Rage by Shane Fitzpatrick

I possessed an evil trait. One that I didn’t know I had. I delivered retribution in such a malicious way. And even though I understood what I did was wrong and stupid – I enjoyed the emotion for far more than a millisecond.

One chilly December morning I was driving to the mall and saw red. A few seconds earlier, there was no one in my rear view mirror. Then I saw a big Ford F-150 pickup truck looming large behind me.

He was so close to my rear bumper that he might as well have been sitting in my back seat. I could see the whites of his eyes and his smug, toothy grin. His dirty, scraggly blonde hair poked through the sides of his baseball hat – contrasting sharply against his bright blue football shirt.

His thick neck muscles bulged with impatience as he weaved in and out, trying to get by me. The winding country roads didn’t make for the easiest passing maneuvers. He tried to undertake me twice on the short trimmed grass of neighbours’ homes. But the slippery winter wet verges on the inside prevented him doing so.

His loud rock music filled the cool misty air. I was getting sick and nervous watching his truck weave in and out. I tried slowing down to give him ample opportunity to pass – but he seemed to revel in mocking and frightening me.

Then came a small gap in the traffic flow. He didn’t hesitate. He passed over a double white line with minimal clearance gliding by my car. There were only inches between our side mirrors. That’s where I made a mistake.

I jumped on my horn shouting “Asshole!” as he passed. He definitely heard me.

The car in the opposite direction flashed his hi-beams as he barely scraped by. He stuck two fingers out his window in salute to us both.

Two minutes later, I turned into the mall parking lot, my hands shaking. I kept reciting his registration plate out loud. I tried to remove my keys from the ignition, missing them once and the second time knocking them completely to the floor.

As I rose, I saw his car appear abruptly in front of me. From less than twenty feet away, he pointed at me with his fingers in the shape of a gun. And then mock fired. Revving his engine loudly, he sped away with white smoke billowing from his oversized tyres.

He had definitely caught my car make, model and registration plate. I shivered from the inside out. Cold sweat trickled down the middle of my back. Once I stepped inside the mall I rang the local Police station. I recalled the details ten minutes later to a young female Police officer. She said that they would follow it up straight away.

Returning to the car, I pulled a flyer off my windscreen. I threw it on the passenger seat. The drive home went by in a blur. Bare trees, slick roads and red brick houses passed me by.  As I pulled into my drive I picked up the flyer and brought it indoors. As I opened it up expecting to see a business promotion leaflet, I collapsed to my knees.

“WATCH YOURSELF YOU COCKY BITCH! NEXT TIME I’LL PUT YOU IN HOSPITAL!”

I didn’t sleep for two nights. My mind raced and my skin itched. I second-guessed myself doing mundane, everyday things. I bumped into stationary objects and had odd aches in my muscles. I lived alone in a new town and the lack of a home alarm heightened my newfound insecurity. I became a curtain twitcher. Every alien noise made me watch my back, checking my shadow.

A week passed and I had heard nothing from the Police. I dropped into the station to see if the Police officer had anything new on my case – she didn’t even remember me. The fact that she didn’t seem bothered re-lit a dampened fire that had been quiet since high school. I had fought back once against a bully on my own – and won. Despite the incompetence of others, I had persevered.

It was simple. Considering his powerful vehicle, most likely he hadn’t bought it new. So I looked up his make and model on used car websites. Playing the “I want to buy a big noisy pickup truck” line – I got the address of the current owner without breaking sweat. A sultry female voice can work wonders with horny men.

With vengeance in my veins, I parked my car out of sight and surveyed the suburban address. Within one hour, I spotted the same red Ford F-150 truck pull into its drive. Out popped the same jerk that near shunted me with the same smug grin. With a few seconds of chauvinism and idiocy I almost went back into my shell.

He clambered out of the driver’s seat clutching a cardboard box of cheap domestic beer. He was nothing to be afraid of – if anything, he was to be pitied. I waited for three hours before all the lights went out. The street went eerily quiet as a light breeze blew wisps of errant rubbish from over-filled bins. Wearing dark clothes, I crept low toward the house. Constantly checking around, I only heard the faint noise of a whining dog.

Using the local foliage for cover and latex gloves for my own protection, I pulled a sharp blade from the pocket of my hoodie. I started slicing, cutting all four tyres beyond immediate repair. Air hissed slowly, like a release on both the rubber and my inner self.

I keyed the word “ASSHOLE” into the bonnet.

My final act was to write on the back of his note. I put it back through his letterbox, before I scurried back to my own car. I added my own little veil of intent.

“LEARN TO DRIVE PROPERLY ASSHOLE. AND REMEMBER – I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE NOW.”

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