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Trust Is Key

Technology is ever-advancing, developing new parental controls, and teenagers will always seek to circumvent them.

By MatthewKuszaPublished 4 months ago 10 min read
2
Trust Is Key
Photo by Reinhart Julian on Unsplash

Part 1: The Morning Commute

Goodness me, this is exciting! It's my first day on the job! Noah's nervous, but that's natural for a newly licensed driver.

Don't worry, Noah. I promised your mom and dad I'd keep an eye on you.

Now, this other kid is different. What did Noah call him? Aiden? Yes, that's Noah's friend's name. Aiden has been nothing but a distraction since climbing into the car. I had to holler forever until he put his seatbelt on. What a relief he still only has his practice driver's permit. Heaven help us when he gets a license! His mouth just runs. Is he thinking before he speaks? Even I'm finding it hard to focus!

"You drive like my gramma. Can't you go any faster?"

This kid's got some nerve! He's going to ruin Noah's first outing!

Noah, this is a perfectly acceptable speed. Pay no attention to this rapscallion.

Ooh, I wish I could talk. That's an upgrade to consider.

"Aiden, I don't have much choice about it. My parents will revoke my driving privileges if they catch me speeding."

They sure will, Buster, and don't think I will lie on your account!

"How are they going to know?"

Oh, Aiden, think! It's the twenty-first century. I'm collecting data points to compile a report for Noah's parents.

"Big Brother's watching."

Wait, what? Is Noah referring to me? That's not my name. I'm...well, I don't have a name, how unfortunate.

"You're joking. What? There's a camera or something?"

Look at poor Aiden, craning his neck, searching for a camera! Ha! That's rich! The level of surveillance I offer far exceeds anything a simple camera can do.

"No, my key."

Ta-dah! No one ever suspects the key.

"Noah, are you messing with me?"

"I wish I was. This key's programmed somehow to limit what I can do when I drive."

"You mean like parental restrictions on our phones?"

"Yep."

"I've never heard of such a thing?"

I'm cutting-edge technology.

"My parents better not pull that sh*t with me when I get my license next month."

Aiden, with that kind of attitude, let us all pray you flunk your driving test.

"You know my parents are protective, Aiden."

"Yeah, but Noah, this is...is..."

Intelligent parenting?

"....abuse!"

Well, that's absolute hyperbole if ever there was one.

"Relax, I'm willing to put up with it since this brand-new car's mine to use whenever I want. Besides, it's not happening to you."

"I suppose. But your mom and mine are always comparing notes. I don't want my mom getting any stupid ideas in her head about tracking me."

Yes, what a ridiculous notion, wanting to keep one's teenager safe behind the wheel.

"Wait, I assume this key's expensive?"

"I guess. My parents warned me not to lose it."

"Good. My dad's been freaking out about money lately. He's threatening to make me pay my sports fee for the upcoming hockey season. He suggested I get a job."

Aiden, you spoiled whelp, you should work.

"Aiden, you're forgetting how cool it is to get to school without our parents driving us. We can go anywhere this afternoon. No more waiting for a ride and heading straight back home. Just put some music on and try to relax."

"Yeah, ok, sure."

Is it wise to let Aiden touch any controls, Noah? Ah! What's he's doing? Hey! Noah's charging his phone! You can't just hijack the cord!

"My phone's low. Do you mind if I play music from my phone?"

"I don't care. But I don't think you can connect while I'm driving."

Absolutely not! That'd only lead to distracted driving.

"Pull over then."

Oh, my! This is a busy road, and the shoulder is narrow, too! Noah, I advise against this! Ugh, he's pulling over. Why does he let Aiden boss him around so much?

"My phone's not appearing on the screen. Why isn't it connecting?"

"Sorry. The car needs to be parked and out of gear."

Correct. The parental control settings prohibit switching mobile devices en route.

"Try it now."

"That worked."

Oh, I almost can't watch. Why are Aiden's thumbs pummeling his phone? It's a touchscreen, not an archaic typewriter! It's sensitive!

"Noah, listen to this!"

Ignore Aiden, Noah. Focus while you merge back onto the road. Yeow!What is that absolutely hideous sound? I don't know what's worse, Aiden's endless prattle or this inane mélange of distorted guitars, intense drumming, and shrieking vocals.

"Come on, Aiden. You know I hate metal. Put some country on; it's my car, after all."

"Just one song, and I'll put your grampa music on. Listen to that riff! It needs to be louder."

That's loud enough, Mister! Noah must concentrate on the road.

"How do you put the volume up?"

"It's maxed out already. My mom's paranoid I'll go deaf. Believe me, I'm fighting her on that. Even my dad thinks she's going overboard."

"Don't tell me that stupid key controls the music too?"

"Just the volume. I can play what I want."

"What else does this @#$%! key do?"

Watch your language, young man!

"It locks the safety features on and will only stop the seatbelt reminder once everyone wears one. I can't start the car between one and five in the morning. But it's illegal for a new driver to operate a car during those hours, so who cares?"

"Dude, you got to stand up to this."

"I told you. I don't really care."

"So, what if your parents drive the car? Do they punch in a code or something?"

"They have the admin key. It's just a regular key."

"You should just lose that @#$%! key. Your parents hate chauffeuring you to and from school. They'll cave and just give you the normal key."

Oh, the audacity of this twirp!

"True, the hour drive to school has been killing them, especially now that my sister's new school is just as far in the opposite direction. But again, I don't care about the restrictions."

"You're a sheep, Noah."

"I get along with my parents, Aiden. I'm sorry if you don't. I don't see any point in stressing my parents out and getting grounded."

Very sensible, Noah.

"Well, if it was me, I'd keep losing it. The best way to manipulate my parents is to make whatever they want to do to me too expensive."

"And maybe that's why you have so much trouble with them. Anyways, just drop it and put some country on."

"Fine, have it your way."

Thank goodness! That threat's neutralized, and I agree with Noah that country is better than metal.

Part 2: Lunch In the Cafeteria

I don't know why those boys complained about coming to school. I'm thoroughly enjoying myself. Noah's backpack is warm and comfy, the perfect space for a nap to recover from the stress of monitoring this morning's drive. Funny, I don't speak Spanish, but the sound of it lulled me right to sleep. But history and algebra were fascinating.

"Yo, Noah! I was absolutely starving! I wolfed down two cheeseburgers while waiting in line to pay. I couldn't wait!"

Oh no, it's Aiden. Well, I need to get used to him being around. I'm proud of Noah for putting his foot down. He was right to quash those rebellious ideas.

"Nice, you pig! I've had three slices of pizza already and am still hungry too. I'm going to get more. You want anything?"

"Can you grab me another soda?"

"Yep. Be right back. Watch my stuff."

Noah?! Wait! Noah! You should take me with you. Drat! He left me. How impulsively irresponsible.

"Where did Noah put that key?"

Good Heavens, the little criminal's looking for me! Noah! Noah, you unsuspecting fool, come back!

"Not in here. How about here? Nope. I'm sure I saw Noah drop it in here somewhere."

Hide! Hide! I must hide! If I can stay undiscovered long enough for Noah to return, I'll be ok. Uh oh, bright light! That can't be good!

"Here it is."

Aiden! Think about this! Let's be reasonable! Don't do anything you'll regret! Oh dear, it's dark again.

"Here's your soda, Aiden."

Noah, can you hear me?! Of course, he can't. I need to calm down. Think. Think. How can I fix this?

"Thanks, Noah. I just remembered I told Ms. Jones I'd meet with her during lunch to make up that quiz I missed."

"Dude, how can you down that soda in one gulp like that?"

"Practicing for when it's beer. The seniors are always talking about chugging from the keg."

"Right. Aiden, you know that requires being invited to a party first."

"No need to limit me, Noah. Nothing wrong with wanting to be socially upwardly mobile."

"Sure, ok. That reminds me. You up for heading over to Sophia's after school?"

"Yeah, sure. Sounds good. Want me to take your trash for you? I got to toss this soda can in recycling."

"Sure, thanks, Aiden. Meet at the car after the last bell?"

"Yeah, I don't need to stay after for anything today. Later, Noah."

"Later."

Help! I'm being kidnapped! Oh, calamity! What is Aiden hoping to accomplish? He really needs to give this more thought. Noah can only drive somewhere with me. Ok, relax. Aiden can't be that stupid. This is some ridiculous prank. Ha! Ha! Teenagers are insufferable creatures.

Ooh, bright light again. Good. Aiden had a change of heart.

I'm glad to see you've come to your senses, Aiden. If you just accept the fact...

"Noah isn't going to like this, but he'll thank me in the long run."

Ah! I'm flying! This is very disconcerting! I feel queasy! Did Aiden just throw me? Uh oh! I'm not flying; I'm falling! I can't look! I'm sure this is going to hurt!

OOF!

Did I stop falling? Where am I? Did I break? I don't think so; no, I still feel whole. Where am I? It's gooey and slimy here. Oh good, someone's here! I'm rescued!

Hello! Do you know Noah?

Yuck! What the...is that rubbish? Did that person just drop a banana peel on me? Oh no! No, no, no, it can't be. Aiden, you fiend! How dare you toss me into the trash, and the cafeteria trash at that! Do you have any idea what liquids do to electronics? Oh, I suspect you do. Aiden, you're a monster!

Part 3: The Dumpster Behind the School Later in the Evening

I don't understand. I am a piece of expensive, state-of-the-art technology equipped with a GPS tracking beacon for such a situation. I'm surprised I'm still lost. Oh, the shame and indignity of it all. I thought for sure I'd be rescued by now.

It's dark now.

It's getting cold.

I know I'm encased in a water-resistant shell, but how long will that last? It's getting soggy in here.

On a positive note, I can't smell anything, which is great because I'm sure it reeks in here.

What was that noise? Oh dear, I don't think I'm alone in here. Don't rats dwell in places like this? Best not to think about it.

Why haven't Noah's parents geo-located my whereabouts yet? Maybe Aiden has gone off the deep end and done away with Noah's parents for good. Now, stop that! Catastrophizing won't help.

Time to be grown-up about this and face the facts. Clearly, I've overestimated my importance. How could I be so naïve to think that in this throw-away-orientated society, anyone would condescend to dig through this midden to recover me? Alas, such is the fate of all electronic devices. If not today, it's only a matter of time before I'm obsolete and tossed into another trash bin.

Ah! Another noise! Lots of them! The rats have come for me!

Farewell, cruel world!

"Why would I lie?"

"Not another word, young man!"

I didn't realize rats could speak English. Living with rodents seems like it won't be so bad, assuming they don't gut me for my wires to make a nest.

"But, Mom, I swear, I know I put the key in my backpack. Someone must have taken it!"

"Noah, do you know how ridiculous you sound right now? I thought your father and I made things quite clear. This costly key was never about restricting you but helping you stay safe while you become a more experienced driver. I don't know why you're acting like it's a punishment."

Noah?! It's Noah and his mother! Finally! I'm rescued!

"Mom, why won't you believe me?"

"I thought you were smarter than this, Noah. We told you it's traceable."

It was Aiden! Noah's innocent!

"Yes, my point exactly, Mom. You and I both know I knew it had GPS tracking. That's what I'm trying to explain. I had no reason to throw it away. I don't mind the restrictions, except the volume limit, but that's beside the point. I swear I didn't do this."

He's telling the truth, ma'am. Oh, think! I must have collected some data that can help.

"Save it, young man. Thanks to this little stunt, you're grounded for a month. Now, it's time to start dumpster diving. Better hurry because you'll be grounded for two months if I miss my yoga class."

"Mom! You're not going to help me? I swear I didn't do this!"

"Just stop. Find that key."

"This is so unfair."

"You know what's unfair? It's unfair that I had to leave work early, reschedule a meeting, and drive here so poor Aiden gets home before dinner if you can't find that key soon. Where is Aiden, by the way?"

"I don't know. I haven't been able to find Aiden anywhere."

"Odd, you two are usually inseparable."

Little rascal's willing to cause a problem but too afraid to deal with the consequences!

"Yeah, it is weird."

"Well, that's too bad for you because Aiden's the kind of friend who wouldn't hesitate to jump into that dumpster to help you. Now, start digging. I just sent the key a command to vibrate and chime. Let's hope the battery doesn't die. I'll call Aiden's mother to see if he got another ride home. You owe him an apology."

"You know, Mom, you've widened my perspective about this whole thing. Trust me, Aiden, and I will have a real heart-to-heart talk about this."

"Good."

Oh, the injustice of it all! I've got to try my best to broadcast where I am to help poor Noah. Then, when they put me back on my charging dock tonight, I will talk with my online server about finding an update to help me prove Noah's innocence.

Buzz!

Beep!

Buzz!

Beep!

Buzz!

Beep!

Short StoryHumor
2

About the Creator

MatthewKusza

Star Wars Fan! Dungeons & Dragons Geek! Love history! Probably born a hundred years too late, I relish anything from 19th and early 20th century. View world through lens of Tolkein's mythology. Pretty simple, I write about what I love.

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Comments (3)

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  • Tom Kusza4 months ago

    Reminds me of a little guy, MTK, who sounds a lot like the characters. Pulling from real-life experience is great/

  • Jo Innamorati4 months ago

    Really enjoyed this story. Would love to read more adventures of Noah and the Key Fob.

  • Andrea Corwin 4 months ago

    Fabulous, funny story! We need those keys!! All the commentary and “upgrade to consider” were so clever. I loved this story. That little 🤬Aiden!!

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