Road Rage With a Side of Butter

Local bakery owner, Marvin, has a brush with road rage and discovers one person's joyriding is another's nightmare.

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headlight of white car on road

Marvin’s size 12 Doc Martin boot stepped on the break at the stop light. His left hand tapped the steering wheel in time with Taylor Swift’s latest hit and his mind drifted back to the morning’s news. He’d been laminating butter for the croissant dough. The local news reported on increased accidents on the 475. Apparently gang members, out joyriding, were intentionally trying to incite road rage and force drivers to loose control. Seriously? Didn’t they have an overpass to tag somewhere?

His mind snapped back to the present as the light turned green. He jammed his foot on the gas of the 2007 Ford delivery van, making it leap forward. The sheet trays loaded with croissants, brownies and fresh baked cookies clattered on the rack as the vehicle lurched onto the freeway. Wafts of butter, sugar and chocolate reminded Marvin he only had minutes left to make this delivery. Customers demanded their calorie quotas, and they had to be fresh.

Marvin merged into the stream of Atlanta’s morning traffic. He mapped out in his head which mall entrance he’d use this morning for his delivery. If he used the south entrance, he could use the service elevator and save a little time.

Without warning, two sports cars roared up on either side of the van, startling him out of his reverie. Marvin checked his mirrors. He had to be alert.

The pastries had to be delivered to the mall by 7 a.m. or he’d risk loosing a valuable client. He’d worked so hard to get the mall contract. Keeping it meant everything. Marvin pressed his foot down further on the accelerating, coaxing the delivery van to go faster.

The Oak Forest exit sign whipped past the window. One more mile and he’d be at the mall.

Out of nowhere a car pulled in front of him, tail lights flaring bright red. Boxed in, Marvin slammed on the brakes to avoid rear ending the jacked-up Subaru Crosstrek. Tires skidded, leaving rubber. Several pan au chocolat escaped their plastic-wrapped trays and landed on the dashboard. A dusting of flakey crumbs littered the cab.

Marvin’s palm hit the horn. The car to his right swerved closer. An arm shot out the open window waving the international one-fingered salute. He caught a glimpse of the driver’s laughing face.

“You think this is funny?” Marvin thought as all three cars maintained pace around the van, forcing him to loose precious minutes. “This isn’t a game. Some people still try to make an honest living,” he shouted as they raced toward his exit.

All three cars stayed within inches of the delivery van. Marvin gripped the will, feeling his temples throbbing. “These idiots!” he thought.

At the last possible moment, Marvin slammed on the brakes swerving behind the car to his right and up the exit ramp.

This short story is part of a daily 36-minute freewriting exercise I’m committing to. I used the following prompts:

Character: a baker
Action: road rage
Setting: a mall
Phrase: “This isn’t a game.”