The open highway hummed musically, as if the sound had wrapped itself around Braden's Honda in a giant, unwavering hug. It was a comfort. He listened to it with eyes closed, his exhausted head leaning against the cold glass for support. He had pretended to sleep most of the journey, and now venturing to open his eyes a little, he glanced forward at his father who, hands firmly at ten and two, was stiffly guiding the automobile along the freeway. Braden felt a pang of resentment at the man who had confined him to his backseat prison.
"I can drive," Braden had argued, his face growing hot. "It's my car!"
"Your car is it? So your mother and I can stop making payments?"
"I'm not a little kid anymore!"
"Dr. Arnold says--"
After some berating for his use of what his father refered to as "indiscrete language" Braden had given up and, fists clinched out of frustration, confined himself to the passenger seat.
"Uh-uh," his father had chimed, shaking his head. "Back seat. There are childproof locks."
"I'm not going to throw myself out of the car."
"Well Braden, I would love to believe you, but history has proven otherwise, hasn't it?"
Now, alone in his childproof prison, Braden considered the many options his father and Dr. Arnold could not have conspired to eliminate. They underestimated him if they didn't think his fists could plow through this window, allowing him a swift if bloody escape to the outside world.
From the front seat came a small buzz, followed by a muffled electronic version of "Bittersweet Symphony." Braden's heart jumped. He lunged for his phone.
"SIT DOWN AND PUT YOUR SEATBELT ON!"
"Dad, it's my phone. Just let me answer it."
"You have real issues with possession, boy."
"Me, Dad. Someone's trying to call me. I'm not going to kill myself with a cell phone!"
His dad hesitated, then gave a grunt in a nod to signify permission. Braden snatched the phone out of the passenger seat and retreated with it to his cell. He glanced at the ID.