This story is by Anna Savastano and was part of our 2017 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the Spring Writing Contest stories here.
Minutes before the alarm clock strikes five, a dissonance of snorting gurgles invades my dreams. Like a fear-stricken animal, I, Trisha James, spring upright in my bed and scour the room for the culprit. I can’t blame myself for my formidable reaction; I’ve been on edge, lately. Sleep hasn’t come easy. Although, this sound did draw me out of a deep slumber, nonetheless. What keeps me from a peaceful rest is a parcel I received on Monday, which contained a pocket drive filled with alarming photos of my husband, Richard Wadd, and his boss’s eighteen-year-old daughter in various compromising positions. On the edge of my king-size mattress, I spy my husband breathing heavily. His face buried under a mountain of fluffy fur which belongs to my ebony and ivory cat, Tuxedo. I can’t help but think my kitty has the right idea in wanting to suffocate the cheating vermin. Bless her little heart for wanting to protect me. A part of me craves to let her finish the job. But, my need to make my spouse suffer here on earth prevails over the urgency to see him rot in hell. Hence, I lug the feline off Richard’s snout. The man never moved. I too would be dog-tired if I were a fornicating philanderer.
With Richard’s keys in hand, I sneak out to the garage an hour later. Under any circumstance, Richard has forbidden me to touch the classic black Mustang that sits here, let alone drive it. The shortness of breath, the hefty thump of my heart are clear indications of how unnerved I feel.
I settle in behind the steering wheel of this car, which he purchased the week we married, instead of our honeymoon trip.
Tuxedo slips in next to me riding shotgun. The darn cat sits perched on the edge of the seat, licking her left paw, while her right claws make gentle incisions in the red leather seat cushion beneath her.
“Vindictive are we?” I ask her. “You might not be so happy when they arrest me, and they deliver you to the horrendous lord of the manor.” She meows at me, rolling over on her back. I take that as, you better get him good then.
Richard’s voice calls out to me just outside these walls. He noted my absence. Shocking. I must swipe his car before the opportunity escapes me.
My dark-haired, brown-eyed, bearded mate, whose expression turns feral when he pegs me behind the wheel of his favorite ride, lunges for the hood of the Mustang forcing me to slam on the brakes when I try to go past him. His face creases in anguish when his body slams against the automobile’s steel frame. He takes a nose dive to the ground. Beads of sweat escape his forehead while both his hands hold his groin tight.
“Maybe next time, you should think things through before you react,” I said while I slide down the window.
“I’ll get you for this, you redheaded snippet,” he answers, as he rolls on the ground shuddering in pain.
I take off leaving him cursing in a cloud of toxic fumes.
“Hey Kristy, Trisha here. Guess where I am?” I announce to my best friend when she answers my call. “I’ll give you a hint honey; the interior upholstery is candy apple red leather. Oh yes darling, I did indeed do it! I stole his precious baby. Yes, I know for a fact, he loves this car more than he loves himself. He used up thousands of our hard earned money restoring the damn thing. Yes, I’ll be careful. Stop lecturing me, Kristy. No, I will not reconsider. I am through being a doormat. I intend to ride this car to its death.”
A desolate road lies before me, as I hang up with my friend and take the off-ramp onto the highway on this early Saturday morning. Birds sweep past me. A welcoming breeze drifts in through the open window. An invasion of rock music sweeps through the super deluxe speakers that my cash paid for on my husband’s last birthday. The speedometer zips up to 140 mph in record time. I can hardly feel it. It’s such a smooth ride.
“Oh Crap, we’ve got company,” I mutter when I witness red and blue strobe lights flashing in my rearview mirror. A tanned officer sporting a pair of Ray-Ban glasses scowls back at me. My husband wasted no time in getting his best friend Porter Black on my tail. Even though he chases me, I will not stop. Porter, the jerk, will throw me in jail for this stunt. I chew at the inside of my cheek. In the hopes, Porter will shove off, I coast into the next lane. I’ve got no such luck. He comes up beside me gesturing me with his arms to park on the shoulder of the highway. His face crinkles in frustration when I refuse to comply with his demands.
Once more, he approaches, sounding off the siren for intimidation.
“Piss off,” I said giving him the finger. His forehead creases. An officer is the last person I should antagonize. However, no matter how this goes, Porter will never take my side. He’s Richard’s friend. Besides, it’s exhilarating.
“I decide when this ride finishes, Copper,” I said mimicking the villains’ in the black and white movies. Officer Black furrows his brow in response.
The police cruiser closes in on my tail one more time drawing me closer to the road’s edge. I swerve in Porter’s direction just missing his wheel. He trails back giving me some space.
By the satisfied grin I spot in the rearview mirror on Porter Black’s face, he believes he’s trapped me. At the junction of the two highways, sits a police cruiser with a pair of officers positioned behind the vehicle awaiting my arrival. They think they’ve beaten me. Little do they know this is exactly where I want to be. Wait until they get a look at the stunt I’ve prepared for their eyes only. I ride up parallel to the squad car. Both constables watch me their hands positioned on their gun holsters. Porter Black exited his vehicle a way’s back. He wants no part in my arrest. He sees no advantage in finding himself before the Police Review Board on a conflict of interest charge.
Poor Mr. Black, he believes he will be returning his friend’s priceless Mustang to him unscathed. “It’s time Tuxedo,” I said bounding out of the car. With owl-wide green eyes and my lips stretched thin, I hobble towards the two confused men behind the police cruiser who regard my approach with caution, as I carry a broken shoe heel, which could be considered a weapon.
“Thank goodness, I got this heel out from under my accelerator pedal and was able to stop,” I said to the officers. “I was so afraid of crashing into you.”
“You couldn’t stop?” the darker of the two constables asks.
“No,” I answer. Liar, liar…
“The car, it’s still moving!” I hear Richard’s voice say from behind me. When did he get here?
I pivot, just in time to watch my husband tumble out of my blue Rav4 Jeep and cross the tarmac at record speed over to his roaming vehicle. By now Porter Black has also realized his friend’s classic Mustang is rolling towards the cliff’s edge. “Let it go!” He shouts to his friend. “It’s too late. You can’t save it.”
“Oh, my cat’s in there!” I shout. The cat leaps out of the car upon hearing those words just like we rehearsed. Whoever said cats couldn’t be taught, never met Tuxedo. I must say, I was apprehensive about leaving her in a moving vehicle.
As much as I wanted to attend Richard’s payback, I am not a violent person. I shut my eyes as the Mustang is within seconds from busting down the hillside. Richard’s horrified shrill pierces the air followed by a horrendous resonance of crashing.
The next thing I see, Porter Black is at Richard’s side consoling him. The constables ask me what happened. I tell them my version of the truth.
I shutter when I get a look at Richard’s deadly growl.
“Why is she not in cuffs, yet?” He roars as he tramples the pavement in my direction.
“I’m sorry, Richard. I was distraught when I got out. I meant to put the car in park. With my heel breaking, I must have forgotten.”
“Don’t lie. You knew what you were doing! You’ve hated my car since I got it,” Richard argues.
“Hate a car? Richard,” I said. My eyes roll so far back I almost give myself a headache.” Don’t let the police hear you. They’re liable to fit you in a straitjacket.”
“Can someone please arrest this murderer?” Richard said stomping like a temperamental child.
“Who has she murdered, Sir?” The shorter of the two officers asks.
“My Car,” Richard replies.
“You can’t murder a car, Sir.”
“Okay, so she stole and destroyed it.”
“What would have been her motive? She borrowed your car is all, Sir?”
“Stop with the Sirs. My name is Richard.”
“Dick, for short,” I interject holding back a laugh.
“Look, Sir,” The police constable said giving me a raised eyebrow at my comment. “Your wife told us she went out for an errand with your car. Before Officer Black intercepted her, she said her heel caught on the accelerator pedal. She tried to communicate this information to Officer Black at no avail. When she saw our road block, she yanked extra hard on her heel causing it to break. She told us this is how she was able to slow the car down. She did not intend for the accident to happen in my opinion or else, she would’ve taken her cat with her.”
“Officer, can I speak to my husband, alone?” I ask batting my eyes at the man.
He nods yes.
“I don’t want to hear your excuses.”
“Listen to her side of the story before you do something rash, Sir. I’ll be right over here.” He said pointing at his two colleagues who are just shy of earshot.
“Make it fast,” Richard tells me. His hands crossed in front of his strong chest.
“Richard, if you don’t stop this ridiculous idea of having me arrested, I will ask my friend Kristy to send your boss this pocket drive filled with pictures of your beautiful afternoon matinees with a certain eighteen-year-old. Where do you think your illustrious dream of being the next CEO of the company will go, huh? We both know what your boss will do with you when he finds out you shagged his youngest daughter. Now Richard, stop this. Tell Officer Porter you will not press any charges.”
“You knew?” Richard said taking the pocket drive out of my hand and throwing it down the cliff alongside the wrecked automobile.
“Oh Richard, did you honestly believe I only made one copy? That was your copy. You should have kept it for the memories since you won’t be tapping that sweet thing anytime soon. Now, be nice and talk to the officer on my behalf.”
Richard treads off without a word. When he regains my side, he said, “There, you’re a free woman. Now, when do I get the rest of those pictures?”
“You don’t, Dick Wadd. For the rest of your life, you will be the perfect husband. You will treat me like a queen. If you get any ideas on offing me, remember I have plenty of friends who have this information stored away for future reference. Not only will you lose your job, but prison will also await you since that little piece of evidence will create the motive. And I’ll have caught you straight from the grave.”
“Yes dear,” Richard answers, as his eyes drop to the ground succumbing to his new role.