Thirty Years: Flash Fiction Friday Post


You may remember I follow the Chuck Wendig blog over on He likes to toss out story prompts and see what the writers who follow him come up with. The stories are usually awesome, there are some great writers out there. Anyway, the most recent prompt was to write about revenge. Here’s my take on it.

Thirty Years

Joe didn’t even notice, at first. I start small. On his commute to work, I got mud on his trouser leg. He was annoyed, of course, but it barely registered with him. Then it was a wrong number, right in the middle of his presentation. You’d think he’d know enough to turn off his cell in a situation like that.

Then it was a flat tire on his car, just when he was about to take his second wife out to dinner. Life is so stressful. Just one more thing to aggravate a man. I cancelled his hotel reservation at his conference. He ended up paying extra after spending half an hour at the hotel desk. He missed his client dinner. His boss wasn’t very happy. Then I cancelled his order for his wife’s anniversary present. It was such a lovely sapphire and diamond necklace, too. He was on her shit list for a month.

I hacked his work computer and made files disappear. More trouble with the boss. He was passed up for that promotion he’d wanted. Wife wasn’t happy about that, either. I helped that along by planting a note in his pocket, lightly scented and written in lavender-colored ink, all hearts and flowers. She left the next day.

Under a lot of stress at his job, he made mistakes I didn’t create. He was let go six weeks after wifey left. That’s when the drinking really took off. I didn’t even have to drain his bank account. The wife handled that all on her own. The home owner’s association began hassling him because he was letting the yard go. Those fines really start to add up. It only took six months for him to lose the house all together. You’ve got to keep up the mortgage payments, and that’s tough to do when you can’t get a job. His old boss wouldn’t provide a letter of recommendation. That really looks bad to the prospective employer.

The police started showing up at the crappy apartment he rented, after an anonymous tip said he was building bombs. The landlord tossed him out. He was reduced to sleeping in a homeless shelter, where everything he didn’t have on was stolen, even his shoes. I didn’t do that. Not out of generosity, I just never thought of it. The homeless were doing my job for me.

He started begging on the street, a bottle of cheap booze tucked into the pocket of his thrift store jacket. The cops arrested him for taking a leak at the back of a building. Now he had a record, on top of all the other problems. His downward spiral hardly needed me to do anything any longer.

It was winter when they let him go. They found him, frozen, in the dumpster he was in trying to stay warm. My job was done.

Joe was number six. The last one. Now I could breathe. I was free. Free from the memory of those six college football players who thought it was funny to grab a hundred-pound girl heading to her dorm from a night study at the library. They took turns. Laughing, drinking, having a good time. My life was ruined. I couldn’t concentrate on my studies so I dropped out. I had nightmares. I went to support groups. None of that helped. But then one day, it occurred to me that I could make their lives a living hell, just like they did to me. So I took computer classes. I studied psychology. I apprenticed at a stock brokerage to learn finance. Then I started on the list.

One at a time. Some of them collapsed fast. Number four took ten years. But Joe was the last one. Revenge is best served cold, they say. Thirty years, cold, by my experience.