You and your little brother were in the back seat of the car. You had already eaten yourself sick of every single bit of candy left in your Christmas stockings. You played with your Etch-a-Sketch for nearly 100 miles but that had long since lost its charms. You marched the little plastic cowboys and horses around the back seat of the Pontiac.
You started playing "I spy with my little eye" with your little brother but as always, he kept laughing and going off track and spying the wrong stuff and rolling the window up and down a million times. He then kicked the front seat 100 times and bopped you on the shoulder 100 times to see if you'd do anything. Your complaints kept escalating but Mom and Dad were oblivious, arguing about the road directions, unfolding a huge road atlas, and cursing.
Your little brother keeps hitting you and knocking the little cowboys over and laughing hysterically like a hyena. When you yell at him, Mom turns around and tells *you* to be quiet, she's concentrating. She is in an utter state of obliviousness about your obnoxious little brother's antics and carryings-on there in the back seat of the Pontiac. She's looking for Flint.
Another 100 miles go by and your brother alternatively sings the Mickey Mouse song at the top of his lungs, spies the wrong I-spy stuff and keeps laughing hysterically like a hyena, or claims haughtily "I'm on the cow side" so that you lose *that* game too -- he even finds a Rhode Island license plate. Your cowboys are all scattered on the floor. Your Mom has turned around for about the millionth time and told *you* to be quiet *again* -- even though it's your little brother who is singing the "Ants Go Marching Song" on about round 1,972.
All of a sudden, Dad pulls the car over into a Savarin restaurant. Mom looks startled. Little Brother stops his song in mid-note. "Out of the car," says Dad tersely to your brother. "But Daaaaaaaadddd," he begins wailing. "I don't waannnna...."
Mom gets out and she and your little brother switch seats. He goes up front and and slams the door and settles in. You're glaring in the back seat and your Mom starts to tell you some long boring story about Michigan, stopping now and then to tell you that you should be nicer to your little brother and be setting him a good example.
Somewhere out of the corner of your ear you hear your Dad say, "Look in the glove compartment for the Lifesavers" and "Find me a station." Your brother, his cheeks swollen with Butterscotch rings, turns around toward you in the back seat, and gives you the biggest, gloatingest, nastiest, smug, shit-eating grin that a little brother who is in-trouble-but-not-really-in-trouble can ever give you. Because see, when Dad punishes him, he gets to run the radio stations and eat the Lifesavers.
You'd love to slap him, but you can't, Mom's droning away there next to you in the back seat and she'd kill you.
But...Dad gets only about 8 miles out of the rest stop when in it happens. You know the term they have for little kids, "projectile vomit"? All over the windshield, the dashboard, the front seat, Dad's raincoat. He pulls over again, a stony tower of glower. "Clean him up!" he barks to Mom, and she scuttles for the Bounty and the thermos.
"You get up here now," says Dad, turning toward you. Gingerly, stretching your legs from their long cramp in the back seat, you come up to the front seat. At last, the front seat is yours! You have maximum access to the Butterscotch drops. The radio tuner is within your reach. Dad's whistling a happy tune now, and the wailing in the back seat is now subsiding. Mom is singing a lullaby.
Life is grand. Except you're sitting in a seat damp with your brother's vomit, the window is stuck closed on your side, and there are still 600 miles to go.