Red Barbre and the Kid


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“How much farther dad?”  “I told you! We will get there about dinnertime. Asking every five minutes won’t make the time go by any faster. Play a game with your sister or watch the scenery; this is spectacular country we’re traveling through. Tomorrow we’ll be up in the high desert, I know you will really enjoy it.”  “I’m not going to like it. I wanted to stay home with Paul and John. This is dumb.”  “Well you’re here now, so make the best of it. You might just learn something. What were you going to do with those loser friends of yours anyway but get into trouble?”  “Now honey, you just don’t understand the boys, Paul and John are good kids. Teenagers feel awkward traveling with their parents, don’t be too hard on him. Rob, sit back and relax, your dad’s right this trip will be very educational.”  “Humph.”  Hours passed and Rob settled down to the rhythm of the trip. He spent the rest of the afternoon alternately staring out of the window at the telephone wires that strung beside the road like a barbwire fence or fitfully dozing.  The next morning, the sun rose into a clear cloudless sky as only can be found in the high deserts of the West. Rob sat on the wall, which was built around the perimeter of the budget motel’s parking lot. It promised to be hot, but Rob’s thoughts were on the night before. His sleep was restless, tortured to be exact. At breakfast, when queried by his mom, he blamed his lack of sleep on the strange bed and his sister’s snoring. True enough the bed was hard and Jenny snored louder than a chain saw, there was something else though, the dreams were different.  Rob could see the faces from his dreams. He didn’t recognize them. Oh sure, many times he had dreams populated by faces of teachers or relatives or a pretty girl he saw at school; these were definitely different. Bearded men, rough men with wind in their hair and sweat on their faces. Voices loud with curses. Swirling dust and a cacophony of sound clouded the dream images. Nothing Distinct. No one sound that could be identified. The closest Rob could come to a description was of yelling into the wind of a hurricane. He brooded on this until his dad called him to help with the loading of the family Suburban.  “You ok son?”  “Sure Dad, just a little tired that’s all.”  “Get some rest in the truck this morning. We’ll be at our campsite by lunchtime. Hey Rob?”  “Yea Dad?”  “Sorry about what I said in the truck yesterday.”  “Aw that’s ok…” Sweating men and horses, noise all around, spinning, swirling, cursing, Rob wheeled from the unexpected impact that leapt upon him like a predator.  “Sure you’re alright boy?”  “Fine Dad…I just need some rest.”

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