Genres: Science Fiction
The Long Cut
by Tom Howard
“Do you want me to drive for a while?” my mother asked from the front passenger seat. It was the middle of the night but, unlike my older sister, I couldn’t sleep. The desert streaked by just out of sight of the headlights. Off in the distance I could occasionally see a cluster of lights. I often wondered if there were kids like me asleep in their beds in little houses. Kids who didn’t have crazy fathers who insisted on driving everywhere because planes and trains were too expensive and buses were too slow.
“I’m good until Tucson,” said my dad. He and Mom traded off driving since we never stopped at a hotel because Dad said he’d never pay hard-earned money just for sleeping. “I could use another cup of that coffee if there’s any left.”
Mom unscrewed the lid from a battered aluminum thermos in a ritual that I’d seen her perform a hundred times. She’d pour the dark, steaming liquid – rarely spilling a drop – into Dad’s big travel mug. He’d complain about how bad restaurant coffee was. I didn’t wait for Dad’s expected comment. I just looked out the window. Where the heck were we?