The Muscle

[Scene: I am accompanying Beth, age 11, as she goes door-to-door selling fundraising items for school]
Me: “You don’t have to say ‘we’ are selling stuff to the people who answer the door. It’s just you selling things.”
Beth: “But you’re with me.”
Me: “But I’m not selling anything. I’m just the muscle.”
Beth: “The MUSCLE?”
Me: “Yeah. I’m your bodyguard in case something goes sideways.”
Beth: “MY BODYGUARD?!”
Me: “That’s right.” [flexes] “You are carrying money around, after all.”
Beth: [raises an eyebrow] “Then why did you bring the dog?”
Me: “She’s also the muscle, like a guard dog. Plus, holding her leash makes it look less weird that I’m standing out on the sidewalk. And if anyone is interested in buying a puppy, we can tell them she’s pregnant and due soon.”
Beth: “She’s a small beagle. I don’t think anyone would think of her as a guard dog.”
Me: [shrugs] “She’s loud if nothing else.”
Beth: [rolls her eyes] “OK, Dad.”
Me: “So how many more houses do you want to do?”
Beth: “I don’t know. I’m getting kind of tired.”
Me: “You know, there are people who do this every day for their jobs, going door to door to sell stuff.”
Beth: “That sounds so sad. Who would do that?”
Me: “Well, maybe those people like walking, and talking with new people.”
Beth: “I can tell you right now: That’s definitely not me.”
Me: “Someday, you might be that desperate for work.”
Beth: “I hope not.”

Boys are all demon robots

Me: “Did you know that boy?”
Beth: [age 11] “Yes. He’s terrible.”
Me: “Um… that’s pretty harsh. What about that other boy we passed?”
Beth: “He’s the worst of them.”
Me: “I am starting to get the impression that you pretty much hate all boys.”
Beth: “Well, they’re just so… hateable.”
Me: “All of them?”
Beth: [declaratively] “Boys are all demon robots.”
Me: “DEMON ROBOTS?!”
Beth: “Yes.”
Me: “I didn’t know Hell had started to automate its forces. Do they have drones too?”
Beth: “They’re demons because they’re so awful, but they’re robots because they’re so dumb on their own.”
Me: “Come on. You can’t literally hate ALL the boys.”
Beth: “Well, I don’t hate [K].”
Me: “So [K] is not so bad?”
Beth: “Yes, but only because he never talks and he stays away from me.”
Me: “So boys are tolerable if they’re silent and far away?”
Beth: “EXACTLY!”
Me: “Hmmm. Well, honestly… boys /can/ be the worst. Maybe you should keep feeling this way for at least another ten years or so.”
Beth: “Don’t worry. I will.”

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