Enjoy an excerpt from a new short story I'm writing, tentatively titled "Mediated Meditations":
The drive north was one of the longest trips Rodney had ever been on, but--to him--it did not drag on like it did for the rest of his family. Rodney, his two brothers, and his parents were on a trip to a farm owned by Rodney’s grandfather. Rodney had heard snippets of conversation about this farm before, even though those conversations happened while Rodney was daydreaming as usual.
He vaguely recalled descriptions of cows, pigs, and (unusual to his mind) a go-cart. However, he shrugged these peripheral noises off and kept watching TV. He could have heard more, but cartoons called his name.
Now, here Rodney was, on his family’s first trip to the farm. So far the trip had been great. In the fuschia minivan, a fixture of all families, he sat next to a pile of comics, picking them up and tossing them aside as he finished each issue. The surroundings switched from city to country: skyscrapers and colossal cathedrals gave way to identical blocks of houses; this suburban style gradually disappeared to make way for rolling hills, wide expanses of land, tumbling rivers, and a few old houses scattered every few miles like anthills in a field.
These surroundings slipped by unnoticed by Rodney though. Instead, his attention remained riveted to stories of superheroic strength, magical monsters, and criminal capers. Colors cascaded outside the car, but the dynamic dyes of pulpish paper were the only colors Rodney cared for.
His brothers argued, played road trip games, and argued again. Rodney ignored these outbursts, though, as if he were permanently in the eye of the storm--isolated from the whirling forces outside. His mom and dad struggled through their favorite songs, belting out choruses and mumbling verses.
Before he knew it--he was knee-deep in Spider-Man’s Clone Saga--their van slowed down and turned onto a dirt path. It rumbled along the path, tires crunching the dirt beneath them and wobbling the van from side-to-side. For the first time that trip, Rodney set down his comic without picking a new one up: he was finally looking outside at the world around him.