Parallel 49


What had thus far proved to be the best vacation ever had now taken a turn for the worse. Mom and Dad sat on the edge of the bed, screaming at the TV as if it had stolen their fruit rollups from their lunches.

“Son of bitch. I can’t believe this. How stupid are people?”

Dawn tried watching with them. As far as she could tell, red brought swears and blue brought grunts. To the disappointment of both her and her parents, red seemed far more common. It only took a number of minutes for Dawn to get bored.

“Can I go to the pool?”

“Not without Mommy or Daddy, honey.”

“Can you go to the pool with me, then?”

“No, honey. Mommy and Daddy are watching TV.”

“Can you watch it later and go to the pool with me?”

“Sorry, honey. We need to watch the TV now. Fucking piece of shit!”

Dawn tried to use her pouty face, but another red block had appeared on the television, and Mom and Dad did not pay attention to her. How could that be? The pouty face always worked.

“I swear to God. How stupid are people?”

Dawn had heard a lot about God. Her parents told her He wasn’t real. Some of the kids at school had told her the exact opposite. They told her He watched everyone from above, that He knew when she did bad things. Dawn did not want to believe in God, but what if He was real? Like the Tooth Fairy? Or unicorns? Sometimes the people on the TV would talk about God. Mom and Dad would turn off the TV and swear at it when that happened.

More important, however, was Dawn’s need for something to do. It took little time for her to decide her next move. The room possessed two beds, one of which now remained unoccupied, and she intended to take full advantage of that fact.

She jumped off the bed Mom and Dad sat on and onto the floor, making her way over to the second bed closer to the door. The door had a cool hole in it that you could look through to see people on the other side. Upon arrival, she had complained until Mom and Dad picked her up and let her see through the hole. There had been no one on the other side.

Now on the empty bed, Dawn jumped up and down, the feel of the bedsprings under her pink-socked feet something she would never feel on her futon mattress in the truck. After only a few moments of fun, Mom and Dad interrupted.

“Honey, stop that. There are people trying to sleep in the other rooms.”

“God fucking damn it!”

“What? Again? How stupid are people?”

Dawn tried bouncing up and down, only quieter, continually eyeing her parents to see if they’d notice. They didn’t, but bouncing quietly wasn’t any fun, so she plopped down in the loudest way possible. If she couldn’t have any fun, why should they?

Boredom kept coming back to upset her like bath day. What else could she do to have fun? Her toys! Of course. She flopped off the bed and over to her backpack. It was pink, and it had blue ponies on it. They made her happy. Inside the backpack sat the clothes she had worn during the day, some clothes for tomorrow, and a number of dinosaurs and ponies. She removed all of the toys and brought them back to the empty bed.

“If you’re going to play with those, honey, you’re going to have to clean up after yourself.”


Why did Dawn suddenly have to clean up all the time? Mom and Dad had talked of nothing else before they left. She had to clean her room very well before getting into the truck. She had to clean it more than she ever had before. It took her a long time. She missed a day of school, but Mom and Dad said that was okay. Halfway through the day, Dawn had realized she enjoyed school more.

“Remember, honey, we’re leaving tomorrow in the morning, so you should pack up all your things and be ready to leave as soon as you wake up.”

“Okay. Where are we going?”

“We’re not sure just yet, honey. We’ll know in the morning, probably. Cunt fucker!”

“Jesus Christ! How stupid are people?”

Dawn separated the dinosaurs from the ponies, setting each in its own village on its own side of the bed. The dinosaurs lived in the Pillow Mountains and the ponies lived on the Sheet Plains. They left each other alone for the most part, and never watched TV. It didn’t matter if they were blue or red; they all lived with each other happily. One day, a dinosaur named Clarence and a pony named Sweetberry met and became friends. Wait, Sweetberry!

“Mommy, Daddy, I can’t find Sweetberry.”

“What, honey?”

“Sweetberry is gone.”

“Who’s Sweetberry, honey?”

“She’s my pony.”

“Oh. Well, honey, she’s probably with all your other toys in the truck.”

“Can I go get her?”

“No, honey. It would take too long to find her. You’ll have to wait. Besides, you have some other ponies.”

“But I want Sweetberry!”

“Honey, I’m sorry, but you’ll have to make do with what you have.”

“But I–”

“Shitting piece of shit!”

“How is this possible? How stupid are people?”

Dawn tried her pouty face again, but with no results. On the verge of tears, she returned to Bed Land. Clarence had kidnapped Sweetberry, and now held her against her will somewhere in the Pillow Mountains, where she could not be seen. The ponies wanted her back, so they declared war on the dinosaurs, and they fought a big battle. The dinosaurs were losing, but when Clarence died, they all got angry and started fighting better. In the end, it was only between Ralph the dinosaur and Moonshadow the pony. They charged at each other, and after a blur of mane and scaly tail, they both fell dead to the surface of the bed.

Tired of playing without Sweetberry, Dawn returned all her toys to her backpack. She then went back to bed. At first she had thought it exciting: going on a trip when they didn’t know where they were going, bringing every single one of her toys with her, getting to ride in a special truck, missing another day of school, staying up past her bedtime.

Now all she wanted to do was fall asleep. The sound of the TV kept her awake, as did Mom and Dad.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuckity fuck!”

“That’s it, we’re heading north in the morning. How stupid are people?”


About CobraQuiz

A political writer.
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