DAD by Gretchen Hintze

“Dad?”

“Yes?”

“Did you see that?”

“Did I see what?”

“The thing that was on the side of the road.”

“No, I didn’t.”

“Oh.”

***

“Dad?”

“Yes?”

“We are headed to California right?”

“Right.”

“I won’t get to go back to Florida again, will I?”

“No. California will be nice. There is a lot less humidity.”

“Ok.”

***

“Dad?”

“Yes?”

“Will you play a game with me?”

“Sure, what kind of game?”

“Can we play I Spy?”

“Whatever you want.”

“Do you want to start or should I start?”

“You can start.”

“Ok. I spy with my little eye something blue.”

“That car?”

“No.”

“That sign?”

“No.”

“My briefcase”

“No.”

“Can I get a hint?”

“It is outside the car.”

“There is nothing outside besides desert and the occasional cactus.”

“It is outside.”

“I give up.”

“The sky.”

***

“Dad?”

“Yes?”

“Do you have parents?”

“Well, my father died five years ago, but my mom is around.”

“Does she live in California?”

“Yes she does. She actually lives in L.A., about a ten minute drive from my house, our house.”

“Will I get to meet her?”

“Yeah. I don’t know exactly when. She is on vacation in Aspen right now.”

“What does she look like?”

“She is rather short; you’ll tower over her in a couple of years. Her hair is curly and blonde. It should be gray, but that woman visits the salon every week. She sometimes wears glasses, but that is only when she is at home with no company. She couldn’t see a deer in the bathtub, but that doesn’t matter when her girlfriends come over for Daiquiris. ‘I will not be put out to pasture like a 300 pound flight attendant. I am going to strangle my youth into obedience until Beelzebub himself wiggles my fingers loose.’ I get to hear that phrase every time I talk to her about going to the doctor or taking it easy.

“Ok.”

***

“Dad?”

“Yes?”

“Where are we?”

“Somewhere in Texas.”

“That is a George Strait song.”

“You like country music?”

“Yeah, what kind of music do you like?”

“I like Jazz mostly.”

“When are we going to get there?”

“Tomorrow night.”

***

“Dad?”

“Yes?”

“What is your house like?”

“It isn’t exactly a house. It is sort of like a condo. There are three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Floor to ceiling windows. There is a media room and my office. On the ground floor there is a gym, restaurant, and pool. They will send up room service 24 hours. It is one of Bobby Flay’s restaurants.

“Ok.”

“Does that make sense?”

“Is a condo an apartment?”

“Yes.”

“Ok.”

***

“Dad?”

“Yes?”

“I have to go to the bathroom.”

“Didn’t you just go a half hour ago?”

“Yes.”

“How can you have to go to the bathroom so soon again?”

“I drank the two liter of Squirt.”

“You drank that whole thing!”

“Yes.”

“We have a few miles before another gas station so you better hold it.”

“Ok.”

***

“Dad?”

“Yes?”

“Never mind.”

***

“I think you will like your new school.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. It’s private. There is an Olympic size swimming pool, a fencing club, the teachers all have graduate degrees. I met with your teacher and he seems to be very nice. He seems as though he really knows how to handle a third grade classroom.”

“Will I have to wear a uniform?”

“Yes.”

“I never had to wear a uniform before.”

“It won’t be that bad. You won’t have to pick out clothes to wear each morning.”

“Mom picked out my clothes.”

GRETCHEN HINTZE is creative writing student at Concordia University and has had work previously published by Foliate Oak and Clutching at Straws.

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