Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Don't Cut off Your Nose to Spite Your Face" (without using the actual phrase or litera( 02/14/08)
Vengeance is Mine
By Shelley Ledfors
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Susan sighed. “I just don’t know what to say to you any more, Jim. You’re so sure you’re right that you’ve closed your mind. Sam’s tried to talk with you about this, but you refuse his calls. Since you won’t even let him try to explain, I’m just not so sure that Sam is totally in the wrong, here.”
“Not in the wrong?” I threw my cup across the kitchen. “I can’t believe you’re not taking my side in this! And why is that, Susan? Just because he goes to that church of yours?”
The mixture of sadness and fear in her eyes softened the edges of my hardened heart for an instant. …Until I allowed a thought of Sam to intrude, crowding out all hint of warmth.
As Susan quietly cleaned up the coffee splatters and pottery shards, she tried a different approach.
“Okay, Jim. Let’s say you‘re right. Let’s say Sam is one hundred percent at fault. Does that mean you should seek revenge? Your anger is really scaring me. Remember what it says in Romans…”
“Yeah, yeah, I know. We’ve been over this before. ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay’ …so says the Lord. Well, I’ll tell you what. You know how busy He must be taking care of everybody else, so I’ll just deal with this one myself. You know, lighten His workload.”
Susan shook her head as she returned the broom and mop to the closet. “Justin has a play date at the Thompson’s. We have to go.” She hesitated, “I’ll be praying for you, Jim.”
My reply was a snort of derision.
I watched from behind the edge of the curtain as Susan strapped Justin into his car seat then backed out of the driveway. My wife is a wonderful woman. But I get a little tired of everything having to relate to God and the Bible. It‘s not that I‘m against religion. I even go with her to church sometimes. I just don’t take it to extremes like she does. Her sentiments are even reflected on her car license, for goodness sake. As she turns the corner I glance at the plate…JSUSFRK. Yeah, that about sums her up, all right.
I puttered--and brooded--in my workshop for an hour or so until time to leave for my Saturday round of golf. My thoughts vacillated between a detailed review of the conflict--for the hundredth time, and plotting how I could even the score. The replay fueled my growing outrage while my planning brought a strange excitement.
On my drive to the course the scenery shifted from cluttered workspace to tree-lined country lane. But inside, my focus remained unchanged.
In this frame of mind I was in no mood for an imbecilic driver to pull out from a side road right in front of me. When I saw who it was, the rage I had so carefully tended erupted with an intensity I could never have imagined. Here was my chance. Although the scenario did not match my revenge plans, I would not pass up this opportunity to teach him a lesson.
Checking far ahead on the two-lane road I could see no one, so pulled into the oncoming lane and drew even with Sam’s car. I had no intent to actually harm him. But he didn’t need to know that. The idea of frightening him--of making him think that I might injure him--frankly filled me with delight. I swerved my car toward the side of his…pulling away again just before contact.
I saw what I had so desired…the look of pure panic. Yet its direction was not toward me, but rather just ahead of me. I heard the long blare of a car horn followed by the horrendous cacophony of metal engaging metal. And then…silence.
+ + + + +
My awareness returns in fragments…brief, disjointed flashes of sight and sound.
“…So sorry, Jim. …Wasn’t at all what you thought.”
Could I have been wrong?
Paramedics. One’s Mark from the church. Talking with Sam.
“…Drifting in and out, but I think he’ll make it.”
Emergency workers aren’t supposed to cry.
Flashing lights. Officer’s reports.
“Confirm two fatalities at the scene...’’
“…Vehicle license John - Sam - Union - Sam - Frank - Robert - King.”
Though my voice remains silent, my soul cries out to God in a primal scream.
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