YEAR OF THE SNAKE CONTEST
Year of the Snake entry for July. 500 words. For RC and GD.
I was minding my own business, just driving around to get sleepy, when I noticed the car. It was parked in an odd place on the hill, not near any houses, just out there on the roadside. I slowed. It was a beauty. A newer Mustang. It looked red under the streetlight. Red with a black racing stripe that ran from back to front. There had to be kids inside. Probably smoking dope and making out. I pulled over, killed my motor, and listened. I didn’t hear anything. Yeah, that was it. No music, but kids having a good time anyway.
I started up and continued climbing the hill. After parking in the garage I got out and did an exaggerated yawn and stretch to convince myself I was tired, then quietly turned the key in the front door lock, opened and closed the door like I was breaking in, and tiptoed into the pitch-black bedroom.
I eased myself onto the bed, trying not to shift the mattress with my weight too much. I listened for breathing as my head sank into the pillow.
Then I remembered. There was no one there. Not anymore. The other half was empty.
I rolled over on my back and stared up at the cold high black ceiling. I thought about how lonely some people can get. I don’t know how long it took, but eventually I dropped off to sleep.
In the morning, I made myself a cup of instant coffee, downed a glass of juice, and headed out the door for work. Driving down the hill, I noticed that the red – it was red – Mustang was still parked on the side of the road. I pulled in behind it and saw that the rear window was smashed in.
I got out of my car and went over to inspect the damage. Someone had used one of the large rocks that wash down the hillside every time it rains. They collect in the gutter.
What a shame. The kids who were probably smoking dope and having sex in the car must be the ones. I got back in my car and picked up my cell. I fully intended to call 911, let them know about the car. But my finger froze. I put the phone down and thought about the whole thing, from the stealing of the car to the abandoning of it.
There were plenty more big rocks along the shoulder. I got out of my car, went over and picked up a good-sized one. I looked up and down the road. No cars in sight. I lifted the rock over my head and heaved it at the front window. I’d thought that shatterproof glass would just cave in but not break. I was wrong. The glass shattered spectacularly.
I got back in my car. Suddenly I felt very satisfied with myself. I wasn’t the instigator anyway, so what the hell. For the first time in a long time, I felt good.