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The story is written in past tense. The conditionals are possible and refer to a time in the future.

Joe was now stuck in this situation. He had two choices.

He can do this then he will...

or

He could do this then he would...

Another one I am having trouble is

Joe had now reached the river,

if he crosses the bridge then...

or

If he crossed the bridge then...

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Both are acceptable IMO. The context established is a story with the events simultaneously being experienced by Joe and recounted by the narrator.

If the writer wants the reader to more intimately enter the state of Joe's mind, then she should choose the present tense over past tense references.

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