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by Eric Miller

“Grandpa’s here,” his daughter called out to his two grandsons: five year old “Demmo” and eight year old “Lishun.”

“Which Grandpa?,” both boys asked in unison.

“You only have one Grandpa,” Mom replied.

“Yeah, but he flips. Sometimes he’s Grandpa and sometimes he’s Grump-pa,” came the singular, double response.

“Well, today it’s Grump-pa,” Grandpa said growling, as he picked up Demmo, twirled him over his head, slam-dunked him onto the sofa, and tickled him unmercifully.

“When’s breakfast?,” Lishun asked.

“Grandpa will make you English muffins. And Dad, don’t let the boys watch television after I leave. You’re the one who is always complaining that it makes them brain-dead, decreases their attention span, and stifles their curiosity and analytical skills.”

“Do you know how to make English muffins, Grandpa?, Demmo asked.

“Well, I know how to make Chinese muffins, French muffins, Nigerian muffins, Brazilian muffins, and Indonesian muffins, but no, I don’t know how to make English muffins.”

“Grandpa, you just stick that muffin over there into the toaster,” Lishun instructed.

“Yeah, Grandpa, you have to take some responsabillybee to know how to make us  English muffins.”

“Who’s responsabillyabee?, Grandpa asked. “Is he one of your new friends?”

“No Grandpa,” Demmo replied. “It’s a thing, not a person.”

“What kind of thing?”

“You know, the kind of thing you’re supposed to have when you mess up your room, so you can clean it up.”

“Oh, that responsabillyabee. There must be two of them like there is two of me.”

“Let’s play chase us,” Lishun announced.

“No, it takes too long for my knees to recover,” Grandpa confessed.

“Well, just be slow and sneaky and trap us then,” Demmo suggested.

“I’m leaving,” Mom announced. Don’t forget, Demmo, turn off the television as soon as Lishun leaves for the school bus. He has to be out the door at exactly 8:25.”

“Only four more minutes,” Grandpa said to Lishun, who lay on the couch in his pajamas watching the television.

“Okay,” Lishun grunted.

“No, Lishun. It’s 8:21. You only have four minutes to get dressed and leave.”

Lishun rose from the sofa like a rocket rising, and in one continuous, choreographed move, he removed his pajamas, pulled up his pants, pulled down his sweater, stepped into his shoes, slipped his arm through his backpack, and ran through the screen in the door, leaving a cut-out in it as if he were a cartoon character.

“This is a good movie you’re watching, Demmo,”  Grandpa said, as he sat on the couch.

“We have to turn the television off,” Demmo reminded him.

“No, it’s okay. This is a good movie.”

“Mommy will be real mad if she sees us watching television when she gets home.”

“No, not if it’s a good movie,” Grandpa replied.

“I thought I told you to turn the television off when I left,” Mom screamed when she got home.

Grandpa pointed to Demmo, and Demmo pointed to Grandpa, as they both said in perfect unison: “He made me do it.”