Kids These Days

February 9, 2006

Jimmy and Samantha sat in the back of the car as it tore across the highway at nearly double the speed limit. The road was clear and dark, and the 96 Sedan’s headlights splashed limply across the road before them. The plains spread out for miles around, barren and listless.

Sitting would not be a truly accurate description, though, for it implies some level of passivity. There was none between the two of them – instead, they pinched and poked at each other’s weak spots, while at the same time fiercely fighting over the loaded gun between the two of them.

The sounds of their voices wailed like sirens in the night.

“Daaad! He’s hitting me, make him stop!”

“Well she won’t leave me alone, she keeps come over to my side, and trying to take my stuff.”

“It’s not yours, it’s mine!”

“No, mine!”

Murphy Giovanni, often called ‘Murphy the Tooth’ – their father – felt his teeth continue to grind together, and a sharp pain lance through his jaw. “Enough! Be quiet! So help me god, if you two don’t shut your mouths, I will turn this car right around!”

After the explosion, a moment of deafening silence fell upon the dirty beige interior of the car. It lasted for approximately three and a half seconds.

“Moooom! Dad’s yelling at us!”

“He’s probably just mad we’re better thieves than him.”

“She’s not a better thief, I’m a better thief! I’m the one that stole the cop’s gun when he wasn’t looking.”

“Well I’m the one who shot him, so there, dummy. Thbbbt!” Samantha stuck her tongue out at Jimmy, who scrunched up his face and growled at her.

Another anguished shout came from the front of the car. “Yes, Sam! Yes, you shot him, and that’s bad! That’s very bad! Thats why we are out here in the middle of the freaking night, hoping he doesn’t wake up until we’re in the next state. Jesus!”

Samantha let go of the gun, which rocketed back into Jimmy’s lap and made him yelp. She burrowed down into her seat corner, her lower limp prominently thrust out. “You’re always saying we should act like our role models, but as soon as we do, noooooo, you just yell at us!”

“I never said act like me! And I’m a thief, not a killer! I don’t want my freaking kids shooting people!”

“Well maybe we don’t wanna be like you, dad,” his daughter sneered at him. “Maybe we wanna be like mom! She’s the best hitman in the state, thats what you always said!”

Quietly, from the front seat, came a sigh. “Murphy, dear, will you please tell your children that we prefer the term ‘hitwoman.’ And would you please tell them that winging a cop in the arm hardly qualifies them as cold-blooded killers?”

“My children!?” Murphy’s hand’s clenched bone white around the steering wheel. “How come as soon as they do something bad, they’re my children, huh? Sam just said it herself, they were using you as a role model!”

Jimmy’s voice rose out from the back seat again. “Daaaad!”

“For the love of Christ, what is it now?”

“I hafta go to the bathroom.”

As the car screeched off to the side of the highway and to a jarring halt, Murphy muttered under his breath. “I said it was a bad idea to visit your mother. Every freaking year, its the same damn thing!”

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