The dinner conversation, last night, with Charlie’s sleepover guest:
Charlie’s friend: We don’t have pets at my house. But I’ve been gaining experience with different kinds of pets during all my sleepovers at friends’ houses.
Charlie: What are all the pets you’ve seen so far — since moving here to California? (The sleepover friend is a recent transplant from NY state. He and Charlie, “Jersey Boy,” were instant friends when they met at the start of the school year.)
Charlie’s friend: I’ve come in contact with a few dogs and cats. And then at one sleepover, I got to hold the cutest bunny rabbit. (Pause) Now at your house, I’ll be exposed to rats.
Charlie: Yes. And don’t forget my big brother’s black rat snake.
Charlie’s friend: Oh yeah, there’s a snake in this house too.
(Max, sitting tall at the far end of the table, smirks.)
Scott: Maybe you shouldn’t tell your Mom anything about the rats and the snake. She knows about the dog. Maybe you should just leave it at that.
Charlie’s friend: (wide-eyed and serious) But I tell my mom everything when she asks how the sleepover went.
(Max is giggling uncontrollably now.)