Tuesday, December 18, 2012


“Are we there yet?” came the classic chime from the back seat.
            “For the last time, Connor, we’ll get there when we get there,” his father repeated back flatly.
            “Oh Charles,” his wife teasingly admonished, “don’t you remember when you were a boy?”
            “Sorry Claire,” Charles said. “It’s just this blasted fog—we’ve been in it for almost an hour now. I guess it’s just starting to get to me.”
            Claire turned around and smiled gently at Connor.
            “Now why don’t you be more like Sylvia or Stevie, hmm?”
            “Aww mom, that’s not fair. My 3DS battery died,” he said looking down at the dark handheld console in his hands. “She brought a book, it’s not the same.”
            He looked over at his youngest brother who was strapped into a booster seat between them. Stevie’s head was tilted, a small stream of drool leaking from his mouth.
            “And Stevie’s asleep,” Connor whined. “Plus all he can say is ‘ball’, ‘ookie’, and ‘poop’.”
            As if to reply, a squeak of a fart came from the napping toddler. The entire car broke into giggles.
            “Trust me, Connor,” Charles said. “Nobody wants to be done with this trip more than me.”
            No sooner had he said that when a truck with blinding lights passed by.
            “I think that’s the first car we’ve seen since we’ve been in this fog, isn’t it?” Claire queried.
            “I think so,” said Charles.
            He glanced into the rearview. Connor had his nose in a book as usual, while Sylvia played with her new Leap Pad they had just got her. They seemed to not even notice the truck.
            “Hey,” Charles said to the whole car. “It’s been a while since the four of us have been in the car together, why don’t we play a game?”
            Claire stared indifferently, silently out the window. As he looked again into the rearview mirror he saw neither of his children move their heads.
            “What I wouldn’t give to be out of this fog,” Charles sighed.
            Another truck passed a moment later.
            “That was a close one, huh guys?” Charles asked.
            “You bet, Dad.” Sylvia said.
            Connor just continued to stare silently out the window. Charles almost said something to him, but stopped. He really couldn’t blame the boy.
            “Hey, Dad,” Sylvia chimed.
            “Yeah honey?”
            “How much longer do you think we’ll be in this fog? It’s kinda giving me the creeps.”
            “Trust me honey, I would get us out of this blasted mist if I could.”
            As they rounded a bend they passed yet another truck.
            “So buddy, how’s it going? You still hanging in there, champ?” Charles said looking over at Connor.
            The young boy made a swipe across the tablet. A sword sound effect immediately followed.
            “Yes!” Connor said with a small fist pump. “Sorry, Dad—it was the last level of Fruit Ninja.”
            “It’s ok, sport. I was figuring with such a long ride that maybe we could talk a little,” Charles said.
            Connor put the tablet down and looked at this father.
            “Sure dad. What’s up?”
            “Oh nothing really, school going good? Everything fine?” Charles raised an incredulous eyebrow, “any . . . girls?”
            “Dad!” Connor turned away as his face went flush.
            “Sorry, sorry. I was just trying to lighten the mood a little. This darn fog is just starting to get to me.”
            As the car crested a hill a truck passed by.
            Charles couldn’t help but sigh. Such a long trip, all by himself, what was he to do?
            As if to answer, his bladder gave him a sudden biological urge.
            He pulled off onto the shoulder, turned his four-ways on, and left the car idling.
            As annoying as the fog was, at least no one could see him relieving himself through the dense mist. He stepped a few paces into the woods, just in case, and found a promising looking tree.
            Finished with his business, he made his way back to the car. Charles glanced up at the sky as he stepped over the guiderail.
            “Man, I could use some sunlight right about now,” came the last words he ever spoke.
            When the two troopers found the car later that night, its four-ways were still faintly pulsing, and the keys were in the ignition. The engine had run itself out of gas some time earlier, but the hood was still warm to the touch. The younger trooper walked around the vehicle, stopping at the back. His older partner examined the interior. The inside was spotless, even having the ‘new car smell’.
            “Hey Bob,” the younger man called from behind the car. “Have you ran the VIN yet?”
            “No. What’s the matter Clint?”
            “I think you need to come see this for yourself.”
            The elder patrol man came around at looked where the rookie had the flash light pointed.
            “So? It’s just one of those wildlife license plates, what’s the big deal.”
            “Yeah that’s what I thought at first. But look again. I wasn’t the best at geography back in high school, but I did have to learn all the states and even Canadian providences . . . ” Clint trailed off.
            “Look, I don’t see—” Bob started to say.
            “Absaroka,” Clint said flatly.
            “Where exactly is the state of Absaroka again? For that matter, what year did ‘Forzuka’ make a car called a ‘Centurian’?”
            As both men stood bewildered, unsure of what to do next, the last of the fog lifted itself clear of the tree tops.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Something on your mind? Feel free to share.