It was last call at the Winter Beater, my favored watering hole. My friend Tim was showing me a series of photos on the local city complaints app. We were laughing at some of the absurd comments, ranging from a polemic about Communist traffic light timings to a death threat about off-leash areas. It was all really funny until I saw a picture of one of my cars.

“THIS PIECE OF JUNK IS SO RUSTY,” read the invective, seemingly leaping off the high-quality IPS screen of Tim’s smartphone. “TOW IT AWAY AND HELP SECURE THE EXISTENCE OF OUR NEIGHBORHOOD AND A FUTURE FOR NEW CARS.” I frowned and pulled out my own smartphone, quickly scanning for any other references to my cars. I wasn’t prepared for what I found.


There were a few dozen complaints, nothing world-shattering, but I could tell that there was an obvious movement underfoot in my neighborhood to unseat me. Rants about the ugliness of my Polish commuter car, the depressing state of my multiple Little British Car projects-in-waiting. But they all seemed to be written by the same hand. Now I had a theory to work from.

Bidding Tim farewell, I stepped out into the arctic weather, snow blowing into my face. I wrapped my Datsun scarf tightly around my face and jumped in my monoposto Miata snowcat, spinning the treads on the wet tarmac left behind by the inadequate snowplowing service. Grimacing at the sound of salt hitting the quarter panels, I ripped the snowcat through the backroads and some public parks, arriving quickly at my neighborhood.

I located the Renault Fuego Turbo that had been targeted in the first complaint using my homemade beater-finding app, and immediately conducted an assessment of the area. It didn’t take long at all to confirm the theory; the just-sold yuppie infill was right across the street. I had seen the owner eyeing me suspiciously while angle-grinding leaf spring brackets just the previous wintry afternoon.

I thought about my next few options. Violent revenge was one idea, but I had been told by my behavioral psychologist that violence is not always the way. That made the entire situation pretty awkward, as you can imagine. I returned to my study and perched atop an unoccupied engine crane to brood. After only a few hours, it struck me like a bolt of pure light. I would get my revenge, but it would be a dish best served cold.


For the next few weeks, I worked feverishly in my spare room. Friends would send me inquisitive messages, drop by to make sure I was still eating, occasionally threaten to call my court-ordered social worker and tell them what is going on. I would politely but brusquely dismiss them, returning to my magnum opus. Finally it was done.

The next morning, I came out to see a squadron of police officers slamming my yuppie neighbor’s face into the Gallic tin of my Fuego’s hood. The newspaper website that morning read “HUMAN GARBAGE ARRESTED FOR RECORD BYLAW INFRACTIONS, FINED $3.2 BILLION.” The subhed said it all: “CITY BUDGET CRISIS SOLVED.” I turned from my breakfast nook, reaching my backyard just as my swarm of evidence-capture drones swooped in for a landing, happily beeping as they engaged their chargers.


It turns out all you really need to ruin a man’s life is two terabytes of him not using his turn signal.

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