by Eric Poirier
At the stop sign to exit the outlet mall parking lot, Martin turned in his seat to console Sasha who started screaming in the back of the van.
‘Calm down, sweetie. We’re almost home.’
She was arching her back. It looked like the car seat was trying to eject her. Martin stretched to try and caress her cheek. This made his foot come off the brake pedal enough to allow the van to move forward. He had just enough time to face the front, realize he was entering the intersection, and notice how fast a Volkswagen Jetta was coming before it hit him. The impact made Martin’s van rotate ninety degrees to the right. He could see the Jetta stopped in the centre of the road, fifty meters from him. The impact made Sasha stop crying. Martin turned in his seat to check on Sasha. She was dazed but unharmed. Martin let out a slow sigh of relief.
‘Daddy will be back in a second, hon.’
Martin got out of his van and moved to the front to inspect the damage: the bumper was gone; the left tire was flat; and, the engine was exposed.
‘Great,’ he mumbled to himself.
He shot a quick glance to the other driver who was standing in front of his Jetta, furiously waving his muscly arms about. Concerned about Sasha, Martin started moving to tend to her.
‘What the fuck is wrong with you, man?’ Martin turned to see the other driver approaching. The muscle shirt he was wearing was barely containing him. His arms were out to his sides; the gesture itself screamed ‘What the fuck?’
‘Are you alright, sir?’ Martin asked.
The man stopped a foot away from Martin. ‘I asked you a question. You think ‘cause you’re a big guy you can ignore me.’
‘I heard you,’ Martin replied. ‘Are you hurt? Does anyone in your car need first aid?’
The man paused and lowered his arms. ‘What are you, a medic?’
‘I have training because of my job and my kit is in the trunk.’
‘No man. I’m fine.’
Both men looked around them to assess the scene. A third motorist that had stopped behind Martin at the intersection before the accident was outside her vehicle now, talking on her phone. Calling the police I hope, Martin thought.
‘Does your car look as bad as mine?’ Martin asked, adding a chuckle.
‘Yeah, man. It’s fucked. What were you doing back there? Jerking off?’ The man pointed towards the intersection, flexing his biceps and triceps. The inside of his shaved forearm was almost touching Martin’s ear. Cars on the road were lining up, waiting their turn to bypass the accident.
‘Listen, sir, I accept full responsibility for running the stop. It’s my fault.’
‘Damn right it’s your fault. You better have insurance.’ The man was now pointing at Martin’s chest.
‘Of course I have insurance. It’ll cover this.’
‘If you don’t pay up I’ll mess you up.’
Martin clenched his fists. ‘Look pal. The limit is fifty. You had to be going at least eighty by the looks of the damage.’
‘You calling me out punk?’
Martin pursed his lips and stepped back. He looked behind him at Sasha in the van, sucking her thumb and looking around with wide eyes. He turned back to face the other driver.
‘Look pal. Let’s just be civil and call the police.’
‘Don’t call me pal, man,’ he said, shoving Martin.
Martin barely budged. His eyes became small and locked on to the other driver’s.
‘Try that again juicer,’ Martin said.
The man swung at Martin but only hit air. In less than two moves he was bent over the van’s mangled hood, shards digging into his stomach, his arm unnaturally bent behind him.
‘Aarrgghh! You broke my arm!’
Martin leaned in to whisper, ‘See what you made me do.’
It took both of the cops who arrived to pry Martin away. The other driver fell off the hood and onto his knees, holding his arm.
‘Crap. Not again,’ Martin whispered to himself.
He tried to keep his gaze on Sasha inside the van as the police pulled him away.
Copyright Eric Poirier 2013