The train was rolling west through the corn and wheat fields, and dusk was starting to settle in. We had been under way about 3 hours, and a little boy of about 5 years was starting to get restless a few seats in front of me. He would peek out, wander briefly into the aisle, stand up on his seat—all to the increasing distress of his mother: "Sit down â¦ can't you behave? ... be quiet!" And finally, the sound I had been dreading, the crack of flesh against flesh, as she slapped her little boy in the face. He whimpered briefly, she hissed, "Now stop it," and all was ominously quiet.