Succour, Michael Moriarty

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My front door shut behind me and I stomped down to my Commodore in the driveway. Ignition roaring, I swore under my breath. The world could burn.

I reversed out, changed gears and floored it along my tree-lined suburban street. It was 8 am.

Breaking hard, I swerved to the gutter. “Need music,” I muttered. Grabbing my phone, I scrolled through the albums. Nothing would contain the irrational fury seething inside. The image of shrouded Death destroying worlds pricked my attention. Blast beats and down-tuned guitars screamed from the speakers as I accelerated away.

Weeks of sleepless nights weighed darkly beneath my eyes. My unironed shirt stank of yesterday’s sweat. I was late for work. Exiting my suburb at high speed, I cut off a sedentary Camry.

Joining the main road, I gunned my family sedan up to eighty. Driven by death metal I wanted speed, but cops were about. Last thing I needed was a fine. What would I tell my wife?

Into a school zone I quickly decelerated to forty. Forget the fine, the last thing I needed was a child’s death on my hands. The thought of a crushed skull crashed through my head. “Too much,” I growled, quitting the death metal.

In the silence my anger rose. What a chaotic morning. No breakfast. No caffeine. No sense of perspective beyond my exhausted brain.

Past the school zone peak hour traffic backed up. I missed an orange light after the car in front broke early. “Learn to drive,” I yelled.

I had been up with my girl three times during the night. Her little screams were only silenced with milk.

“Fuck you!” I bellowed as a hatchback swerved through a roundabout and cut me off. My middle finger instinctually saluted the other driver. I followed the hatch, but it screeched to a halt, causing me to stop dead. Hatred flared through my blaring horn. The hatch sped off and I fired the engine to give chase.

Yet, something brought me pause. I relented and drove away. Who knows what might have happened if I hadn’t.

Traffic seethed around me. Trucks got in the way. Arseholes broke road rules. Every red light had my name on it.

Finally, near work, a traffic jam.

“What the hell?” I shouted, beeping. “Go! Go!”

Music! Electronica drone washed through the car, settling my brainwaves.

My baby girl swam into focus. I didn’t sign up for this. I’m too old to do this again.

The cars before me crawled along.

It was a surprise when my wife fell pregnant. I hadn’t considered it. Now, endless nights demolished my sanity. Stuck in the burbs, married with children, rushing to a soulless job, I wasted my life alongside a coterie of morons. “Priceless.”

Reaching the start of the traffic jam, I rolled through the intersection.

An ambulance, lights flashing.

Lifeless on the asphalt, a pedestrian.

Nearby, a small car, its bonnet crumpled.

I grimaced, suddenly sober. “It can always be worse.”

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One thought on “Succour, Michael Moriarty

  1. Irene Buckler says:

    This short piece has given me a powerful insight in road rage, Michael. The voice is uncomfortably authentic and the scenario one with which many would identify. What car do you drive – I’m going to watch out for it in future. Such unresolved anger is a frightening thing. Eh? The ending brought much needed perspective.

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