Mind Games

I do not like being bullied into giving tips with passive-aggressive, thinly veiled expectation.

The traffic warden at the junction near my home gets a little too enthusiastic whenever he sees my car approaching, simply because I ‘dash’ him a little something every now and then.

The thing is, I can sense his expectation building when he spots me.  It seeps into my car even though the windows are rolled up, sucking all the air inside, very nearly suffocating me.  It bullies me into paying the unspoken toll fare, if only to end my anguish and also abate my concern that his face might zig-zag crack if it had to sustain the pasted-on smile for much longer.  


As I drive closer, our eyes meet. We try to step into each other’s heads. To give or not to give this time?  Will I receive or not this time? The trumpets sound: