"Look, mate, if your interests are to stir a tizzy over this whole bleeding episode, congratulations, marked stars, you've owned your piece and them some. But until the cakes and corsages arrive to honor your dickery, maybe it'd be in your best interests to calm yourself right the fuck down."
He was trembling, the lank of his limbs shivering to suppress his irritation.
"Maybe you should think better of transporting a minor across state lines, you dolt. I know where you're from you have the run of the place, but here we backwards colonists have rules regarding these sorts of things."
He, too, appeared visibly shaken. Casey extended an arm to his. He withdrew at her touch and shoved his hands in his pockets.
"Fuck this," Casey muttered beneath her breath. She walked off, though no one noticed.
"You want to fight about it, tough guy?" Gordon challenged.
"I think we've had enough violence on this trip, don't you?" Parker sneered, nursing the bruise that discolored his right cheek he earned in his previous scuffle with Gordon.
"No," both boys responded while staring each other down.
Kat cradled her arms against her chest and scuffed her the toe of her boot in the dirt, the fight dissipating from her as she watched the consequences of her admittance unfold. She longed for a hole to open in the earth, something to swallow her up whole and remove her from present unpleasantries.
Mali quietly fumed.
"What's your problem?" Gordon asked, stepping toward Joe.
"I've got many, but right now, it's you."
A ghoulish screech, like a trumpet blown in the belly of a hellcat, cut between Joe and Gordon, halting them in their tracks. Mali, the source of the scream, bounded between them. Her right hook struck Joe's jaw and sent him sprawling on his ass.
"Nice--" Gordon began, though he was interrupted when his face collided with Mali's left fist. He, too, found himself bedding dirt in a daze.
"Enough!" she shrieked, panting.
I have had quite enough.
I have sat here, in this hellhole, listening to armchair economists and sophomoric socialists indulge their fantasies about the death of the free market. Patiently, I waited until all the Leninists and the Stalinists and the Marxists said their piece. I put up with Mensheviks and the Trotskiyites. I even suffered a Khruschchevite for twenty fucking minutes. I listened to them shit all over the market that brought me my Blackberry, my G4 connection, and every other bit of electronic gadgetry that clicks, chimes, or whistles in the pockets of my hoody.
And you know what?
I waited with my ticket and not once was my ticket called.
I... have had... a piss poor... evening.
And now? Now that I'm finally out of that gymnasium, I find myself watching my friends engage in some sloped-brow pissing contest over who did and said what. I have half a mind to take both alpha males out behind the shed and Old Yeller the both of you, right here and now. It'd be doing the lot of us a favor and - who knows - maybe it'd make for a decent story to tell, since Siddhartha knows we'll be chuckling along these old dirty roads telling tales for the shits and grins of it for the rest of fucking eternity, because not one of you knows where we're headed or why.
Gordon? Just because you're not sticking your cod into a fresh stream doesn't give you right to take home everything you catch.
Joe? I already like Miss Susie McCounterCulture better than I like you right now, so she's coming with.
God, I fucking hate socialists.
Silence persisted as her audience sat (or sprawled) in shock and awe.
Mali stormed away. As she passed Parker, he raised a hand to slow her and opened his mouth to speak.
"Go to hell, Parker," she insisted as she blew right past him.
A moment passed after she slipped away into the shadows beyond the parking lot.
"Well, she's a little firecracker, innit she?" Gordon offered as he rose to his feet, dusting dirt from his backside.
"Sweet girl, that one. Never knew she had it in her," Joe agreed.
They exchanged an apologetic look, an unspoken agreement between them that both were too manly to admit.
"Neat," Kat said. Gordon and Joe looked to her, then followed her eyes to the dirt at their feet.
There lay a die, three white indents facing the seamless velvet of night sky above.