When Sweet turns Sour by Mel Fawcett

I’d often seen the hoodie-clad cyclist in the neighbourhood – forever going too fast,  jumping lights, and screaming at pedestrians and motorists alike. On this occasion he attempted to pass on the inside of a car, but he misjudged the manoeuvre, was squeezed against the curb and narrowly missed coming to grief. He shouted abuse at the hapless motorist as she drove away.

‘I don’t know why you’re making such a fuss,’ I said in passing; ‘it was your fault.’

‘What did you say?’

Maybe I shouldn’t have got involved, but it was too late now.

‘It was your fault. You were lucky not to have been hurt.’

And having said my piece, I continued on my way. But, as the motorist was no longer available, the cyclist turned his vitriol on me, shouting abuse as he followed me down the road.

‘You think it was my fault? What the fuck do you know, you twat. You stupid shit.’

Although the nervous tic on my top lip was telling me to keep going, I stopped and turned towards him.

‘No amount of shouting will alter the fact that it was stupid to overtake on the inside. That’s probably why they call it ‘undertaking’.’

‘You cunt!’ his face distorted with loathing. ‘You stupid fucking cunt!’

Fortunately, I was close to home. Once safely inside, I poured myself a drink and did my best to ignore the shouts coming through the letterbox. Eventually he tired of his abuse and went away. But whenever he saw me after that, he never failed to resume his tirade.

Some months later, I was driving home on the ill-lit backstreets when I saw the familiar hoodie approaching from the far end of the road – riding the wrong way up a one-way street. And without lights.

It was an opportunity too good to miss. I waited until he got quite close and then I gunned the engine and swerved into his path, intending to teach him a lesson he wouldn’t forget. Obviously fearing the car would hit him, he tried to mount the sidewalk, but his front wheel hit the high kerb and he fell backwards onto the hood of my car and then bounced off into the road.

It wasn’t until I got out of the car and saw his face close up that I realised it wasn’t who I thought it was.

Mel Fawcett lives in London. His stories have appeared in various print and online magazines, including Microfiction Monday, Smokebox, Drabble, Brilliant Flash Fiction, The Nonconformist Magazine, Bright Flash Literary Review, The Pomegranate London, Every Day Fiction, and Scribes Micro.