The Great Outdoors
by AJ

"Are we there yet?" Sam asked, sitting next to CJ in the very back seat of the Suburban.

"No," Toby, the designated driver answered.

"When are we going to get there?" Josh, who was sitting in the middle seat to the left of Ainsley asked.

Donna, who was the navigator, and therefore was the one that got to sit in the front passenger seat turned around and looked at Josh and Sam, "I swear, you two are worse than the Simpson kids," she gave them a look as if they were both out of their minds.

"Either that," CJ jumped into the conversation. "Or that's where they learned their behavior from." She was giving Sam a look telling him that if he were to speak up once more before they got to the campsite, she'd smack him upside the head.

"You guys aren't being that funny," Josh said in his and Sam's defense.

"And neither are you," Toby retorted. "Now shut up. I'm trying to drive."

"Trying being the operative word, right Toby?" Josh retorted.

"Josh," Donna warned.

"Donna," Josh said, mocking her.

"How come Donna gets to be the navigator?" Sam asked, a little pout on his face.

"Because no one here trusts you after your little La Guardia thing," CJ answered, temporarily having forgotten the urge to smack him.

Ainsley turned around and looked at Sam, "La Guardia thing?"

"He and Toby were in Connecticut, back when Mendoza was in jail for drunk driving. He was the navigator. Turns out he was using a shuttle from La Guardia to navigate them, instead of the northern star," Josh provided an explanation for Ainsley, gladly.

Ainsley grinned and then turned back around in her seat and rested her head against the back of the chair.

"Toby..." CJ smiled sweetly from the back of the big vehicle. "Exactly how much longer do you think it is going to be before we're there?"

"Why do you get to ask, but we don't, CJ?" Josh asked, sounding like a little kid.

"Where is all of the food?" Ainsley asked.

"It's all in the back," Donna answered her, as she flipped down her vanity mirror and glanced at the people in the back.

"Because I'm special," CJ said to Josh.

"Sam," Ainsley said sweetly as she turned slightly in her seat. "Do you think you could grab me a snack?"

"You just ate my entire bag of beef jerky that I had up here with me," Josh said looking at her.

"Yes, but I'm hungry again."

"No, I don't think I could reach anything. Not the way Toby packed it all, anyway."

"Are you complaining about the way I packed? Because it's not exactly like you volunteered to pack everything up, Sam."

Donna, tired of this conversation, turned her head to the right and looked out her window, "Look at the sunset," she said with great awe in her voice as she looked out at the deep purple and orange sky.

"That's gorgeous."

"That's one thing I've always loved about being down south," Ainsley spoke, looking out the window at the sky. "We always have the most beautiful sunsets."

"You should see the ones in Southern California," CJ spoke with as she too looked out at the brilliantly colored sky. "They just seemed to go on forever. And the colors were all so..." her voice trailed off as she inhaled slowly, taking in the sunset before her. Sam nodded, agreeing with everything she said.

Toby sat in the driver's seat, thankful that they'd all finally stopped bugging him about when they would get to the campsite, or the way he was driving, or how he had packed the vehicle. From time to time, he'd glance over to his right to look at the sunset they were all in awe over and smile, but he didn't say anything.

"Up in Connecticut, the sunsets have a lot of pink and purple in them," Josh added to the conversation. "The shades of which were astounding."

Donna glanced in her vanity mirror once more to see the four people in the back of the Chevy all staring out at the sunset to the right. She then turned her eyes to Toby and smiled sweetly. Toby looked back at Donna and gave her a very *very* grateful smile.

The Great Outdoors - 8


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