Phillip went about his duties with a fastidiousness appreciated by Carl, his boss. He changed oil, checked tires, lubed up chasses, added fluids and a host of other duties quickly and efficiently. When asked, Carl would happily say that Phil was one of his “best guys” and could always be relied upon to be at work, and to do his job.

But Carl could not see the dark fantasies unfolding in Phillip’s mind. Nor did he realize the inspiration driving Phil to greater perfection at work was provided by fantasies of harming his customers in the most gruesome manner. One day Phil would think about how neat it would be to leave out a couple of bolts on a large SUV. He would visualize the big thing losing an axle while going down the freeway. He would see the looks of horror on the passengers faces, hear the screeching of metal and tires, hear the booming crash as the careening vehicle crossed the median and smashed head-on into an oncoming 18-wheeler. A smile would creep onto his pale features, and he would brush his greasy hair out of his eyes and say to a nearby customer, "There you go, Sir. Have a wonderful day."

The customers would be delighted with his work, of course, and give him compliments. Once in awhile, a tip was offered, and politely refused. “Just doing my job. Thank you anyways.”

At the end of the day Carl would go home to his small apartment, and relax, get a bite of dinner. Then, he would engage in one of his favorite hobbies. Reading horror novels. Drawing pictures of people being cut up, tortured or murdered an every conceivable way. Sometimes he would masturbate while fantasizing how he would torture a lover, and murder them afterwards. Phillip lived a simple, if unconventional, life.

One week in particular was rather difficult on poor Phil. At the Shop, they had seemed to be more busy than usual. Every customer wanted their vehicle “ASAP.” Weird, niggling problems. Bad valves in newer cars, things they had to explain to irate customers they just were not equipped to repair at the simple Tire & Lube shop they worked at. And he had to listen to repeated “This place is a piece of crap! I might just report you to the BBB.” and the like. Towards the end of the long week, when Phil had completed a five-hour stretch without a break, one customer sent him over the edge, pushing him over that fine line between sanity and chaos.

“Hey you! Yeah, you moron, I’m talking to you. Walk your slow ass over here, willya?” The customer said, and then proceeded to chew Phil out. Phil couldn’t even get a word in, and finally just let the guy finish. His boss finally came over, barking “What’s going on here!” Phil just walked away. His mind had been set in a new direction, however. Carl, Phil and another employee talked over the situation later, at closing time. Phil played along like all was well. But inside, he plotted.

The next day was Friday. Morning, and the cars began coming in. A couple were left over from yesterday. Phil started on those. Loosen a bolt here. A tranny plug there. Just enough that they would get a distance away before disaster struck. Phil worked like a man possessed. Carl, not realizing what was going on, shrugged it off as him wanting to make amends for yesterday. Thinking, ‘It was not even the poor bastards fault, and look at him. Oh well, we will get more people through today, I guess.’

Around 4PM, the phone rang. Tom, the front desk service guy, picked it up. Phil heard a “Your tire came off? But sir, now wait. WE do guarantee… excuse me, sir…” That would be the car he worked on first thing in the morning. It was time for Phillip to leave. He picked up a large wrench from the toolbox in the back. Walked up to Carl, who was working on a vehicle, and brought down the wrench on his head with all his strength. Carl crumpled down, unconscious. A co-worker looked over, yelled “Hey? What are you doing?”

Phil walked swiftly over, and with the strength of an ox, hit the co-worker before he had a chance to react. His hands came up, deflecting the blow some. Phil hit him two more times on the forehead. He would not be a problem any more. Tom was still in the opposite room, behind some heavy glass, talking on the phone, writing notes. Unaware of what had just taken place. The calls were coming in heavy now. A drained transmission, drained oil, steering fluid. Phil slowly walked out the back door, and threw the wrench in the bushes. He calmly walked over to where his car was parked, and drove out of the parking lot. The first police car arrived soon afterwards.

Phil hummed to himself. That was fun. But he wanted to kill some people a different Italicway this evening. The world spread out before him gloriously as he drove back to his apartment. He was a happy man.

"Quotidian Furies"
Copyright: © 2009 Mike Wilson

Mike Wilson has been writing poetry and short fiction for several years now, and has been published in various small-press publications. He has a short story coming out in this winters edition of Tales of the Talisman periodical. He is also a member of the Iowa Poetry Association. He lives and writes in Des Moines, Iowa, USA.

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