Balancing the Equation
by Justin C. Key
June 18, 2031
Lauren led her two-year-old son, Sean, slowly to their car while carrying three full bags of groceries.
“Up,” Sean said, showing her his palms. “Up, Mama, up!”
“Ask one more time and you’re getting a time out when we get home.”
She should have used a cart to carry the groceries. She should have walked with Sean on the inside. She should have ignored the aching pain in her back and picked him up. The rest of her life would be haunted by ‘should’ves’.
“A dog!” Sean pointed at passing poodle as big as him. Of his budding vocabulary, identifying dogs was a family favorite.
“Yes,” Lauren said. “A black dog.” She silently cursed at her failing grip on the bags. She twisted the strap around her wrist. Sean yanked her other arm, hard.
“Okay, time out as soon as–” Lauren said, but choked when she saw that Sean hadn’t tugged at all. It was a black Prius, worn and dented and scratched and horrible, rolling silently over her son to replace him, as if by magic.