Tom Blesset put his taxi into gear and pulled off, his fare in the back seat losing her balance and dropping her phone, not having fastened her seat belt before he pulled away. He glanced in the mirror at her squeal, mumbling an apology as he slowed for the traffic lights on Paget Road. Her mobile slid under his seat and bumped into his heel. He reached blindly for it as the lights changed to red and amber.
“Thanks,” she said, beginning a text; her thumbs a blur as the keypad emitted a bleeping at just the right pitch to get on Tom’s nerves.
He put his foot down, roaring through the crossroads and heading for higher ground. Past the park and onto the Oxford road, the Cheviots rising ahead and to the right. He dropped into a lower gear for the climb.
“It won’t go,” said his passenger, glowering at the ‘sending failed’ warning.
“Another minute,” said Tom. “We’ll be there soon.” He increased speed and trees flashed past as the meter clocked up the fee. Slightly more than a minute later, he pulled into the car park by the Eastern Stone, a place of historic local significance and natural viewpoint, according to the tourist guide.
His passenger unbuckled herself and got out. “It worked,” she said. “How did you know?”
“Network T?” he said. “I saw the logo on your phone as you got in. This is the only spot for miles you can get their signal.”
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