t moved, so I put on my flashers and stepped out of the car. The weight in my gut grew heavier as I approached. His hair was tousled, greasy; his suit was disheveled; his hands haphazardly crossed in his lap, wedding ring glistening. He didn’t seem to be breathing. I knocked hard on his window and nothing happened. Knocked again, the same. I opened his door and listened for anything like wheezing or strained breathing. With the car running and the breeze blowing, I couldn’t make anything out. Finally I put my hand on his shoulder and nudged him. When he didn’t move, I thought he really might be dead, and then I thought, what if he died while I was waiting to think if he was dead or not? Would I feel guilty if I knew? I nudged him again, and this time his head jerked up like he had just been pulled out of a hollow dream. “Are you alright?” I asked him. He looked at me through insomniac eyes, scowling. It took him a second to piece everything together, and then he nodded. “You need me to call anyone?” His scowl turned into something like embarrassment. “No,” he said. “Everything is fine.” I stepped back to let him close his door. The light was green by then, so he put his car in gear and took a fast left across the intersection and soon disappeared into the tangled subdivision. The weight in my gut spread. I would have to be up early again the next day for the The Program. I looked down all the empty roads and at all of the darkened houses and all I could think was how much I wanted the man to be right.

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Structo issue eight