Daily Prompt: Permit (fiction)

From The Cat Lady.

(My rules: Post an on-the-spot piece of fiction based on the daily prompt. It has to be written quickly, in one sitting, with no major rewriting, just minor edits for spelling and typos. Minimum of 250 words. Ready, set, go!)

via Daily Prompt: Permit

She finished the day by throwing a stranger’s cell phone off the shuttle.

She was sitting in a seat. Minding her own business. Enduring. Public transportation was annoying at the best of times, but today, it was torturous.

First, the guy standing closest to her was exercising zero control over his briefcase. It kept slamming into her knee every time the shuttle swayed.

Second, even though there were a good dozen empty seats, the older woman across the aisle kept glaring at her.

In her experience, there was always at least one older woman on the shuttle who seemed to think that sitting down required a minimum threshold of grey and/or white hair. Her own thin (but noticeable!) streak of white did not meet that threshold.

Sometimes, just for fun, she would endure the glaring until the shuttle reached her stop. Then she would slowly, painfully, lever herself to her feet and limp away. She didn’t know if it actually made any of the hateful women feel guilty, but she imagined that it did. She was very good at making it look like walking was stunningly painful.

Third, there was a guy on his cell phone. Talking. Incessantly. Loudly. About things people really didn’t want to hear. Like how some woman had told him she couldn’t have sex with him because she had a yeast infection, and wasn’t that just the lamest excuse ever, she was probably lying, but no, he didn’t want to go there anyway, she was a total skank, and anyway, did that stop her from giving him a blowjob? Not hardly. But she wouldn’t do that, either, so he’d totally wasted the ten bucks he’d spent buying her a drink.

If pressed, she’d have to admit that she’d heard similar drek on the shuttle before. And no, she hadn’t done anything about it those other times. This time? This time, it was too much. One horrible conversation too many, maybe. Or just the end of a bad day. The guy would probably tell his buddies later that she must’ve been on the rag. Whatever the reason, a bright little red explosion flashed behind her eyes, and she stood up.

The shuttle was just arriving at a station. It stopped. The doors opened. People got off. People got on. The bing-bong of the message began. The doors were about to slide shut. She snatched the phone out of his hand as he was complaining about how hard it was to be single and tossed it through the doors.

He emitted a startled bleat and turned on her, face flushing red with alarming speed. The doors started to close. For a moment, he hovered, undecided: unload on the bitch who just threw his phone… or retrieve his phone?

Presumably, he contemplated life without his phone and found it bleak. He turned and dove through the doors just before they closed. For a moment, the doors hesitated, detecting an obstruction, and she thought he might have time to grab the phone and jump back on. The doors apparently decided they didn’t like him, either, and after that brief pause, they slid shut firmly and the shuttle continued on without him.

She sat back down, the shuttle now blissfully silent. The older woman had stopped glaring and was now side-eyeing her. The man with the briefcase moved a few steps away, which meant that his briefcase was no longer assaulting her leg.

“I just can’t permit that sort of behavior,” she said, her voice quiet and regretful.

On the one hand, calling attention to herself just now wasn’t smart. On the other, it might actually provide some additional cover. It was unlikely that anyone would expect a fugitive to do something like that. Something to deliberately draw attention. Later, of course, someone might say something, might put two and two together, but for now?

For now, she was just the woman who’d thrown a stranger’s phone off the shuttle.

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