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One Thousand, Nine-Hundred, and Eighty-Four Miles to Go

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"Why'd Jacky Boy have to get married all the way out in Santa Fe? I don't wanna drive for two fckin' days," Spot said tiredly, as he shook ash from his cigarette out the window of the small, used, 2002 sports car.
"Would you stop that damn it? I won't get the deposit back on the car. And it's one day, five hours. That's like, a day an' a quarter or something like that. Still, you'd think he wants ta marry the city more than he wants ta marry the girl,"
The young man driving looked like he had been through hell and back. Ten minutes in, a few thousand more to go.
"What's it matter anyways? It ain't in the car, it's out the damn window. Since when are you one to complain about smoke?"
"IT AIN'T MY CAR, SPOT."
"You coulda told me that. Sorry man."
"I just... I wanted to show off alright. Wanted you to think I had a nice car and all..."
"Race, we live in New York City. No one gives a damn if you've got a car, you can't get it down the road anyways. Just tell the truth."
29 hours. 29 more hours of an angsty 20 year old and a hormonal 18 both on Nicotine withdrawals. It would be shocking if they made it to New Mexico alive.
"If you didn't have a car, why didn't you just let us ride with everyone else in the Mouth's van?"
"You, I could put up with for five days. Not a single one of them. They're probably on potty break number three already and someone's playin' the ABC's on the radio,"
Spot chuckled, before realizing,
"Hold on, was that... A compliment?"
"I dunno man, was it?"
"You're hopeless," Spot elbowed him with a smirk, before turning around to take a nap.
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"Aight, wake up bud, we're making a stop."
"Ugahsgaj..." Spot was mumbling incoherently.
"They've got cupcakes. Come on, get outta the car,"
"Cupcakes?"
The mention of sugary sweets could get any Brooklyn boy up and at 'em.
"Yeah, but there honestly the worst thing here. We're stopped at my uncle Carlo's Bakery in Jersey. We promised the cowboy we'd pick up cookies and cassata, remember?"
"What the hell is cassata?"
They were half way across the parking lot by now, not looking forward to returning.
"Ey, Alessandro's back, everyone"
They were greeted by a chorus of voices as they walked through the door, as Italian families tend to do.
"How ya doin' Tony, I got that order for you right here. One large sheet that says "Happy Wedding, Asshole," and three dozen variety cookies," it looked far to heavy for Race's cousin Buddy to carry, but the bakery boys were used to large orders.
"So who's this you got with ya?"
The woman at the counter asked.
"This is my boy Spot, who's never had Italian food,"
That was the worst sentence anyone in the building had ever heard.
"No way," "We gotta fix this!"
A crowd of voices could be heard from the back. Buddy placed the cake boxes on a table with two chairs, and had the boys sit down next to it. That was where the fun began.
About three sweets in to their feast, Spot asked the question on everyone's minds,
"Wait, if your name's Alessandro, why do they all call you Tony?" He asked between bites of his lady finger.
"Alessandro Antonio Higgins. They call me for my middle name. It's so many letters, you know why I ditched it. Carlos Jr., who started the bakery, had a brother named Tony, that was my dad. He died when I was three, and no one had the money to help me move out here. That's when I started livin' on the streets, and by the time I could finally leave, I didn't want to anymore."
"Like I haven't heard that story before....."
After a good twenty rounds of treats and packing plenty more to-go boxes, the paper boys said their goodbyes, and started their journey forward.
"So cannoli's are just tacos, but with frosting instead of meat?"
Spot asked, still chowing down twenty minutes down the road,
"Well, kind of, but it's now icing, it's ricotta cheese,"
"There's no fuking way this is cheese. This is sweet. It's not fking cheese, stop lying to me, Race," the smaller boy was trying to speak with his mouth full of food.
"It's cheese. It don't taste like its cheese, but it is cheese. I don't understand it either. I'll show you how to make them some time,"
"WHAT? You knew how to make these this whole time? I could have been living off of funny cheese tacos my whole life, and you never gave me one?"
"Spot, you already DO live off of cheese tacos. These are cannolis, there's a difference,"
"I don't care, it tastes like heaven"
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Chapter Text

"Can we stop or somethin'? We've been driving for like a year already!"
"It's only been an hour and a half since we stopped, dumbass. We ain't even out of Jersey yet. And what's gonna be open to stop at, it's two in the fking morning, for crying out loud!"
Though sharper of tongue, Race was the more logical of the pair.
"Taco Bell"
"Taco Bell?"
"Yeah. Ain't you seen the commercials? With the lil yappy dog that says we can eat five miles a day"
"Do they even have Mexican food in jersey?"
"Taco Bell ain't Mexican food, Linguini Alfredo. It's hangover food. And I've got enough of a headache from this damn car ride that we might as well need it."
And they were off. At least Race had known well enough to show up at the bakery right before close, the only time of day the line actually fit inside the door.
The only flaw in his plan, however, was trying to get out of the city and across the state during bar crawl hours. They'd gotten stuck in traffic behind three wrecked cars already, and police cars and Spot Conlon do NOT very well mix.

"There. Pull off right at this next exit,"
Of course the King of Brooklyn never cared to learn to drive. He was eternally the backseat co pilot, and his captain wasn't to fond of his skills.
"It's too late. The lines solid white"
"It's right there we can make it I see it"
Spot turned the wheel.
Nothing would get between him and his Doritos Locos.
"YOU IDIOT. WE'RE GONNA BE THROWN IN PRISON FOR THAT SHIT. you're gonna kill us. You're going to kill us"
"Caught by who. It's the middle of nowhere. Who gives a shit. Just follow the signs to the Taco place."
About ten minutes later, the boys got out of the car and found themselves in the only 24 hour Taco Bell in the state. It was awfully crowded, but highway eateries tend to be.

A tall ginger took their order and cooked the food himself, being the only employee in sight even though he didn't look old enough to have left high school.

"You find us a seat alright, I gotta piss."

They had stopped bickering for a while, but nothing could stop then from being themselves.
'Alright...I gotta figure something out...' a very tired Higgins thought to himself, so in need of a smoke that his attention span was running short.

He looked over at the first pair of open seats. They'd have to share a table with a ten year old boy and his distraught looking mother.

"But mom, it's all true! I swear! I was a grown man the entire time. I had a job and everything. Then I went and found the Zoltar Mach-" "that's ENOUGH sweetheart. I bought you all your favourite foods just-"
'I ain't making him deal with this shit. Not even Spot deserves that,' he thought.
The next table contained only one man, but he was passed out across the table drooling.
'Echk. Wait. Ain't that his own face on his shirt? "Cage in a cage," what a loon'
As a last resort, everyone's favourite Italian sauntered over to a small bench, though he knew they'd have to squeeze, at a three-sided booth where a group of dark haired young men were sitting, seemingly having a decent conversation.

"Joe, I just don't feel right about it. I mean, we pledged to keep the promise rings for life, not just throw them out one day"
"Kev. For the love of god. You're married."

"Hey, uh, do ya mind if my buddy and I sit wicha for a while? This place is kinda crowded." Race asked the brothers.
"Sure, it doesn't seem like a problem to me," the youngest of the three said with a smile.
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A few minutes later, Spot came over with a giant tray of food, knowing damn well that Racetrack Higgins would eat whatever he could get his hands on. "Listen to this Spotty - these guys are touring all over the country, kinda like just how we are. But they're getting PAID for it"
"We oughta ask Jacky boy for a raise then," the smaller boy laughed as he sat down.
They all chatted for a while and exchanged emails, before a younger boy ran in, spinning something bright between his thumb and index finger.
"NO WAY! You guys tried to get Taco Bell without me?! I want some!"
"Big Rob, we asked you to keep Frankie on the bus!" the floppiest-haired of the boys told the large man chasing behind him.
"I know Boss Man, I tried, but like, Little Boss Man is kinda my boss too. Either way, we gotta get going if you boys want to make your next stop on time."
"Woah, what are thooose! Can you make me a fidget spinner out of them, Big Rob?" The Bonus Jonas shouted, throwing his toy at the table and snatching the three rings from Joe's hand.
"Yeah, little man, I think I can make that happen."
"Well, it was nice to meet you guys,"
"Yeah"
"Yeah," they trailed as the five walked peacefully away.
Spot, however, was paying more attention to the sweet boy who had just fallen asleep on his shoulder - and he was going to sit there as long as it took to keep him comfortable.
That was the moment he decided that maybe this trip wouldn't be too bad after all.
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"I can't believe neither of those idiots had ever heard of us," Kevin Jonas cackled to his brother.
Joe was quick to snap back:
"Yeah, what year are they from, like, 1899?"
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