The whole family is in the kitchen trying to find something to eat. I just got my driver's license and we thought Mom was going to make dinner fo us, to celebrate, but everyone wants something we don't have, so she makes herself a Scotch and water. I settle for Velveeta cheese. Dad has Mint Chip ice cream. Marc tries to make himself a slurpee in the blender, but it's a lot crunchier than he expected, so he has nothing.

Em Oy El Xi Fi

Mom knows she disappointed us with dinner so she suggests we play Scrabble. Dad and I agree immediately, because we always want a chance to beat Mom. Marc hates Scrabble--he's not a words person--but the only time I can win is when he plays: Mom and Dad make two and three letter words that get lots of points and don't leave space to make anything but more two and three letter words. Marc always sits next to me, and sacrifices his turn with words like R-U-L-E-R which is only worth five points, but pokes out in the board and gives me lots of good letters to work with. I convince Marc to play by telling him I'll sit in his bedroom and listen to the money clink on the Pink Floyd record. He says he'll play if I'll also drive him to 7-11 to get a slurpee.

The only time we talk is to challenge. Dad challenges Mom on fi. "Dad," Marc says, "Don't challenge her. You know she's memorized the whole 'Scrabble Dictionary'."

"Dad, do it," I say. I kick Marc under the table. Marc and I can only benefit from this challenge--either Mom loses a turn or Dad loses a turn.

Dad looks at Mom, looks for signs. He can't read her, though. "Well," he says, "I'll just try it."

He looks up fi. Of course it is a word: a latin word.

"That'll teach you to challenge me," Mom says, and collects her thirty eight points.

Mom wins. Now Mom's in the mood to make us all what we want for dinner. But now Marc and I are driving to 7-11.




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