I’ve written this story several times, and hoped it would be submitted by August to be published by Halloween. Instead, this story frustrated me to the point that I quit writing for a while. This is the beginning, it’s about 3000 words total but I’m only putting a few hundred here. I’m wanting to set this up as a normal mom caught up in a Richard Matheson “Duel”-type encounter. Why is this not working? Any help I can get is greatly appreciated!!!
Sara clicked the belt securing Toby, her nine-month-old, into his car seat. She tugged gently, assuring that all the buckles were tight. He looked at her with sleepy eyes.
“Mommy, can I ride in the front seat today?” Timmy was big for a six-year-old. He always asked to ride in the front, and she always told him no.
“We’re only going down the street to the drug store and the post office, it’ll be fine.” She didn’t want to tell him no again. He climbed into the front seat of the little Kia without looking up from his Kindle. Sara circled the car and slid into the driver’s seat. Her phone buzzed. “Message from Denise” scrolled across the screen. “Not even out of the driveway yet and she’s already texting.”
Timmy didn’t look up from his game. “Teenagers…”
The message on the phone was straight and to the point. “Need Tampons” Sara rolled her eyes and turned the phone off quickly. She started the car and pulled into the street.
“BBbbzzzz” Her phone again. “Message from Denise” “We’re out of Coke”
Sara put the phone in the cup holder and checked the mirror. Toby was already asleep. She glanced at Timmy. “Your sister wants me to get more Coke at the drug store, is there anything you want too?”
“BBbbzzzz” “Message from Denise”
Dammit, what does she want now? We’ve gone less than a mile and that’s the third text! She snatched the phone out of the cup holder, swerving out of her lane. An air horn split the air. Startled, she dropped the phone. In the mirror she watched a garbage truck swerve off the road and over a fire hydrant. I cut them off. She looked back at Timmy in the passenger seat. He returned her look with saucer eyes, the Kindle forgotten in his lap.
“Stay here with your brother,” she said as she got out of the car. “I have to make sure everyone’s O.K.”
Water sprayed everything around her. It shot up from the ragged stump of pipe where the hydrant had stood into the bottom of the enormous truck and blossomed into watery needles hissing and buzzing in all directions. It’s like a hive of angry bees. Sara stood beside her Kia, taking in the scene. She jumped when the truck door flew open. The driver emerged, ursine, in blue jeans and a denim shirt with sleeves cut off at the shoulders. Sara’s husband called a shirt like that a “wife beater”. Hair bristled off every part of his exposed skin except for his smooth, shaved head. “Dammit!” he yelled as he stomped to the front of the truck to inspect the damage. “Dammit!”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t see you.” He didn’t acknowledge her. Maybe he didn’t hear her over the hiss of the water.
“Dammit!” He looked from the truck to her. “Saw you fucking with your phone when you ran me off the road. Hope it was real fucking important. I’ve been riding on the back of one of these things for three years, every fucking day, rain or shine. Finally, I get moved up to driver last month. I’m still on probation.” He stepped toward her. “Hope that text was REAL GODDAMN IMPORTANT!” A string of spit came off his lips during the “P” of “important”, nearly breaking away before rebounding to stick to his chin. He took several more steps toward Sara. Instinctively she backed away. “So what, right?” he continued. “Why should my problems matter to little rich-bitch soccer mom?”
“I…I’m not rich.” Her words were lost in the face of his anger. She continued backing away, trying to keep her little car between them. “I didn’t see you, I’m sorry.”
“OF COURSE YOU DIDN’T FUCKING SEE ME, YOU WERE LOOKING AT YOUR PHONE!” He was stomping toward her now, fists clenched. She could see the veins and sweat popping out on his shaved head.
“I’ll pay for the damage.”
“I DON’T CARE ABOUT THE FUCKING DAMAGE, IT’S GONNA COST ME MY JOB!” He was directly behind her car now, she had retreated to the front. He shattered her tail light with a big black boot. “You want damage? There’s some for ya!” There was no sanity in his eyes. They were too big. He was too big. I have to get my kids away from this man.
“I’m sorry…” She continued to lead him around the car. He followed, kicking out first the driver’s side headlight, then the passenger side. As she raced to the driver’s door from the back of the car, he wrenched the mirror off Timmy’s side and flung it into the street, screaming like a warrior. She opened the door and hit the power locks as she slammed it behind her. Sara pressed the gas pedal to the floor. Behind her, the garbage man sprinted to his truck and climbed in.
Oh my God, he’s chasing me in his garbage truck.