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A Seattleite on New York's Williamsburg Bridge
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A Seattleite on New York's Williamsburg Bridge

by Don Paulson- SGN Contributing Writer

In 1966, New York City had a massive transportation strike that left millions walking to work for two weeks. I had moved to New York to pursue a pop art career that did not happen because I was too late on the scene, so I decided to return to my roots in Seattle, Washington. I gave it my best effort so I was not depressed, I had a great time around the art circles and Andy Warhol's Factory, so I had no complaints except the three miles I had to walk to work during the strike in freezing weather, over the Williamsburg Bridge. Thousands did the same night and day, so it was safe from crazies (no one walked the bridges of New York at night except Gays on the prowl, robbers, and those who want to hurt others).

The cold spell and the strike ended and I was in such a good mood that I decided to walk the bridge and leave for Seattle the next day. It was a big mistake; there was no one on the bridge and all the walkway lights had been busted out years before. Suddenly, a 20-something man appeared out of nowhere and put his arm around my shoulder. "How you doing tonight?" he asked. I thought he was a hustler but an alarm went off in my head. "You want to blow me?"

I told him I was not looking for a date, but he said, "That's what you think." In a breath, his manner changed from friendly to threatening. "You're going to suck my dick, motherfucker!" he said, and pulled out a knife. I was in deep trouble. I tried to reason with him but it only made him angry, especially when I foolishly tried to take the knife away from him. That resulted in a deep cut in my left hand. "You son of a bitch, suck my dick or maybe I'll just kill you," he said as he pressed the knife to my throat.

I was in a state of panic. What could I do to escape this crazy man? I could bite his dick off, but then I would surely get killed. I could grab his legs, lift him up and over the side of the bridge and to his death 200 feet below in the East River. I was not like a fatally injured soldier calling out for his mother, but I did think about the grief of my mother at my death. I was desperate and saw no way out, but then a strange thing happened that I can only describe as catching the breath of God. I said in an alarming way, "Someone's coming!" At that moment, he withdrew the knife and I fled. He chased after me for a long time, but I was faster.

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