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The White Arm of Death

Picture it:

You and your two siblings are about to embark on the grand adventure called The Family Vacation (destination Disneyland). Your parents get all the luggage loaded in the way back of the Blazer and you and your siblings climb into the back seat, the youngest in the middle while you and the other younger sibling take the outside edges. You guys have it made as you can place your pillows against the windows and take a snooze if you’d like or stare out the window at the scenery (which lasts about five minutes until you get bored as hell). Youngest sister in the middle is sort of screwed. If she so much as touches either you or sister on either side of her you’ll unleash all holy hell on her. This includes her head touching you as she inevitably nods off (mostly due to the Dramamine to keep her from puking her guts out all over the inside of the Blazer).

Neither you nor your sisters are in any sort of car seat and most likely aren’t wearing seat belts either. It’s a different generation and this sort of thing was quite common. Your parents get themselves settled in and eventually you are underway. Your heart soars as you watch the familiar places close to home flashing by the windows. You are used to traveling on I-70 to Denver but this time, you will be heading in the opposite direction, a new direction!

Unfortunately, the excitement only lasts a brief moment. The scenery is not nearly as pretty as the trip to Denver. Mostly brown dirt and rocks with the occasional scraggly bush. You wonder how in the world anything can grow in the ugly brown crap.

It would be better for you if you would lay your head down and try to sleep through the boring parts of the trip. Playing the license plate game or the alphabet game with road signs would have been preferable to what is about to happen. And even though you know in the back of your head that what you are about to start is going to end badly, you just can’t seem to help yourself.

You begin by shoving your youngest sister a little and causing her to bump into second-to-youngest sister, starting a chain reaction that is going to be as deadly as one that occurs in a nuclear reactor. Sister #2 angrily shoves sister #3 and she in turn smashes into you. You gleefully poke her in the arm, shouting at her to stop touching you. You catch a glimpse of hazel eyes in the rear view mirror as your dad glances back trying to see what all the commotion is about. Sister #3 yells at you and sister #2 to stop pushing her. You promptly tell her to stop yelling. She is now quite furious, her face beat red and her eyes filling involuntarily with tears and you sorta think her head might explode.

Sister #2 snidely informs sister #3 to quit being such a baby.

Now. it’s on!

Sister #3 lets out a screech that, if only a tad louder, would have possibly ruptured someone’s eardrum. She punches sister #3 and you grudgingly admit that perhaps she is tad more bad ass than you thought. Sister #3 retaliates by reaching out and grabbing sister #3’s eyebrows and giving them a firm yank.

At this point, your mouth is hanging open in astonishment. You’ve never seen anything quite like this and are quite certain that you never will again.

A sound comes from the front passenger seat but the ruckus from the back is so loud you can’t hear what was being said. Although you’re sure the voice said to “knock it the hell off” and”don’t want me to stop this car” or something like that, you realize you can’t be expected to hear anything over the racket. As sister #3 backs away from sister #2 before she loses more than an eyebrow, you shove her back into the fray, shouting at her to get off you.

Suddenly, something white snakes its way past the front passenger seat, moving faster than any snake that lives on planet earth. It makes contact with sister #3 since she’s the unfortunate soul in the middle. The familiar smack on your mom’s hand echoes through the Blazer and the yelling from sister #3 turns into wails. You and sister #2 skooch as far over as close to the windows as you can, thinking you were out of reach of the white arm of death.

You discover that said arm is jointed and can therefore reach around the back of the passenger seat and connect with your legs, causing you to cry out in surprise. Not out of fear of the white arm of death.


Now your dad is adding his voice to the mix, promising to turn the car around, to pull off the side of the road and to smack the holy living hell out of all of you, going so far as to threaten to leave you on the side of the road for circus folk to pick up.

With peace finally restored, the white arm of death retreats back to the front passenger seat, appetite for the flesh of children satiated. You and your sisters sit as far away from one another as you can, arms crossed, glaring at each other as though what had transpired was all their fault.

You stare out the window, watching the boring, ugly scenery, vowing to never speak to your sisters again as long as you live. The anger is a small ember, burning in your belly as you think about the injustice of it all.

The peace brought about from the white arm of death is going to be short-lived.

Hope you enjoyed this story. My sister and I were reminiscing as we made our way to Oregon for a family reunion and both laughed so hard about my mom trying to keep us kids in line on family vacations.

What did your parents do to keep the peace on family trips?? I’d love to hear from you!

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7 Comments on “The White Arm of Death”

  1. noraadrienne July 23, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    Mommy Dearest had the fastest hands in Brooklyn. My partner and I had other methods to quell the riot. We had 4 young kids to deal with. My partner would just ask them if they’d rather stay with my parents then go on vacation. Peace Reigned.

  2. Janice Heck July 23, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    Ha. Sounds like my early days with EIGHT siblings. Imagine all the possible interactions. Makes me tired just remembering it all. Loved your post.

    • shayfabbro July 23, 2012 at 10:52 am #

      Whoa!!! I think if there had been 8 of us, we would have found ourselves left at the side of the road 😉

  3. Rena's Hub of Random August 2, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    This brings back many memories of similarly “exciting” road trips. 😀

    • shayfabbro August 2, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

      LOL It’s amazing that we survived trips without DVDs and Nooks 😉

    • Carli August 12, 2014 at 5:53 pm #

      So true. Honesty and everything reeodnizcg.

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