General Fiction posted April 1, 2022

This work has reached the exceptional level
Many of us have more than one pet in the house.

No Turn Signal For the Hopping

by Wayne Fowler

Pet Peeve Contest Winner 

“No, Honey, you can’t write a piece about pet peeves.”
“Why not?” I scream back at my wife. “I can have one!”
“No, you can’t,” she replied. “You have a thousand. And everyday you pop up with another one. You’re like that little toy vacuum cleaner the kids pushed around with all the little balls popping up. A regular whack-a-mole.”
I gave her the ten second silent treatment. It works every time. After I figured she’d learned her lesson I said, “You know, that’s something I’ve been meaning to talk about – how you’re always comparing me to a kid’s toy.”
“My point is made,” she said, her arms crossing over her chest, her chin rising in some sort of triumphant manner.
I started to say “And that’s another thing”, but she was standing within striking distance, so I didn’t. Another ten second treatment was definitely in order.
“Okay, I’ll bite. Which one are you going to write about?”
“One?” I shrieked.
She laughed out loud. Right out loud.
I pretended like we started out afresh. “What do you think about drivers who don’t use turn signals?” I knew that would get her.
“That’s a peeve, all right,” she said.
“Or big trucks that just whip out and cut you off, making you mash on your brakes?” I knew I had her here, too.
“Truckers’ prison,” she replied, a place we’d assigned at least ten thousand misbehaving truckers over the years.
“See? Point made!” I crossed my arms over my chest and pointed my nose at the ceiling. Looking back down, I didn’t see her anywhere.
Okay, down to the contest. I would have to winnow it down. There were several possibilities:
* shoppers who block isles with their carts
* drivers who straddle parking space lanes
* drivers who camp out in the passing lane
* people who text on their phones while not driving
* people who dog-ear borrowed books
* people who set motel alarm clocks for the next occupant
* young people who call me honey (I’m old)
* stores that only sell jumbo-size containers of what I want
* people who insist on talking to me, a stranger
* interesting-looking people who won’t talk to me
* writers who use too many commas and write too long sentences
* tattoos that I can’t make out what it is
* vanity license plates that are private jokes
* grocery stores that re-arrange stuff I buy
* restaurant portions that foster obesity
* too-fast-talking young people.
I could go on all day, but to decide which one is my pet. Hmmmm. This is gonna be hard.
For. That has to be it – writers who use the qualifier for in every other sentence, as if that explains everything. That has to be my very favorite pet peeve, the prize winner. He wrote upside down, for he was left-handed. She demanded to drive, for she was the car’s owner. He pooped his pants, for he was a baby. He always wrote the word for, for he thought to up his IQ perception.
The winning peeve has to be the one that elicits the strongest emotions. We all have peeves, but there is one that makes you want to break out your gun, even if only proverbially. There must be a peeve that compels you to draw your weapon, cock the hammer, aim, and shoot the offending word right through the page. Pow! “There, I took care of that! I feel better now.”
“So, what do you think, honey?” I asked after she edited my piece.
“I like it, except for all the shooting.”
I expected that, but it was staying in.
“But I just hate it when your screen jumps all around, up and down, making me click on things I have no interest in, maybe even giving my computer a virus.”
Hmmm. Maybe I need to rethink my very, very, favorite pet peeve.

Pet Peeve
Contest Winner
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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