The truck rumbled down the gravel road, winding round sharp bends and dipping ever so slightly into the valley. Roberto’s eyes flinched at the harsh bursts of the afternoon sun, interrupted only by the shade of the dark, lean cedars that dotted the sides of the road. He wrapped his knuckles tightly around the old leather steering wheel and tried not to focus on the truck’s sudden jolts.
“These roads have been bad for a long time, boy,” he said. Roberto glanced over at the sullen passenger, who had not yet answered him. He stared out the window and ran his hand through his shiny hair, pulling it back over and over again. Roberto sighed and looked back at the road. “Very bad,” he murmured.
He wondered what was going on in that youth’s head. He wondered what new song he was humming, what girl made him so sullen. Roberto knew that youths these days were as youths have always been, but he sensed something different about them; Something that separated them from the rest. The modern world was violent. Even in the countryside one could not escape the violence. It was not quite as obvious, as the billboards and ugly skyscrapers in and around the cities; vile erections that marred the horizon.
The youth was chewing a stick of gum. That was a violent pastime, Roberto thought. People do not chew gum to eat it, they chew it only to chew it. Gum is the object of violence and sexual frustration of these youths, chewing it frantically to release a sweet, surgary taste into their mouths that might make their breath smell a bit better.
Roberto continued to gaze down the road, squinting, and put his mind on other things.