Logan's mom smoked with all the car windows up. I had always thought you were supposed to roll a window down, if you smoked in a car, but when I asked, Mrs. Morales said that the noise from the highway was too loud. She kept the windows up and tapped her ashes into an empty McDonald's cup for the entire ride up to the Dells, singing along to every song that played on the country station.
             The smoke was inescapable, but Logan had gotten a headphone splitter for his fourteenth birthday along with an iPod. It sat in the middle seat, and we took turns picking songs, a long thin bridge of cord connecting us as we leaned on opposite windows, staring at cornfields and inexplicably still-extant porn stores.
             An hour and a half in, without warning, Mrs. Morales took a sharp right turn off an exit to get gas. My whole body jerked to the side, and Logan's head bumped hard against the glass. I thought, if there had been no splitter, then maybe, we would have had to sit right next to each other, to share one pair of headphones. And if we were to be sitting right next to each other when the car took a turn like this, I still would have been thrown by the force of it, but thrown, this time, potentially, into Logan, and the skin on our arms could possibly, just for a moment, make contact, maybe, and my leg would press into his leg, his bones and fat and muscle, tightly wound and mine at last. And there would be tension, just a little tension, and I would have to make a joke, to break it, and I would lean over and put my head onto his shoulder, only for a second, before pulling away and laughing it off.
             And maybe Logan would laugh, too. It could be our inside joke: "Mark Leans On Logan Like They Are In Love, Ha Ha Ha." I had been thinking about the jokes Logan told around his new friends, and there were, I decided, three categories: mean things about girls, quotes from movies or TV shows that I didn't like, and pretending to be gay.
             So this would be the third kind, then, for sure, if it could happen. Which it couldn't, because Logan had gotten the splitter and because I was sitting on the far side of the car, an empty seat preventing our thighs from touching for the entire ride, and probably the entire trip, and then also the rest of my life, actually, which was at that moment almost calming to imagine, a whole life without any jokes to make that I did not think were funny.
             I took a long, deep breath, letting Mrs. Morales's smoke inflate my lungs. At the gas station, I bought a bag of corn nuts, which I didn't even like, just to have something to do with my hands.

Rob H. Dawson lives and works and sings songs to his cat in New York. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in WhiskeyPaper and The Rumpus. You can find him at @robhdawson.