For the last three hours, Danny Blake had become increasingly fractious.
Perhaps the biggest contributing factor was that “Clash of Candy Bird Ninjas” was not, in fact, the thrill-packed super addictive app its store page had promised. In all honesty it hadn't even entertained him until they'd left their home town.
Moreover,, as of about twenty minutes ago the game's poor quality had become a moot point, owing to the fact that his phone's battery had drained to nothing and despite his best efforts, resolutely refused to charge from the meagre amount of power offered by the car's on board USB hub.
And finally, perhaps he would only be tired and cranky were they taking a more scenic route, but the perfect monotony of endless motorway had been taking its toll on him ever since he realised the app he'd downloaded for the trip was garbage.
As it stood, he was tired, cranky and bored.
He tried his phone again in the hopes that the feeble car charger had at least served up enough power for him to turn it on and call somebody, or aimlessly surf the internet for a minute or two.
No such luck; a battery icon flashed defiantly at him before the screen went black once more, hammering home the harsh reality that the remainder of the journey was going to be spent enduring crushing boredom.
He looked out the window in case anything interesting might appear or go by, but the motorway continued into oblivion; as astoundingly dull as it was long.
For a moment a sign caught his attention, but he quickly forgot it once he realised it only indicated their proximity to a service stop.
Danny sighed heavily as he resorted to listening in to what his parents were talking about, but as he feared, all they were talking about right now was just the impenetrable dullness of local government policies in the little town they were moving to.
Even the radio wasn't engaging him right now: for the umpteenth time, a newsreader went through the day's articles, though they might as well have been the same articles as any in the last ten or so years.
Somebody had gone to jail, people were killing each other in far off countries and a celebrity had said a thing: same old, same old.
He wondered for a moment just how much the newsreader got paid, but it wasn't long until the boredom set in again.
Finally – as futile as it may well be – Danny felt driven to subject his parents to some whinging, if only to make his current displeasure known.
“Are we nearly there yet?” he asked, being sure to use the time-honoured rhythm and intonation that drove parents across the world to despair, but when his mother turned round he instantly felt guilt sinking in.
She smiled weakly at him to indicate her sympathy, “it's not all that far now” she soothed, “yeah, don't worry, we're only going to be moving for another half hour at the most” his father added.
His mother looked sure of this, raising her eyebrows in agreement.
His dad continued, glancing in the rear-view mirror so he could get a good look at him, “look, I know it's been a long journey. Tell you what; once we get there, I'll just dump all our stuff down and we'll all go out for a nice big lunch. How does that sound?”
Danny nodded enthusiastically, relieved his parents hadn't picked him up for his comment. That morning he'd not had anything for breakfast save for a pathetically small cereal bar so any news of food was music to his ears.
“Sounds great” he replied “thanks dad.”
“That's okay, but any more bellyaching like that and you're unpacking the car by yourself.”
He laughed nervously.
He deserved that, he thought to himself.