Ashford Bauer took a deep breath as he turned over the engine. The musty scent of his car’s air freshener filled his nose–not something a normal person would enjoy, but rather pleasant to him. He gazed in the rear-view mirror at Sabbath, who had her earbuds in and was listening to something on her phone–her eyes were fixed on its screen, following the video’s action side to side. If only Rebecca had come.
Of course, Twitch had turned him down for this trip. The mall in Miami wasn’t exactly her style, nor was wrangling trout out of the display pond. His other daughter wasn’t the outdoors type, preferring to sit in her room all day, playing games with her sister and blasting that grinding noise she called music.
Sabbath wasn’t that different from her in that regard. Sabbath’s desire was to spend time with her Daddy Ash, which was something she insisted on doing ever day that she was out of class. Her need to spend time with her father was so strong that she would do things that she’d otherwise avoid like the plague. Despite this, she seemed genuinely interested in fishing–so long as it was with him.
She’s never caught a trout before, either. Has she?
He began backing out of the driveway. As he hit the street, he glanced back at her again, but this time she caught his eyes in the mirror and smiled. “So you anxious to get a line out there?” He asked, grinning back.
“Oh, yeah!” Sabbath exclaimed, apparently unable to contain her excitement. She mast a casting motion with her hand, and pretended to reel in something large. “I hear they fight pretty good. Do trout fight good?”
“Yes they do,” Ash said. “They taste good too.”
“Better than snapper?” Sabbath asked. She was practically salivating.
“I’d say so.”
“I can’t wait then!” she said. She began squirming in her seat, but quickly slowed down. “Why didn’t Twitch come?”
“You know she doesn’t like fishing,” Ash said. Sabbath’s mood seemed to sour a bit. “But hey, you can say you had more fun than her, right?”
“Yeah,” Sabbath said. She didn’t sound convinced.
* * *
Anne Bauer watched as her daughter slapped the side of the console while grumbling. It was clear Twitch was getting frustrated with the game she was playing. She knew it was time to intervene–a few more minutes, and her daughter would inevitably break it.
She stepped into the den and reached down, turning off the console.
“Hey!” Twitch shouted, reaching out as her mother took the controller out of her hands. “I was playing that!”
“You can play later,” she said. She gazed at the clock–twenty minutes. Sabbath and Ash should should be on the Causeway by now.
“That’s not fair, you know. There’s nothing on right now, and it’s boring watching you play with your laptop all day.”
“Then maybe next time you should go out with your father,” Anne said. She unplugged the console and placed it high on the shelf. “Maybe you should go listen to your music now. Just don’t blare it like you did last time.”
“Yeah, right.” Twitch stood up and began marching up the stairs. When she reached the top, she shouted down, “I’m not eating that damn fish, you know!”
“Language!” Anne shouted back. The glare from the sun caught her eye, triggering a sharp pain in her skull. She shut her eyes and rubbed her temple. Leave it to Twitch to trigger another migraine.
From upstairs, the squeal of an electric guitar filled the house, piercing her ears. Out of reflex, she tried to turn them away from the noise, but mixed nature of her anatomy wouldn’t let her rotate them far. It wouldn’t have mattered–the speakers were too loud, and the noise too omnipresent in their house.
She reached into her pocket and pulled out a bottle of ibuprofen, swallowing one without any water. This better work fast, she thought.