I have a secret temper. It reveals itself once, maybe twice a year, but it's always devastating. When I lose my cool, the effects are felt far and wide, and the world is thrown into turmoil. Ships get caught in violent storms and sink to the bottom of the ocean. Crops fail and the elders weep atop smoky mountains. The sun dies out and eternal darkness overtakes the land.
It takes a lot for me to erupt, but when I do it's sort of like when a drunk girl blacks out after too many Mike's Hard Lemonades. I forget who I am and become a monster.
Perhaps this is hyperbole, but the fact remains: deep down, I'm a crazy murderous nutjob. A few nights ago my temper exposed itself for the first time in ages, and for once, it may have been justified.
Picture it. Sicily, 1912. Oh, wait, that's how Sophia Petrillo starts her stories, not me. Sorry, let me start over.
Picture it. Portland, 2011. It was a warm, pleasant night, and I was driving home with the car windows down. The evening was peaceful and I found myself mostly alone on the road. The calm was disrupted, however, when I heard a faint chk chk chk sound from the side of the road, immediately followed by several tiny yellow objects sailing through the air directly in front of my windshield. A few more of them smacked into the side of my car. Then, before I even had time to realize what was happening, a final little yellow paintball was fired through the open passenger side window and pelted me upside the head.
I immediately pulled over and got out of the car, scanning the the opposite side of the road, and noticed a couple of kids with paintball guns. They were trying, and largely failing, to hide behind some bushes. It was obvious the little bastards had been firing paintballs at passing cars.
I lost it.
It was no use trying to bottle my rage. A throbbing welt was already forming on the side of my head. The kids in the bushes realized I could see them. They stood up, and we stared at each other for a brief, tense moment, realizing all hell was about to break loose.
They dropped their guns and ran off into the trees. I chased after them, fueled by unbridled rage.
I pursued them through the trees for a while, unsure of what I was going to do if I caught them. I had yellow paint dripping down my face and murder in my heart.
I chased the kids back to their house. They leapt in through an open window–the same window, I imagine, they had snuck out of earlier. One of the kids tried to close the window behind him, but I was too close. I nearly grabbed him, but he leapt away.
I grabbed at nothing, flailing savagely, screaming at them, and they screamed back at me. For what seemed like an eternity, all we did was scream.
I'd lost myself in that moment. It was then that I should have taken a step back and analyzed the situation. Had cooler heads prevailed, I might've calmly knocked on the front door and explained to the parents that they were raising tiny demon asshole children, and could they please remedy the situation, preferably with something sharp? But no, a switch had been flipped, and there was no turning back. I'd been shot in the face, and all I could taste then was vengeance.
Suddenly the door to the kids' room burst open. A woman stood in the doorway, looming large and dominant.
At that point there were four of us screaming, at everything and nothing, a maddening din of confusion and anger. Then the women grabbed a broom from somewhere in the hallway and began jabbing it out the window at me.
I realized that the best course of action would be to just leave, since I clearly wasn't getting anywhere. I glared at the woman and backed away slowly, leaving her to ponder what the hell had just happened.
Feeling defeated, I returned to my vehicle.
No less furious than before, I kicked a tree on the way back, as if that could possibly be an outlet for my rage.
I did so clumsily, and my ankle twisted awkwardly and painfully upon impact. Cursing my prolonged bad luck, I limped the rest of the way to my car, drove home, and went to bed. Still fuming, I promised that when I wrote about the incident later, I'd fabricate a new ending where I slaughter the children with a makeshift stone dagger and feast upon their still-beating hearts under a full moon.
In the morning, the damage to my ankle was obvious, and significantly more severe than I'd realized. By daybreak it had swollen to an alarming size.
For the rest of the week I was incapacitated and disgruntled, limping around like a slightly less bitchy Heather Mills.
I don't know how I should've handled that situation. Should I have called the cops? Set fire to the kid's house? On the plus side, I feel my blind rage was justified for a change. On the downside, it turns out I'm no match for a couple of 9-year-olds. And isn't that the real tragedy?