“Have a nice day,” Victor Rento grunted as his customers stepped out of his yellow taxicab. As soon as the door slammed shut he muttered, “Ya animals,” under his breath. He took a quick glance at the large coffee stain left behind by the couple that had just exited his cab. His brow furrowed, nearly uniting his bushy eyebrows, as he felt rage roil within his gut. Violently shifting back into first gear, Victor pulled out from his tight parking place along the overcrowded street, keeping his eyes peeled for more people in need of his service. The enticing smell of fresh bagels slowly faded from existence as he distanced himself from the bakery he had parked outside of. Again, his head snapped back to the conspicuous stain that seemed to sneer at him, amused at his misfortune. A growl formed in the bottom of his throat, a sound that could peel the paint off a wall. It didn’t seem to have any effect on the stain however. Victor turned back, accepting his defeat. Lounging back in his seat, he let his grip on the steering wheel slacken as he realized he was letting himself get worked up over nothing.
“Just breathe Vic, you just gotta breathe,” he sighed, eyeing the pack of cigarettes resting in the cup holder beside him. He quickly tore his eyes away, he was trying to quit.
“It’s still the morning, no point in getting angry yet. Remember what Laura said. Breathe in . . . breathe out,”
After taking a few more deep breaths Victor’s eyes widened in surprise as he felt a wave of calm rush through him. The bitch was right, the stupid exercises do help! He thought, making a mental note to thank her at their next meeting. A moment later the anger returned as he shoved his fist out of the opendriver’s-side window, shaking it furiously at the gridlock of cars before him.
“Move ya MORONS!” Vic shouted, feeling a roughscratch at the back of his throat as he did so. He instantly broke into a violent fit of coughing, the sound akin to that of an old cat, desperately trying to cough up a fur ball. After a few fierce seconds Victor’s convulsions subsided and he drove on in silence, now too tired to even attempt to be angry.
With his fingerswrapped tight around the steering wheel and his jaw firmly clenched, Victor turned the corner, passing onto Central Park West. The dense green foliage of Central Park formed a wall to his right while tall skyscrapers boxed him in on the left. What a stark contrast, Vic noted, longing for a paintbrush and canvas, along with many free hours with which to work. He scoffed, spotting a photographer clicking away on his shutter, instantly capturing the scene on his digital memory card.
“Lazy shmuck,” he mumbled, shaking his head. “Real art requires effort, not just the press of a button,”
The car’s engine whined as Victor turned into the park, hopeful for tourists who had gotten lost and needed a ride out. Shadows of elms and oaks passed over the windshield, causing the light to flash in and out of Victor’s eyes. The man grumbled, adding another annoyance to his growing list. He checked his watch and groaned. It was only 10:30. The whole day was still ahead and he was already in a bad mood. Can it get any worse? Victor wondered, pulling the shade down, trying to shield his eyes from the ever-changing light.
As if in answer to his thoughts, the ground rumbled as a loud boom thundered from behind him. Victors vision flickered white as his forehead slammed against the steering wheel, his body forced forwards by a shockwave.
“What in the hell?” he moaned, rubbing the lump that was starting to form on his forehead. He stopped the car forcefullyand whipped open the door, concerned as to what had just happened. Victor’s eyes fell upon the spacecraft hovering above the skyscrapers, a glowing red sphere slowly dissolvingbeneath it. Black smoke billowed from the smouldering wreck of an office building, the upper portion missing, revealing red-hot beams and girders. Victor was frozen in place, held there by fear and shock. All he could do was stare as a new red globe formed beneath the silver saucer, silently growing and sparking high above. A few seconds later the orb exploded, sending a beam of red light arcing down, obliterating another building. The flash of light was so intense it left Victor blind for a few moments. As his vision returned to normal a scene that he only thought existed in movies developed before his eyes.