Cross-Country Braking

‘Woah, what the—’

My car’s brakes began to make a sharp squealing noise as I pressed down on the pedal. My brother, asleep in the passenger seat, lifted his sleeping mask to frown at me groggily.

‘I thought we said no radio while the other one was sleeping,’ he grumbled, stretching his arms.

‘That’s not the radio,’ I said, concerned. ‘I think it’s the brakes?’

‘The brakes? Why the brakes?’ he asked, sobering up quickly.

‘Because every time I step on them—’ I stepped on one to assist my point— ‘they make that noise.’

The brakes made their noise.

‘Yikes,’ he sat upright, pulling the sleep mask off his forehead. ‘What did your mechanic say?’

‘What mechanic?’

‘Your local mechanic in Raceview that does general car services?’ he said, frowning at me. ‘Why do you look confused?’

‘I haven’t gotten a service in three months or something,’ I said. ‘What?’

‘So you knew that this car,’ my brother started, ‘which is older than both of us—’

‘Only separately!’

This car,’ he repeated, ignoring me. ‘This ancient relic, was going on a cross-country road trip, and you didn’t think that maybe, just maybe—’

‘We’re only crossing one and a half states,’ I rolled my eyes.

No more interrupting!’ he yelled at me. ‘You didn’t think that maybe it might need some sort of brake repair or service in the Raceview area? Before we drove hundreds of kilometres?’

Silence hung in the air between us as he glared at me, fists balled at his side. I raised a hand.

You can speak now you moron!

‘Look,’ I started. ‘In my defence—’

‘This better be special.’

‘So you’re allowed to interrupt me?’

‘Absolutely, I’m glad you’re catching on,’ he glowered. ‘Continue?’

‘I was just going to say,’ I said haughtily, ‘that I didn’t know my brakes were about to fail. They’ve barely ever made that noise up until now.’

Barely ever?!’ my brother screamed at me, almost levitating out of his seat. ‘What the hell is wrong with you?!


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