He needed a leather outfit. The leather outfit was key. He pictured himself, clad in tight black leather, a dark harbinger of doom walking a slow, leathery walk. He ordered a leather outfit online. A size too large. He dug through the trash but couldn’t find the receipt. He practiced the walk, but the pants bunched up, twisted around. He wiggled, shifted, smoothed the pants, practiced some more. He saw himself in the mirror, in his hot, oversized leather outfit, red-faced and sweating.
The jacket he switched out for a plain black pocket tee. The pants he decided to keep. He continued to practice the walk, but decided vengeance was better served from the seat of a fast-moving car. He pictured himself, prowling the night streets, neon reflecting off the windshield as he peered out with a steely gaze, searching for the faces of those who had wronged him. His hatchback had a hundred and seventy-five thousand miles on it, needed new brake pads, but it would do.
“Then one day it became too much and he snapped,” he said to himself as he drove, imagining what the newspapers would say. It sounded trite, he knew, but he hoped journalists would be so stunned by his acts they’d be unable to see past the obvious.
He spotted some of his enemies, crowded in front of 7-Eleven. Slowly, he pulled into the parking lot, breaks squealing. The enemies looked up with their little self-satisfied grins and for a moment he considered pulling back out. The leather pants were moist. Who knew his legs could sweat so much? Crazily, he found himself picking up the brick on the passenger seat and hurling it out the window. Jagged, it struck one of the enemies in the arm. Blood burbled out. The soda in the hand of the injured arm dropped, black liquid fizzing on pavement. “What the hell?” came a cry.
He watched for a moment before pulling away, awed. To think, he had done this. He, so recently snacking on Corn Chex in the middle of the afternoon. He, so recently slumped on the futon. So few of his actions had ever had effect on anybody that now it seemed like the product of magic.
The next day he sped by a group of his enemies gathered on their smoke break in front of a low gray building. He tossed a brick into their midst and watched in his rearview mirror as the enemies scrambled, dropping cigarettes and coughing with the exertion. That night he pulled up in front of Mr. Mike’s Pizza and chucked a brick at the front window. Glass shattered, the neon sign sputtered sparks, the enemies within looked out, dumbfounded.
The following night, he parked down the block from 7-Eleven and walked the walk up the sidewalk, emboldened. The leather squeaked with the movement, but he paid no mind. He saw himself, dark and lean with fury. Thinking of his anger, he recalled how carelessly he had once squandered it. The enemies didn’t notice him at first, so busy were they sipping sodas and laughing smugly among themselves. They looked up when he stopped to shift and smooth the pants.
“That’s the guy!” the one with the injured arm cried.
Crazily, he found himself swinging the thick, heavy piece of wood with the rusty nail on the end of it. He’d found it out by the dumpster and watched now as the nail slashed the uninjured arm of the already injured.
“Get him!” cried the others. Already, he had dropped the board. Leather squeaked furiously as he ran. At the car, he fumbled with the lock, saw the enemies approaching and continued running, trying to pretend the car wasn’t his. Around the corner he spotted a port-a-potty on the edge of a construction site and ducked inside. Instantly, his glasses fogged up. The smell of urine stung his nostrils. In the distance, he heard the smashing of glass and the denting of metal.
When he returned to the car, the headlights were busted, the back fender was bent, the passenger window was shattered, the windshield was cracked. Somehow, the damage was exhilarating. Somehow, it validated his vengeance. On the way home, a cat darted in front of the car. He spotted it too late in the blackness where the headlights should’ve been shining. He felt a sickening thump and swerved around the road mindlessly. Sobbing, he wished he had someone to drive the car for him while he sat in the passenger seat, dispensing heavy-object vengeance from the window.
The following night he decided to visit the next town over. Surely, he had enemies there. If not, he could make some. On the highway, he started to feel better. Free from self-control—he realized—he could do anything. The rattling of the damaged car bothered him not at all. Beside him, the passenger seat was stacked high with heavy objects. He talked the newspaper talk. “Then one day it became too much and he snapped,” he said, thinking what pleasure there was in a long drive. “He snapped,” he said. What pleasure simply in those words.
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