A Lavender Shade of Rage
The twilight with its threat of night sweats and fever dreams falls ever later as the summer solstice sneaks up upon us. At this time of year I try to avoid the darkness as long as possible, the Kodak slide faces of all the men I’ve killed in a midnight carousel. Ann Fatale, my moll, my angel of secret places, and I walk the back lanes of our neighbourhood smoking our cigarettes and sipping the first of our nightcaps. The sidewalk is often times too exposed for a targeted man like me. I’m a fixer, though the job is never done. The name is Danger, Geoff Danger.
Our residential neighbourhood thrives and percolates to its unique pulse. The birds, cats, dogs and hares patrol their own turf and invade their rivals’. Kids wobble around on bicycles or play soccer and shinny on the road. Sometimes a basketball thumps against asphalt. One fellow across the street is a bit too nosy for my liking and may have to be dealt with. Another neighbour complained that my cigarette smoke wafted onto her property situated some 50 feet to the right. There was a quiet discussion and she’s okay with everything now. Two doors down to our left poor Mrs Blunt’s house stands empty though maintained. She was a solitary widow pushing 90 who insisted on mowing her lawn and shovelling her snow until a recent medical event. I sometimes wonder what’s become of her as I respect people who never require my services.
I only mention Mrs Blunt because if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have been carrying the pitchfork, nor would the Porsche have turned up.
On one of our late evening walks Ann Fatale spotted some lavender growing on the alley side of Mrs Blunt’s backyard fence. We agreed to come back and take some for transplanting; we fondly remembered our first caper together, the pea gravel heist. Good times, life changing times.
I wore my gardening clothes the next day: tan chinos with suspenders, a white undershirt and a brown fedora. We lifted the lavender and dug a hole for it in a sunny spot on our property. The plant smelled good. I was feeling good, leaning on my pitchfork, smoking a cigarette and sipping a cold glass of brown ale. The world seemed all right and looked even better after last night’s rain: green growth, life. Maybe I might even sleep through the long night yet to come. Everything ever once good in the world seemed possible once again. Ann Fatale was smiling at me, silently suggesting delights yet to be experienced.
The Porsche ripped down the street wrecking my reverie. Birds, animals and children scattered. The slick car cornered into Mrs Blunt’s driveway. The driver got out, a phone to his head. I picked up my pitchfork. Stubbed out my cigarette. Finished my beer. ‘Back in a minute, darling,’ I said to Ann.
‘Baby,’ she breathed, ‘don’t whack him.’
I grunted in reply. I sauntered along the sidewalk. Ho-hum. I then turned the Cayenne’s windshield into a spider’s web of cracked tinted glass. I chopped the pitchfork down on the low, sleek hood. I smashed the grille and both front headlights. The driver was slow to react. He actually excused himself to his correspondent before ending his call. Some sort of hotshot lawyer or real estate agent maybe, I guessed. I thrust the four fork tines under his chin. ‘Drop the phone,’ I whispered. He did. I stomped on it.
‘What are you doing!?’
‘I reckon some things can be replaced.’ I stepped back and lopped off his passenger side mirror. ‘You can always get a new phone. You can have this car repaired. But if you were to hit a kid or one of their pets, well, there’s no recourse, is there? They’re dead. See, if I ice you now there’s no coming back. So I’m just going to break one of your legs. Or both. They can be fixed. And you will have learned a lesson.’