“I should have worn a condom, but your mother insisted.” Father was sharing a lot today. It was his turn to make breakfast- all powders, wheat grass, plain yogurt, steamed eggs. The food a loved one prepares for you is a microcosm of your relationship. Technically, this breakfast is perfect. My body will function more efficiently than any other nine-year-old at Madison Elementary. I will fucking destroy Reading Group Blue and Indian in the Cupboard. If it’s dodgeball in PE, I will hustle like a rabie-filled raccoon. If it’s square-dancing, I will full-contact do-si-do. I am nourished, sugarless, chronically depressed. Thus, forced to scour the universe (a two-by-two square mile area) for new sources of input and pleasure.

Spoons clink off porcelain in the breakfast corner. Last month, Dad announced deregulation of slurping and cartoons because 1) we are men, 2) slurping reduces dairy spills on his suit and my t-shirt, and 3) Bugs Bunny rules. His logic is consistently indisputable. I don’t ask for donuts for breakfast partially because I’ve never seen one. Plain yogurt becomes incrementally less disgusting each day and I can’t believe adults still try and fail to convert to skim milk. Then again, adults are the most awful, whiney group of people I’ve ever heard of. “Pops–if you’re done with the Scientific American, leave it at my mail spot.”

“Dog-eared a page on light cones.” Dad violates breakfast’s division of labor by washing his own dishes. Guilt. I’ll probably be allowed to watch Adult Swim past midnight tonight. “We should have used protection because we were already fighting over money. That’s all I meant.”

“Yeah, Dad. I know. Am I expensive?”

“Compared to what?”

“The price of me not existing.” Guilt passes from host to host. We have had this conversation before and we will have it again. “In dollars. How much do I cost in dollars? Is it me or a Porsche?” This is not a taunt. I really just want a figure.

“It was you or a house, kiddo. But we already have a house.” Dad’s shoes click on the polished oak floor. I don’t know anything about the finer points of menswear, but I did see a receipt last month for his shoes. $800 sounds like a lot. Maybe we are rich.

Who cares? That doesn’t change the fact that I was going to get my ass kicked today.

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