It was a statement, flat and simple, with just an edge of command.

"Mom. Are you listening?" The girl pushed her two hands down on the cream-colored kitchen counter as if to spring her body upwards. A typically teenage spastic gesture.

"Mmm...yes...what did you say? I couldn't hear you," the mother replied, not once glancing over from her large sizzling pan of Hamburger Helper.

"Mom, are you going into town today?" the girl's voice lifted gently, sweetly, hanging with expectation.

"No, I don't think so. I have work to do here. Have you asked your father?" knowing, of course, that he would not be leaving the house except to visit one of the six bars in the tiny one-horse burg they lived in.

As the sugar melted off her mouth, the girl steadied herself, ready for a fight. "He's not going anywhere! Why aren't you going? I've got nothing to do here! How can you make me sit in the house like this?"

"I can't always do everything that you all want me to do," the mother sighed. "Why don't you visit your friend?"

"Oh GOD. I'm NOT doing anything with her. You gotta be kidding" The girl dramatically rolled her eyes, speaking of a neighborhood girl who still played with dolls. "All of my friends are IN TOWN. THere's stuff to DO THERE. I want to go to Lisa's house. We'd go to the beach and then her brother would bring me home, OK? OK??"

"I don't think so, honey. Someone has to stay and answer the phone today. It might be work and I --"

"Oh MAN! It would just take a few minutes! Can't you just DO it?" The girl fumed, re-thought her strategy, and calmed on the surface. "Maybe later? Around two? You could get some groceries. We almost son't have any milk and I need some Diet Coke. You said you needed to go."

The mother at last looked up at her daughter, fixed on her, feeling both sorry and annoyed. "I can't promise anything. "Maybe after I finish typing this letter for Dad, but I don't think so."

"AAH!" The girl let out a blast of frustration, stomping bitterly out of the kitchen, spewing her black exhaust of boredom all through the house.