It is Sunday morning and the child we’ve had for a sleepover should have been picked up over an hour ago. My wife and I are discussing how best to show disapproval to the child’s parents without seeming petty…
“When they arrive,” I say, “I think we should be standoffish.”
“Yes,” agrees my wife, “standoffish and violent.”
“No. You can’t be violent with other parents,” I say.
“It’s the only reason I had kids.”
The sleepover kid stomps down the stairs…
“I want Spaghetti Hoops,” it says. It’s been saying that since it got dropped off. I think they’re the only two words that it knows. I half expected him to turn into one during the night and roll down the stairs.
I fish out the tin opener, remove the lid and slide the hoops into the microwave. I turn around and I am slightly startled to see the sleepover kid stood motionless, staring at me.
“Spaghetti Hoops,” it says.
“I’m doing them,” I reply, and point to the hoops rotating around the microwave.
Ping! Goes the microwave. I put the steaming hoops in a bowl and set them on the kitchen table. The kid sits down.
“Spoon,” it says.
“Spoon?” I ask. I don’t know why I just repeated what it said, I think I was just so excited to be saying a different word.
“Get your own spoon,” says my wife as she glides across the kitchen, like a gunslinger entering a bar to get rid of the local menace.
“You can’t say that,” I whisper.
“Of course I can,” she says and points to the kid, “He’s thirteen.”