by Brandon L. Rucker
I wrote this on January 11, 2012 via a prompt in one of the private offices at the Zoetrope Virtual Studio. The piece had to contain any of eight select words and could be any length, any genre. I wrote mine spontaneously in about 30 minutes with no editing (the fastest ever for me) and used these words: signal, seethe, focal and suffer.
Roger tapped the turn signal down to make a left turn, but immediately realized it was the wrong turn when his daughter started screaming at him.
“What the hell are you doing, old man, you were supposed to turn on Binford Ave. Can’t you do anything right, I swear!”
He slammed on the brakes but it was too late, the car was too far into the intersection to successfully make the right turn without taking out four other cars and a pedestrian or two who stood on the curb waiting to cross.
At only nineteen, Gina was already a lot like her mother, his ex-wife. Loud. Demanding. She seemed to always seethe with anger, never satisfied with anything, especially anything he did. It didn’t matter that he was her father. It didn’t matter that he nurtured her as a small babe when her mother was too stoned to give a damn about the fine art of motherhood. That just was not a focal point of her miserable existence.
Roger drove to the next intersection and made a right turn that would eventually get them back on-route to Binford Ave.
“A simple mistake corrected, Gina,” Roger said.
“Whatever.” She said. “You’re going to make me late.”
Roger had enough. “Make you late? You kids today, always looking for someone else to blame your problems on instead of taking responsibility for your own actions. Unaccountable shits, all of you. We’re running late because you spent an hour in the bathroom primping and getting yourself all slutted-up for a guy I’m starting think must be your pimp.”
Roger stopped at a four-way stop and glared over at his ungrateful daughter. Her mouth agape, her eyes wide with shock and perhaps a bit of hurt because he had never talked to her that way, at least not so angrily. Usually he used a passive-aggressive manner in dealing with her, usually bending to her ways, if not breaking like he did for her mother.
“Get out of the car, you can walk the rest of the way.”
Gina huffed, grabbed her purse, pushed the door open, thrust herself out and then slammed the door behind her. She gave him the middle finger and stomped off, looking like a tramp. A little girl in big girl clothes.
Roger wondered if he was actually hurting himself more than her. It didn’t matter. He knew that at her age and with her attitude, not to mention the bad hand life dealt her… well, she was just going to have to suffer this one out, maybe learn a lesson.
However, like usual, he immediately felt guilty about what he said and he couldn’t shake the pain that he saw burning in her eyes from his mind. The car behind him honked impatiently. He rolled through the intersection and then pulled over to the soft shoulder and waited for Gina to catch up.
Copyright © 2012 by Brandon L. Rucker. All Rights Reserved.