Cobra Down

Today’s Scintilla Project prompt that inspired my story is “Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. Write about a time when you taught someone a lesson you didn’t want to teach.”. 


Cobra was one of those guys you really couldn’t avoid. He was big, burly and – oh God – loud. He was also student-in-charge of the computer lab. I think he took that title very seriously, too. At any given time you could walk in and find him either hunched over a keyboard completing a drawing or sprawled across two chairs, snoring with his mouth wide open.

We soon came to realize that he was the kind of guy who acted like he didn’t care you were a lady. Not in the good way, but more in the “I-know-you’re-a-chick-but-I’ll-pretend-you’re-not-but-I-really-know-you-are-and-it-gives-me-perverse-sense-of-power” kind of way. Also, I can’t say this enough – he was a big man. He thought he was coming off as playful at times, but he was capable of leaving strangle marks on your neck, even if it was for fun. You only cracked a joke at his expense if you could run like the wind after. I, unfortunately, discovered that fact after I found myself dangling upside-down by the feet while I struggled to keep the ends of my blouse modestly in place with one hand.

Now I’m the sort of person who never thinks to reprimand people invading my space until, say, it becomes really unbearable. I’m tolerant and appropriate, which unfortunately works against me in moments such as these. Cobra was dating my roommate, and after she moved in with him, I rarely got to see him, which worked fine for me.

One wintry day, our HOD brought an assignment for a couple of us to work on, and Cobra happened to be on the team. The deadline was in two days, so my three friends and I spent the night at the studio. The next morning, groggy-eyed, we stepped into the computer lab to resume our work. Cobra was at the far end of the lab, working alone.

Bear in mind, at this point, none of us had had our morning tea or a good night’s rest, so we were the bitchiest, smelliest, most unpleasant students you just didn’t want to know.

Cobra stretched and yawned for what seemed like a minute and a half, and I must have said something rather snide, because the next thing I knew, he’d grabbed onto my scarf with one hand and wound it tightly around my neck and started to pull.

I began to panic. “Cobra, no, no… You’re hurting me, Cobra, stop!” But as usual, he wasn’t listening. This was all a perverse game to him.

It was in that moment, that I saw everything so clearly. He had used the fingers of his left hand to prop himself against the table while his right hand was knotted in my scarf. It took me less than a second to raise my left fist up high and swiftly punch his fingernails on the table.


“You have NO idea how rough you can be, Cobra, I had to let you know that you were hurting me!” I yelled back.

“You fucking bitch, don’t you mess with me ever again!”

“No, YOU listen to me, Cobra, don’t YOU ever mess with ME again. I hope you’ve learnt your lesson.”

He muttered obscenities at me while exiting the computer lab. There was silence for about a minute, before my friends began to congratulate me for what I had done. I sat there, shaking, still trying to process what I had done before I could start to laugh it off. I had just reminded myself that I wasn’t a doormat anymore.

As for Cobra, he never bothered me again.


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