The Old Tongue

(scene opens in mini van, sound of something rolling around)

Gamma: (in hypersensitive) What is that noise?!

Me: (focusing on road) Check the ash tray.

Gamma: (pause) Ash tray?

Me: (opens recessed drawer, reveals car adapter)

Gamma: Oh, its a stylus for the touch screen! (picks it up and touches end to screen)

Me: No, it’s a car charger. You plug it into the cigarette lighter and it charges your electronics.

Gamma: (longer pause) Cigarette lighter?

Me: Damnit. Okay – back when everyone and their mother used to smoke, there was this thing in the car that you would push in to turn on and it would heat up and then you could touch it to the end of your cigarette to light it. Now they use them as car outlets because it’s just an electrical contact point inside.

Gamma: (side eye) Oh. Okay. That was weird.

Me: The more I have to explain it to you, the weirder my childhood gets.

A Day of Service

(scene opens in mini van drive through)

Me: (hands over McDonald’s reward) Here you go. And thank you again for helping out and mowing lawns.

Beta: No problem. Nuggies! (stuffs one in his mouth)

Me: (starts to drive) I’m serious. If more people were willing to be that helpful and generous to the people around them, the world would be a better place. At the very least they’d all be wearing their goddam masks.

Beta: (slurps frozen Coke) Y’know — if everyone in the world was that helpful and generous, there’d be no objective way to determine who was a good person.

Me: (extreme close up, over dramatic side eye, long pause)

Beta: (mouth full of food) I mean right? It’d just be normal.

Me: What website did you get that off of?

Beta: Just though it now.

Me: (falls silent, continues to drive)