Winston Wouldn’t Like It

04/08/24

My life is a set of routines and obligations. Which doesn’t give me much time to think for myself.

The week before Christmas, I drove Winston’s silver Cadillac DeVille downtown to buy presents for his office staff and his mother. I’ll have to wrap them and sign his name on the card. I stopped by Anderson’s bakery for coffee and a cruller with the allowance he gives me. And of course, ordered my husband’s favorite dessert, the Yule log.

Heading home, I waited at the red light at Main and Warwick. Even though Winston always told me to take the highway, I came the back roads to see pretty holiday lights on the fancy houses. He insists I keep my hands at ten and two and my eyes focused forward when I operate his vehicle, but I let my gaze wander to take in the festive sights.

Ahead of me, to the right, a blue van, rusty and dented like it belonged in the junkyard, idled in the parking lane. The passenger door was open, and a man’s arm reached outward, dragging the young girl on the sidewalk toward him. Her braids flew behind her and her backpack slid off her shoulder as she tried to wrench free.

The light changed to green. I was about to go, after all, Winston told me not to get involved other people’s problems. But the girl’s screams froze me cold in my seat and I couldn’t move my foot from the brake to the gas. Her terrified eyes caught mine as she struggled in the battle to stay out of that van.

What would Winston do? Why, drive on, of course. Let someone else worry about the girl. But I remembered being that young and the time Bobby Winchester pulled me into the bushes. I didn’t scream and fight like this girl. I lay silent as a whisper and never told a soul.

So, after forty years of an acquiescent marriage, Fuck Winston.

My foot leapt from the brake to the gas pedal, slamming it hard as I twisted the steering wheel toward the van. I smashed my front end into its rear end. Winston would definitely not like that, his precious car getting dented and scratched. I shoved the shift into reverse, backed up, and rammed the heap again. And again, over and over. Until the driver flung open his door, jumped from his seat and headed toward me, his gun pointed in my direction.

To the side, I saw the girl run away into the darkness. Fast as the wind, I called out.

Winston told me never to use the ladies’ Smith and Weston 9mm he trained me to shoot unless it was an emergency. Even he must agree this qualified as an emergency. I smacked the car into park, pulled the handgun from my purse, cocked the action, stepped out, and took a stance. Fired two rounds. Hit the degenerate in his right hand and his left kneecap. He crumbled and wailed. I shot out his tires.

I moved around to the passenger side of the clunker. Hysterical wails came from inside. I swung my extended arms toward the sound, finger on the trigger, like I saw Angie Dickenson do when she played that cop. In the back of the filthy, trash-strewn junker, a young girl was tied up, her clothes torn, her face bruised. My blood boiled and my head exploded.

I approached her like I would a baby bird, speaking kindly. “It’s okay, sweetie. I’m going to take you to my car and bring you home.” I carried the waif to the car and placed her in the back seat, covered her with a blanket.

Standing by my open door, I aimed at the depraved rapist rolling on the ground. When I got a clear view, I took one more shot right where he’d never be able to hurt a girl again.

That night, I was on the national news, with that handsome police chief, his arm slung around me, holding me close, and a picture of the totaled Cadillac behind us. Chief Richard winked and called me a hero.

Winston didn’t like that.

~ fin ~

ameekluck

Aimee Kluck spends her days manipulating live bodies as a physical therapist and her nights writing and imagining ways to hide dead bodies. She writes short stories and has completed a murder mystery novel. Her stories will be published in “Murder Most International” anthology and “Shotgun Honey” in April 2024. She is a member of Sisters in Crime in Nor Cal and Los Angeles. and the Guppies, MWA, Women’s Fiction Writers Association and Short Mystery Writers Society. She lives in Santa Barbara with her son, his girlfriend, and a dog.