That’s odd,I thought. Didn’t I leave the blinds open? I glanced around my room and everything looked okay. I couldn’t point to anything that was out of place. Or missing. But still, something struck me as different.
I was home a couple days early from my stay in Sophia. I went into my kitchen. Two dirty coffee cups sat on the table, but they weren’t mine. I didn’t drink coffee at home. Dirty spoons had dried rings of coffee in them and around them. I didn’t even have any coffee in the apartment.
Leaving the kitchen I looked at more closely at everything. But who breaks into an apartment to have a cup of coffee? I called a colleague, a Bulgarian English teacher whose apartment overlooked mine. “Radina,” I said and told her about the coffee. “Did you see anyone around my apartment.” Bulgarians do not use their balconies for staring off into the distance. The odds were small she’d have answer.
“Oh, yes,” she said. “You know, don’t you, that the headmaster and his girlfriend go to your apartment?”
I look out my window and I can see Radina’s balcony. “He does what?” The apartment belonged to him. Of course, he had a key. Two buildings from this one he had a wife and daughter. I’d met the mistress at a school party. She’d worn a tight leather dress. “Thanks for telling me,” I said.
I’ll see you at school tomorrow.”
Hanging up the phone I stared at my narrow bed. They wouldn’t. I grabbed the pink coat I’d left hanging in my entryway. I’d go for a walk. See Radina. I thrust my hands in my pockets. There was something in there. An open packet of coffee. She’d worn my coat.
That evening the locksmith Radina called for me changed my locks. In the morning and wearing my pink coat, I showed up at my headmaster’s office. “You are back here early,” he said, eyes wide.
I smiled. “Yes! I am.” I put my old key on his desk. “Oh, and I changed the lock on my apartment door and only I have the new key,” I said. “Have a wonderful day.”
He told many lies about me after that. But it was worth it.
Revenge is tempting. Most of the time I don’t bother (and the times I have are stories for other days), but, like a few of you commented on yesterday’s post, a character is annoying if they do nothing. The danger is taking revenge in fiction. That is, using a story to get back at someone in real life. (Not so foolish as to say who.)
There’s using true experiences in your fiction, and then there’s venting frustration and hurt. Not necessarily bad things unless they get in the way of the story. Or get you sued. I’m not above taking people I’ve known and tossing them into a story in some wicked fashion, but I try not to let my anger hijack the work.
Ever written a story to get back at someone? Did it work?