36. Totaled“I’m gonna kill that kid,” Allen said. “I don’t mean figuratively. I’m going to end him.”

“Take it easy,” Liz said. “I’m sure he didn’t mean to…”

“He never means to,” Allen said, looking at the remains of one of the stone markers at the end of the driveway. “It just ‘happens’.”

“I hope he’s okay.”

“Of course he’s okay. The marker is rubble and I’m sure the car — that we bought him — has a smashed fender because he couldn’t have been bothered to, I don’t know, pay attention to what he was doing when he came home.”

Liz had gotten a phone call at work — Donny knew better than to call his father — saying that he “might have hit” the marker after coming home from school. Liz and Allen had expected to see a scrape, or maybe even a chunk missing. They hadn’t expected to see the rough fragments on the lawn. Allen knelt down and picked up what looked to be the remains of a headlight. He tossed it back down in disgust.

“Okay, this is it,” he said. “Things are different from here on out.”

“Don’t be too hard on him.”

“Liz, what if that had been an oncoming car? What if he had gotten hurt, or killed someone else just because he couldn’t, or wouldn’t, keep his mind on what he was doing? No, this is it.”

“What are you thinking?”

“Time for some tough love,” Allen said. “Donny’s free ride ends. Now.”