"Hate Bracelet" by Cheryl Orth


Lisa sits 
down on a tree stump after work to enjoy her bottle of brandy. She is off the beaten path in a wooden area that is only used by the local deer hunters. It is early May, so it is not likely that there will be any people. For this reason, Lisa likes to come out here. 

   Born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Lisa knows where to go in any season to be alone. Out here in early spring is perfect. The weather is warm. The snow is finally melting, not many bugs and absolutely no people. She can sit andrink with no distractions.  

   She doesn't have to mingle with the disgusting human race. People and Lisa do not mix well. Never have and never will if she has anything to do with it. Her favorite fantasy is that a bomb wipes them all out and she is the only one left to do whatever she pleases. She has learned that she can't count on anybody but herself. So, why should she try to be with the assholes?

Part 2

   She just finished her morning shift at the town's greasy spoon. She is the longest employee there now except for June. But June won't be there much longer; she is pushing sixty and moves like she is eighty. Lisa can feel her jaw tighten when she thinks about her boss Jimmy has the nerve to tell her today to pick up the pace. He is always on her ass! Why doesn't he say something to the hag beast June, the slowest bitch in the U.P.? She feels herself filling up with rage. She can't wait to escape into that brandy-induced euphoria where all things blur together like a warm fuzzy haze. 

   Before she can even get the cap off of her brandy, she hears a car pull up on the old deserted road. Lisa becomes angry. She thinks it is either a tourist who is lost or a local wanting to tweak. Neither of these two is she in the mood for. 

   She hates tourists with their stupid vacation grins and their bratty fat kids. The women always seem surprised that Yoopers have indoor plumbing. The men are all douchebags who think they are going to catch the biggest fish or bag the biggest buck. She was just robbed by one last week leaving the local tavern. It is Chris Hanson's boy who has done it, but no one believes her. Craig owns a lumber shop, so, of course, his son can do no wrong! She knows everyone in this horrid town, and she hates every single resident in it. 

   She can feel her heart race and her jaw tighten. The thought of that punk-ass, zit-face geek holding her up! She starts to fantasize about beating his face to a pulp with a baseball bat. 

  She sighs with pleasure and turns to look and see if she can make out a license plate. The fancy silver car is sporting a vanity Illinois plate, GLDR08. Lisa shakes her head. Definitely a tourist. A douchebag golfer tourist. She hates whoever is in the car already.

Part 3

   It always has been so easy for Lisa to get angry. Life has made it so that rage is just a part of her day. She wakes up with it in the morning, wears it like a fine piece of jewelry all through the day; at night she snuggles up to it in bed. 

   All of the hate she feels toward the world buzzes around her like an annoying housefly. Constant, never-ending, and maddening. The only relief she gets from it is when she drinks herself to numbness. This is all she wants to do today, but some idiots are interfering with her withdrawal from the world.

   She looks toward the car and, then, scooches down on the other side of the stump. Hopefully, they don’t see her. She will just guzzle her brandy until they leave. If they are lost, they won’t stay here long. It is a little spooky back here, especially to whiny, spoiled, rich golfer tourists. God, she hates them with a passion. 

   She has to stop herself from marching over there and telling them to drag their phony asses out of here. She wants to throw her bottle at their windshield. She hopes they have a fat bratty kid in there so it will be scared shitless if she does. Lisa feels a Grinch-like grin spread wide over her face.

   She hears the door open, and, then, she hears a voice. She can’t tell if it’s laughter or crying. She really could care less. She just wants them to leave. She takes a hard tug on her brandy. Lisa instantly relaxes to the familiar burn in the back of her throat and closes her eyes in ecstasy. Ahhhh, she thinks about how much she loves brandy. 

   She takes another swig and savors the feeling of liquid fire running down her and throughout her whole body. She closes her eyes and tries to enjoy the moment but the noise becomes louder and this time she is sure the noise is crying. A male sobbing, snorting snot, and choking. The type of crying that is totally uncontrollable. Lisa is unmoved. 

   “Jesus Christ,” she mutters. 

  Just what she wants to listen to. Some grown-ass man sobbing. It makes her anger flare up, again, and she can feel her bony cheeks get hot. She takes another tug at her bottle.

   The sobbing and choking last for about two more minutes; then, at least, there is just silence. Lisa is happy; she thinks he has his composure and is going to leave. She waits about five minutes, but there is nothing but silence. Even the birds seem to have stopped chirping. 

   Lisa is afraid to move because it is so quiet. She doesn’t want that idiot to hear her and, then, wants to cry to her about his stupid problems. His poor-me bullshit. He probably is sad over his bitch of a wife or some jerk off who got a better golf score than he did. Boohoo! Try living her life for one day! That weak asshole!

Part 4

   Lisa thinks about how she lived her childhood years getting raped by her stepdad. She also thinks about how her mother blamed Lisa for her husband’s child-molesting ways. She can feel her body tremble with rage. She is starting to hate this crying stupid man more than her mother. More than the evil bitch who tore her insides up so bad with a coat hanger that she can’t have her own babies—her own bratty monsters to screw up her own way. All of the men she had felt a little love for always left because they got a skank pregnant or they wanted to get a skank pregnant. Nobody wanted her barren ass. 

  At forty-four years old, Lisa still feels the pain of that day when she was sixteen. Thinking of that day always builds up rage so strong that it consumes every cell in her body until there is nothing left but bright red fury vibrating under her pale freckly skin.

  Lisa realizes that she is gritting her teeth. Her jaw is throbbing, and her teeth feel as if she can’t pull the top row from the bottom row. Also, she notices that her hands are clenched and there is sweat dripping down her back. She feels on fire with hate. She wants a drink, but she is afraid to move because of this stupid ignorant crybaby piece of shit. 

  The more she thinks about not being able to drink her brandy the more Lisa’s vision becomes red. Why should this asshole hinder her the one thing that makes her day tolerable? All of a sudden, Lisa jumps up and starts storming towards the man. She is breathing and can feel the venom in her mouth. She feels like she can kill him with one vicious bite on his skin. She pictures her hateful poison flowing through his body and turning him to ashes.

   “What the hell is your problem?” she spits at him, then, takes a huge swig of her brandy. “Get your ass in your car and drag it the hell outta here!” 

   The man looks astonished. She notices his huge brown eyes, receding dark hairline, and grey business suit. He probably is crying over his job, Lisa thinks. That thought enrages her to her boiling point. How would he like to wait on obnoxious pigs all day? Pigs who bitch about the prices and how little food they get. Lisa thinks about the filthy change she is left by customers, and her mouth starts to water like a rabid dog. Lisa doesn’t wait for him to respond; she wants to move in for the kill. 

  “Listen here ya’ douchebag; nobody cares about your cry-baby ass. Why don’t you kill yourself and rid the world of your sorry ass! You’re pathetic!”

  The man is shocked by the yelling skinny woman with hair that has been bleached blond so many times that it looks as if a strong wind can blow the yellow fuzz off her head. While she is ranting, he notices that her clothes look very dated, decades behind. Her sweatshirt is a dull blue. The collar and sleeves have been cut, and they hang off her bony shoulders. Every joint seems, then, exaggerated because of her limbs being just skin and bones. It must take her hours to get that much goop on her eyelashes, he thinks. Then, he has an image of Tammy Faye Bakker. Lisa takes another step toward the man with her free hand on her hip. 

   “Moron! Thanks for ruining my day, prick!” She starts to march off in a huff towards the road.

Part 5

   She is so pissed about the man in his stupid gray suit and his stupid balding head and his stupid crying. He probably has the whole world handed to him, and he’s out here crying like a spoiled brat. Lisa guzzles down her brandy. She takes huge gulps too fast, then, starts to choke. She looks between the coughs and sees him just sitting in the driver’s seat staring off into the distance. Lisa, finally, stops choking and gets her breath back. She is irate. 

  She hollers, “What’s your problem anyway? Did you lose your big corporate job? Wife leave ya’ for a real man?"

  Everything in her eyesight is tinted red with rage. She wants to hurt this man. This man who has it all. This man who never had pain of any sort in his whole selfish life. She grabs her bottle and envisions bashing him in his huge forehead, hitting him so hard that he starts to bleed. She is so excited thinking this that her breath comes out in short little pants.

   The man gets out of his car and sits on his trunk. He folds his fingers, looks toward the ground, then, up at Lisa. 

  “No. None of that is my problem.” 

  Lisa, then, sees him reach into his coat pocket and pull out a gun. She freezes at first, but, then, her anger gets the best of her. She isn’t going to let some hotshot prick scare her. She is tired of being bossed around by people. 

  “Go ahead and shoot me! I could care less. I ain’t afraid to die, asshole. And I am especially not afraid of a weasely, boring, milk toast like you!” 

  She is screaming at the top of her lungs, and she can feel her jaw sticking out baring her teeth. The tendons in her neck start to hurt. She starts walking towards him wanting him to know that he doesn’t scare her one bit.

  The man holds his hand up. 

  “Whoa lady, I’m not going to shoot you. I found out today that I have stage four lung cancer.” 

   A second passes; then, the man holds the gun up to his mouth and pulls the trigger. Lisa jumps and lets out a little yell. She stands there for a few minutes just staring at the limp man on the trunk with his head blown off. Eventually, he slides off the trunk to the ground. 

  Lisa is surprised that it hardly makes a sound. She takes the last swig of her brandy, then, throws the bottle into the woods. Lisa wishes she had cancer or any disease that will take her out of this world. She thinks of how lucky that bastard is and starts to see the world turn red again. Better head up to the store to get more brandy, she thinks.

  Lisa realizes that she is wrong about why the man is crying. But she still doesn’t care. He still had it better than she ever did. He was a weak, selfish prick, and she hopes nobody finds him for at least three weeks. 

“Good riddance, ya’ pansy!” 

  Lisa squats down to pee and flips the dead man off. She pulls up her baggy acid-washed jeans and heads to the store to get another bottle of brandy. Hopefully, this one makes the fuzzies last longer, and she isn’t interrupted by a moron.

  And she turns around just to give one more glance, and a tear falls on her cheek. She wipes it away quickly with her sleeve, turns around, continues walking away.

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