Everything seems boring over reheated leftover spaghetti. I watched as my parents' heads sank lower and lower and lower, until their noses were parallel to their white plates. It was as silent as a dead tree besides the sound of stifled chewing and the occasional rude clack of silverware against dishware. Daddy's sluggish brain finally realized it'd been too quiet too long, and he resorted to a familiar meaningless question.
"What did you learn today in school, girls?"
"Nothing," I replied between bites. This wasn't the truth, but did Daddy really want to hear about algebra and Andrew Jackson?

But BabyTessie (who's not such a baby now that she's five, but the name's like glue,) smiled her tiny teeth and blinked her sea glass eyes and said
"We learned to lie in school today."
The next silence swallowed us whole. It was a long moment before our spaghetti brains could untangle that sentence. Mother was the first to recover.
"You learned what?"

"We learned to lie. Mrs. Charis calls it Creative Stories but really it's lying."
Mother and Daddy eased back into their dinner plates.
"I remember doing that, BabyTessie, did Mrs. Charis read to you from her big Fairy Tale book?" I asked.
"No. She took us bowling."
Mother blinked, her brown eyes so full of confusion I thought they'd pop. "Bowling?"

BabyTessie nodded.
"Yeah, bowling. I scored a strike, too, but the machine wouldn't give my ball back. It was such a pretty ball, the only one with pink diamonds in it, so I had to go after it."
"What?" Mother whispered.
"I climbed into the big machine thingy, and it was SO DARK that if I'd had a flashlight I wouldn't even see that. So, I closed my eyes and pretended I could see. The tunnel went on forEVER andEVER and about the time I turned thirty I finally saw something.

"It was this little green frog who I named Herbert. He was really nice. He told me that he'd seen my bowling ball being dragged really really fast into this hole by this big metal robot arm. Well, Herbert showed me the hole and we jumped in."
Mother was fingering her gold crucifix necklace and staring hard at BabyTessie, looking worried. "It's okay, Mother, we put on our parachutes first.