Pet Peeves - Written June 11, 2008
I belong to a small, informal writing group that meets once a week. The prompt for this particular story was Pet Peeves. I could have listed all the things I find annoying, but this was more fun.The characters reflect my pet peeves in an exaggerated way.
The therapist looked around the group steepling his fingers. Smiling ponderously he turned to the newest member. "Everyone, this is Letitia. She's joining us for the first time. Letitia, why don't you share with the group some of the things that make you angry."
Letitia smiled sweetly at him. "You mean like other than smarmy psychologists with ingratiating voices and sissy mannerisms?"
His smile faded slightly as he brought his hands to his lap. "Yes, other than that."
"Stupid people," she said tersely.
"Define stupid," a short, wiry, Hispanic youth across from her said.
Letitia thought for a moment. "Stupid people, hm. Can't walk, can't talk, shouldn't breathe?"
He grinned, nodding for her to go on. The therapist frowned.
"Get behind them in the grocery store - Oops! They forgot something. Okay, we all do that sometimes. Once, I have no problem with. But this one lady I got behind went back three times! I wanted to choke her."
"What did you do?" An excitable older woman to her right said.
"Next time she started to turn around, I blocked the way and told her the only way she was leaving the line again was through me."
"What did she do?" The youth asked.
"About peed herself," she looked smug.
He clapped and nodded. "Right on!"
"See here," the therapist tried to assert himself. "We aren't encouraging this kind of behavior. What Letitia did was wrong. You can't intimidate people at the grocery store!"
"Why not?" The man next to him asked. "I think it's great. Get what you need and get out. If you forget something, go back after you pay for the rest. Not so hard to do." He leaned forward toward the group. "My pet peeve is people who can't make up their minds what they want to order at a fast food place. They've been in line ten minutes with that huge menu in front of them. Do they look at it? No. Not until they get to the register."
"I know what you mean, dude," the Hispanic young man said. "I worked McDonald's right? Got myself fired."
"Manuel, I don't think this is the time for that story," the therapist interjected.
"Dude, chill, okay? So this lady, must have weighed like three hundred and change, waddles up with her chubby kids. I'm waiting while the fat broad makes up her mind how many pounds of burgers she's gonna scarf down and her six year old starts yelling, 'Mommy, Mommy! I want a Whopper!'" He snorted, rolling his eyes expressively. "So I said, 'Kid, we don't do Whoppers here, that's Burger King.' And he starts crying. 'How about a Big Mac and fries?' I'm being nice. She starts to argue with me about why can't I give her dumb kid a Whopper? I sad, 'Lady, I'd love to give him a Whopper, but we don't do Whoppers at McDonald's.' She's screaming by this time. So I climbed up on the counter, drop my pants and flash the entire restaurant. 'Lady, that's the only Whopper in the store. Okay?' I got arrested for indecent exposure." He shrugged, fidgeting like he wanted a cigarette.
"This is getting out of hand, Manuel."
"Hey, ain't my fault." He shrugged, leaning back in his seat.
"I hate bad drivers," the lady to Letitia's right said angrily. "Can't decide what speed to go! Can't stay in their lanes! Blinkers going for six blocks and they slow at every cross street!"
"Or tail gate on a four lane road when nobody else is around," the older man added. "I had some guy follow me back and forth like I had a magnet on my rear. Right on my bumper. Every time I changed lanes, he did."
"How did you handle that, Frank?" The therapist asked despite himself.
"Hit my brakes and let him rear end me," Frank nodded happily, grinning.
He and Manuel did a high five.
"I hate when people turn and think about it," Letitia added. "Like they start to slow down two blocks away, with the blinker on. Practically stop to turn in at the gas station. Come on, already! Get out of the road! I wish I drove a huge truck or maybe a tank. POW! I'd take 'em out!" She giggled with anticipation.
"Did you ever see that movie, 'Death Race 2000'?" The older lady asked.
"Dude! I love that movie!" Manuel grinned.
"Well, more than once," she admitted forcefully. "I've wanted to hit the accelerator and mow people down!" She put her hands up like she was gripping a steering wheel, mashing her foot to the floor. "VOOOM!"
"Marie!" the therapist was appalled. "That's it!" He bellowed. "Class dismissed!" He got up and walked out, banging the door behind him.
"Hey, Chica," Manuel addressed Letitia. "You rock, baby. Want to go out for coffee?"
"Yes, let's all go," Marie said excitedly. "I feel like stirring up trouble."
"That's why I love this group so much," Frank said with a grin. "I feel so much better when it's over."
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