Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A couple of weeks ago on my way to critique group I was involved in a traumatic incident. I was stopped at a light during rush hour traffic. I left plenty of room between me and the vehicle in front of me, but the guy behind me in a beat-up, rusted 1981 SUV was crawling up the tail pipe of my two-month old Honda Civic SI.
The woman in front of me rolled up a couple of feet though the light was still red. I didn’t move because there was no reason to, and I didn’t want the guy behind me to surge forward and hit my new car. He honked, and I ignored him. Then he bumped into my car, my new car!!!!

I grabbed a pen and the first piece of paper that came to hand then got out though I was pretty sure there was no damage. He’d been so close to start with, he didn’t have time to get up enough speed to hit me with any force. There was no damage, but I wanted to write down his license plate number just in case.

He rolled down his window and began yelling at me. “What the f*** are you doing? What’s the matter with you? Are you crazy? What do you think you’re doing? Get away from my car!”

He had no front license plate, so I started toward the back of his vehicle. “You hit my car!” I said as I passed him.

“I didn’t hit your car. You’re crazy! What do you think you’re doing? You’re a crazy woman!” Etc., etc.

I wrote down his license number, went back to my car and got in. But he was right behind me and started banging on my window. I hit the button to roll it down a crack, but it zipped almost all the way down. He reached in and yanked the card with his license plate number out of my hand, breaking my fingernail in the process. That piece of paper I’d grabbed was my business card. A madman had my name, address and phone number.

I was becoming very angry. I grabbed another piece of paper and got out of my car again. He followed me, screaming and cursing, and the other guy in his car got out to help him.

“We didn’t hit your car!” the second guy shouted. “You backed into us! I saw you! Get the f*** out of here, you b****!”

“What if I get your license number?” the first guy threatened. “Huh? How’d you like it if I write down your license number? I’m going to get your license number!”

I shrugged and pointed toward my license plate, TXS SAL. “Go ahead.”

“Are you gonna call the police? Are you gonna call the police on me, ****? You think you’re gonna call the police on me?”

I tried to get past him to my car, but he blocked my passage.

I’m gonna call the police! How you like that? Whatta you think if I call the police?”
“Fine. Call the police. It’s 9-1-1.” I spoke very slowly because I realized his comprehension was limited.

Again I tried to move past him and again he blocked me. “Where do you think you’re going?”

“I’m leaving.”

“You’re not going anywhere!”

About that time a stranger stopped. “Do you need some help, ma’am?”

“You gonna take her side? Get the f*** out of here! She don’t need your help! She’s crazy!”

The Good Samaritan told me to get in my car and he’d call the police. I did.

Cops came, talked to both of us, got my business card back from the psycho and finally told me they’d keep him there until I could leave.

Using his license plate, I tracked him down, got his name and address. He lives only 5.4 miles from me, but it’s a significant 5.4 miles. I live with the old folks, he lives with the meth folks. His house (which he and several other people rent) is valued at $34,750. No, I didn’t leave out a digit.

An unfortunate incident that made me very angry as well as late to critique group. I have heard no more from the man, so I assume he didn’t make note of my address or phone number while he had my card. The incident was probably insignificant to him. But I intend to make him famous. See excerpt from my current WIP:

Amanda entered the room and saw, sitting on a metal folding chair among the dirty, greasy motorcycle parts, a dirty, greasy man. Actually he wasn’t really dirty or greasy, but he somehow gave off that aura, especially his eyes.

Even though he didn’t bother to get up when she entered the room—an inexcusable error of etiquette in Texas—Amanda could tell he was tall. Arms with stringy muscles protruded from his wife-beater T-shirt, and his gut strained against the thin fabric. Lots of workouts digging holes to bury people then celebrations with too much beer afterward?

His scraggly brown beard seemed an attempt to make up for the total lack of hair on his shiny head, and bushy brows protruded over small dark eyes.

“Can I help you?” she asked, remaining in the open doorway just in case she needed to back out fast.

The facial hair moved as if it was alive…or had small creatures living in its depths that were moving around. The man was, Amanda, realized, smiling, though his cold eyes weren’t. “You’re Amanda. Charley showed me pictures of you. I’m Ronald Collins. Me and your husband used to be friends.”

“I doubt it.”

The facial hair did another dance, moving in a downward pattern. Frowning? Scowling? Glaring? Threatening? His eyes remained flat and dead. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Charley didn’t have friends. He had enemies and criminal associates and scam targets. Which one were you?”

The moral of this story--don't mess with a writer. We can torture you with a pointed gerund, drag you down the street tied to a car with a dangling participle, beat you with an ellipsis, shoot you with an interrobang, murder you and tie up the body neatly leaving not a single trace of an unresolved issue.


  1. Isn't it wonderful what a creative writer can do to avenge a wrong? Nice blog post.

  2. Lots of crazies out and about everywhere these days. Hmm, I live in TX too. The bit about the business card was extra bad. I'm glad a good Samaritan came to your aid. I usually feel pretty safe locked up inside my car...except for the crazies who might be packing. Bu they don't do that much, right? Oh how I wish. Interesting, scary post, sign of the times, well written!

  3. Bravo, Sally! But next time consider staying in your car... Too many crazies. I'm glad that good Samaritan finally stopped and offered assistance. He could be in the story, too?