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So, I came home from Wal-Mart with Kristin, and Sammy was trudging up the stairs with tears in her eyes.

“Whoa, whoa. What’s the matter?” I asked.

“I’m punished.”

“For what?”

“For nothing.”

“Well, okay, what did you supposedly do?”

“For being mean to Franky. But I wasn’t,” she stated.

“Right,” I said. “Well, come upstairs. We’ll put on Nickelodeon.”

I held out my hand and she took it and we headed up to our room.

“Let’s play some cards,” I said. “You figure out how to get these open and I’m gonna put on my pajamas. I’ll be right back.”

When I came back, Sammy was wandering aimlessly around the hallway outside her room.

“What are you doing? Where are the cards?”

“I’m not even allowed in my room.”

“Tell your mom you’re going to bed.”

“Oh. Okay.”

So, Sammy said she was going to bed and we watched some SpongeBob and started playing a game of War with my new Las Vegas cards.

“Can I shuffle the cards?” Sammy asked.

“No, you’re punished. I shuffle,” I replied.

We played War through two episodes of Full House on Nick @ Nite and we were still playing when Ellie came through the door with Kristin – who was wearing a baseball helmet, complete with face mask.

“What in the hell are you wearing?” I asked. “Be quiet. Sammy’s punished.”

“I thought there was a bad guy.”

“Has she lost her mind?” I looked toward Ellie.

Ellie nodded, then pointed at Sammy. “What did she do?”

“I didn’t do anything,” Sammy blurted out.

“She was mean to Franky.”


“Right. Okay, be quiet. We’re playing War.”

Sammy and I continued our game through an episode of The Cosby Show when, all of a sudden, we heard a noise and looked through the bathroom into Courtney’s room to see my uncle closing the window.

“Shit, your dad,” I whispered.

Sammy’s eyes got real big. “Oh no, he’s going to kill me. I’m scared.”

I grabbed her cards and threw them at Ellie. “Get in your bed!”

She scrambled noisily up her ladder and flopped onto her bed. “Is he really there?”

Ellie, Kristin and I were trying really hard not to laugh – or to make eye contact with my uncle in the next room. Ellie and I kept playing War (don’t ever play War with her, she cheats) until I won in an amazing double War over two tens and two aces.

“Where’s Kristin?” Sammy asked from her bed.

“Who knows. Probably in her room admiring herself in the mirror with that damn helmet on,” I answered sarcastically.

Ellie pointed at the helmet on the floor in front of me.


“I heard something! Fabio! Fabio!”

“Sam, be quiet.”

“Are you guys going to bed now? Go to bed now,” she said.


Kristin came back and she and Ellie left the room a few minutes after that. Then I began writing this journal entry and Sammy creeped down the ladder to see what I was giggling about.

“Lisa. Lisa. Lisa! Lisa. Lisa! Lisa!”


“What are you writing about?”


“Let me read it, dinklebird. What does ‘trugged’ mean? What are we gonna say if my dad knows? Ah heard sum’m. There’s some’n at the doa. What are we gonna say? I’m skerred.”

“Shh. What’s with the Georgia accent? It’s says ‘trudging’, not ‘trugged’. Be quiet. You’re punished, remember?”

After I finished rereading and editing this entry with Sammy’s help, I rolled over (remember: I type on lying on my stomach on the floor) and tickled her.

“Ooh. Don’t make me laugh at this time of night!” She yelped. “Didja hurr sum’m?”

“You’re nuts. Bed. Now. Punished.”

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