Art by Bob AulA few days ago, while driving south on the 405 near Costa Mesa, the traffic swirling around me like something out of Lagos, Nigeria, I pulled in between a massive truck (its grill filled my rear-view mirror) and your tiny Pinto-esque vehicle with a bumper sticker that read "HONK IF YOU LOVE JESUS." So I honked—and thus embarked on the most terrifying few moments of the past year. You very clearly flipped me off and then tapped your brakes. I hit mine to avoid being accordioned by the truck behind me. When I moved to change lanes, you swerved to stay in front of me—and then flipped me off and tapped your brakes again. I backed off. Way off. So did you. Soon cars were flowing around us like river water around rocks. I changed lanes. Twice. You followed, always staying just in front of me. I slowed to 25, you slowed to 25—and then began gesturing at me to pull over. I flashed through a scenario: we'd pull over, I'd explain that I was honking because, like you, I love Jesus, and we'd have a good laugh, share a moment of brotherly love and part friends. Then again, perhaps you'd just shoot me. Perhaps the car wasn't yours. I began to feel like Dennis Weaver in Steven Spielberg's Duel. I pulled around you and sped toward an offramp. You veered toward the offramp, too, but—thank you, Jesus!—too late, and you satisfied yourself with one long honk and what looked like FUCKYOUFUCKYOUFUCKYOUFUCKYOU! I threw my head back and laughed with relief. I had escaped! Or had I? I'm figuring you live around here somewhere and that you're spreading your peculiar brand of Christian goodwill. Like the ripples from a rock in a pond, your toxic behavior may unsettle others. And who knows what evil those people will commit in turn? Please, for Christ's sake, get rid of the bumper sticker.
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