Sitting in the back seat of a station wagon, two sisters, ages 6 and 8 start bickering. One won’t scoot over, the other is making annoying sounds. Typical car ride for this family. The parents up front try ignoring the children, but soon enough it gets to be too intolerable.
“Girls, be quiet and look out your windows.” Snapped their mom.
The sisters quiet down, giving each other snobby glances before turning to their windows. The silence doesn’t last long before they are picking at each other again. Putting their foot over on the others side of the seat. Sticking their tongues out and making faces. The parents are noticeably agitated now.
“Hey, you two better stop that right now.” Their dad said firmly. “If you don’t stop, your mother and I are going to drop you off at the Bag Lady’s house.”
The two girls stopped what the was doing and glanced at one another before turning to their dad.
“Who’s the Bag Lady?” asked the older sister.
“She is someone that takes in bad kids and makes them collect cans with her on the side of the highway for their whole life.” Their mom replied, elbowing her husband and smiling.
“Yeah,” added their dad. “and you’ll have to eat the road kill off of the highway too, just like she does.”
Both of the girls sat back in their seats and straightened up. Neither of them wanted to end up with someone like that. Collecting cans and eating roadkill didn’t seem all that great. There was a long spell of silence after that. Though, as with most things, the silence came to an end. On such a long car ride it was difficult for these two not to try to annoy one another. So the arguing and face making began again.
“Alright, you two. That’s it. We warned you.” Said their dad cooly, as he began to veer to the left side of the highway. “Now you get to stay with the Bag Lady because you don’t listen.”
Horrified, both the girls start protesting. They begin apologizing and swearing they won’t fight anymore. They’ll be quiet they say again and again, but their pleas fall on deaf ears. The car comes to a stop on the side of the road.
“Ok, girls, you better start walking. She lives up there on the top of that hill.” Their mom states, pointing to a mountainous hill about a quarter-mile away.
“Please, don’t make us go, we won’t make anymore noise!” Cries the youngest.
“We promise! We will just look out our windows and not do anything!” Says the oldest.
Their parents exchange glances and smirk.
“Come on now, both of you, the longer you wait the sooner night will be here.” Quipped the dad. “The Bag Lady can’t keep the snakes and coyotes from you if you’re still marching up the hill at night time.”
The sisters faces both drenched in tears and both in disbelief that their parents were really going to send them to the Bag Lady’s house. Blubbering and crying they both begin to open their car doors. Looking back at their mom and dad for any sign of hope. Finally their mom speaks up.
“I guess you don’t have to go, you do seem really sorry.”
“But the Bag Lady will be pretty upset that she didn’t get to have you.” Replied the dad. “So the next time you misbehave, she may just sneak in your room at night and snatch you both up herself.”
Shutting their doors quickly, both children go back to their seats and sit up straight. Nodding their heads agreeably and remaining quiet. Their dad started the car again and began driving home. Remaining true to their promises, the sisters stayed quiet and still for the whole ride home.
Once night came, and it was time for bed, they had already put the memory of the Bag Lady in the back of their minds. It was nearly impossible for them not to argue when they were alone in their room. Whining over which toy was theirs. Fighting over what pajamas they was wearing. Pinching and mocking each other. When they finally went to their own beds it was well past nine. Laying in the silence of the room. Completely dark, besides the light coming from under the door. They continued making noises at one another, but that quickly stopped when they both heard a sound outside their window. It sounded like the faint rattling of cans and light tapping on the window pane.