Sunday, May 18, 2008


"Mind yourself now," his wife called out when he slowly pulled out the car from the garage. "And take care of yourself!"

"Yeah, I will," he answered through the rolled-down car window. As soon as the car was properly positioned by the road outside, he beckoned to his wife for a good-bye kiss. "Take care, too. And thanks for the present. I'll use it. My word."

"And control yourself, beloved," she whispered against his ear.

"Yeah. I promise." He drove off happily, and in slightly good sprits. The present in question, an unopened pot of peppermint-scented potpourri taped to the leather dashboard, waiting to be given proper acknowledgement. The man turned on the radio and listened to his MP3 player, whose playlist was altered by his wife, who deemed the song selection as too 'provocative'. His lip slightly curled in distaste when he found out that his wife had inserted a couple of Simon and Garfunkle songs, which he promptly skipped with a deft flick of his finger.

"Goddamn b...graah," he groaned and gritted his teeth in a great effort to stop himself from cursing loudly. He promised his wife. I promised. "Emo of the sixties, they are," he grudgingly blurted out, frustrated and at the same time relieved that he was able to voice out his aversion without breaking his word.

The traffic started to slow down, with his car stopping near the center of the intersection, where he could clearly see the traffic enforcer wave and dance like a lunatic in an effort to tame the flow of automobiles.

Wanting to distract himself from the cloying music wafting through the speakers, he removed the scotch tape that fastened the peppermint potpourri pot to the dashboard, and peered at it closely. Hmm. Mood uplifting, helps relieve mental fatigue, improves mental clarity, alertness, concentration, and memory...I can see why she chose this one for me, he thought. Well, I'll open the can and put it to good use once I get to park in the office. He then shifted his attention to the traffic enforcer, who was still motioning to the other wave of cars to pass through. He closely watch the steady stream of traffic pass by him, waiting for his lane's turn to move.

Five minutes passed. Ten minutes passed. Twenty minutes passed.

He was clenching his fists by then. Other cars in his lane were already honking their horns impatiently, unheeding by the traffic enforcer who was still merrily waving and dancing his way to let the other lane pass by. What the fuck is this guy's problem?! he screamed in his head, his anger causing him to rage and tremble and go red in the face all over again, just the very thing that his wife cautioned against.

Reason still winning over his consciousness, he decided to give the traffic enforcer three more minutes before he got out his car to confront him. Three more minutes. Surely he wouldn't be so stupid as to let us stew for three more minutes! He struggled to rein in his anger. I promised. I promised.

Three minutes passed.


The passing of those final three minutes saw the man slamming the door behind him, walking towards the traffic enforcer in great strides, effortlessly avoiding the incoming traffic despite his rage.

The traffic enforcer, upon seeing him walking towards his direction like a beast to a prey--holding a wrench--wisely motioned for the man's lane to move--but not quite.

Despite the fact that it was already their turn to cross the intersection, it was too late; he was already blinded with rage.

As the man saw red and flesh and blood, the pot of peppermint potpourri was still sitting patiently on the leather dashboard, waiting for its master to make use of it, to serve its purpose.