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By Hia C.
age: 14
New York

“Are we there yet?”

“We’ll get there when we get there!”

“We’re lost. Terrific. Lost in the desert and we have no idea how to get back on the road.”

“We are not lost…we’re just misguided. Those guys at the gas station punked us.”

“Jacob, we didn’t ask anybody at the gas station! And there’s another gas station coming up in a few miles; we’ll ask them.”

“We are not lost and we will not ask anybody! We’re almost there; just hush up and enjoy the ride!”

“Dad! We’ve been ‘enjoying the ride’ for the last five hours! And you said the exact same thing two hours ago!”

“I swear, we passed that shrub a few minutes ago…”

“Jacob, Tillie gave us specific directions on how to get to her house. Let’s just go back and follow up on her directions.”

“I told you already; I know how to get there, and I’m just taking a shortcut.”

My dad can be very annoying at times. He doesn’t like to take suggestions from anybody. Like now. We were on the road to my Aunt Tillie’s house in Sayville, Nevada, and right now, we were supposed to be passing through Las Vegas, but my Dad insisted on going for his little shortcut, claiming that he knew this place like the back of his hand. It turned out that he didn’t, and he just didn’t want to admit it. We were in the middle of some desert somewhere, and we didn’t even know what state we were in. It had been like this for the past four hours. Like Mom had said, we stopped at a gas station for the car, and only the car—-not for directions, which would been the smarter idea.

My name is Amanda Daniels, and my family and I are hopelessly lost in some unknown desert somewhere in the Southwestern United States.

We started our trip at six-thirty this morning from our home in Los Angeles, California, and it was two o’clock in the afternoon, one hundred and ten degrees. Our air conditioning is on high and we were still boiling.

My twin younger brothers, who are nine, Zack and Blake, were fighting over some loser videogame on Blake’s PSP. Allegedly, Zack had cheated. My older sister, Samantha, who is fifteen-years-old, was staring up through the sunroof, and I knew she was praying to God to find a way to get out of this mess.

My dad, Jacob, was red in the face and sweating madly. My mom was simply frustrated.

“I’m hungry!” Blake whined.

“Me too! Can’t we have a burger or something? You know, from Burger King?” Zack butted in, with his whiny voice that sounded exactly like Blake’s. Now you know why they’re twins.

I rolled my eyes.

“Sure, you can. The next time you see Burger King, just tell me!” Dad burst out.

“That won’t be very soon…” I said.

“I told you all to hush up!” Dad yelled.

“Honey! I see a gas station!” Mom bellowed over him.

“I told you! We’re not—”

“Oh, yes we are!” Mom said in her dangerous, soft voice.

My dad tensed, and gave in. “Fine…”

We made a reckless u-turn in the road and drove into the gas station. We pulled our windows down.

Some Mexican guy came up to our window. “Señor, Hermosillo está cerca. It’s only a few miles away.”

My family all looked at Amanda and I. We were the only ones who knew Spanish.

“He said that Hermosillo is near,” Amanda translated.

“Hermosillo? No, we want to get to Sayville, Nevada…” Dad told him.

“Sayville? You gotta go back a few miles North. You in México,” he said, using his improper English.

“We’re in Mexico?” Amanda cried.

“Cool! I have a report on Mexico due for History next week!” Zack said excitedly. “Can we go to Mexico instead of dumb old Sayville for Aunt Tillie?”

“You have a report due next week? You told us you didn’t have any homework!” Mom said disapprovingly.

“Uh…yeah…I must’ve forgotten to tell you. But c’mon, it’s Spring Break!”

“We’ll talk about this later. You need to work harder young man!” Mom scolded him. He shrugged.

“So we need to go back up North?” Dad confirmed.


“Gracias,” I said to him.

“De nada,” he told us. “Buena suerte!”

We drove off again. Nobody said anything for the rest of the ride.

We finally reached a town a few miles away from Sayville, when our car conveniently broke down. A repair and gas station was in the town. We pushed the car into the garage, and the guys told us it’d be ready in a half hour. We decided to get a bit to eat; we were starved.

There was a diner that was almost empty at the corner of Main and we entered it. There was a lady with flaming red hair, lots of makeup, who was fairly large and the only waitress in the diner. She chewed her gum so loud, you could hear it from the bathroom doors, which were pretty far away. Her mouth was as wide as hippo as she chewed. A man who wore grubby-looking clothes, a brown Fedora hat that was half- ripped at the brim and a newspaper for a face was drinking a cup of coffee at a table.

“Well?” she asked us as we sat down at a table.

“Do you have burgers?” Blake asked.

“You want the meal, or just the burger?” she asked, the gum almost falling out of her mouth.

“What’s the meal?” Blake asked.

“Burgers, fries, a soda…” she told us. She yawned.

“The meal’s okay,” Blake said.

“Make that two burgers,” Zack cut in. She wrote down the order on her notepad, the pen moving recklessly in her hand.

“What do you people want?” she asked the rest of us.

“What do you have?” Mom asked her.

“The menus are right there, lady, I ain’t your slave…” she told us lazily and pointed at menus that were placed at the end of our table.

“Thank you…we’ll order as soon as we’re ready…” Dad said to her.

“Great…lousy customers…” she muttered to herself as she walked away to have a smoke.

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