“The fact that the only fandom references you make are in order to be demeaning and derogatory is an offence to nerds everywhere,” snapped Roger.
“Isn’t it dangerous to use every word you know in a sentence?” snapped Linda.
“You plagiarized that from a Disney movie, so it doesn’t count.”
Linda gave Roger another killer look but he just looked down at Grandpa. He was sitting in his chair like he usually did, smiling quietly. Grandpa never really said much until after breakfast, and Roger had gotten used to that sweet smile that didn’t really mean anything. But he wished that Grandpa was more like his old self, the self that the summer before that had taken them on rides to the dump and swims in the river and hunts for splelunks. The Grandpa from last summer would have made Linda nicer. The Grandpa from last summer would have known what to do to make Mavis well.
“How did you sleep?” asked Grandma to no one in particular.
“Amazing,” said Roger and Mavis at the same time.
“Horribly,” said Linda. “This house is a creaky mess.”
“On the bright side,” said Roger, “Mavis had a great dream last night.”
“You did, dear?”
“It was a really weird dream,” said Mavis. “There was this train station in your shed, and a talking fish.”
“It was the Gullumgall'ad,” said Roger. “Pass the butter, will you? Thanks. Anyway, the Gullumgall'ad grants wishes. At least he says that he does. I said that I didn’t believe he could, so he said he would to prove it.”
“So what did you wish for?” asked Grandma.
“I would have wished for a gag that couldn’t be removed by anyone but me,” said Linda, still glaring at Roger. “And then I would have put it on you and never touched it again.”
Both Grandma and Mavis gave Linda a look that she pretended to ignore.
“I wished that Mavis and would get tickets today so that we can go back.”
“Why would you want to go back?” asked Linda.
Roger looked over at Mavis and the dark circles under her eyes. Her shoulders were sagging. “It was a fun dream,” said Roger, telling the first layer of truth. “I was enjoying it.”
“Well, it sounds like it was a good night,” said Grandma.
“It sounds like you were doing some good drugs,” said Linda.
“Next time we’ll be sure to invite you,” said Roger.
“That’s enough,” said Grandma.
“I’m going to go lay down,” said Mavis.
“Are you alright?”
“I’m just tired.”
“Want help up the stairs?” asked Roger.
“Why would she need help up the stairs?” asked Grandma.
“I’m fine,” said Mavis, getting up.
But Roger followed her and stayed one step behind to make sure she would make it up. Mavis crawled up into her bed and prepared to try and ignore her headache, but Roger was still in the room. “You ok?” she asked with her eyes still closed.
“Yeah,” said Roger. “You?”
“I’m the same as always.”
She didn't see it, but Roger’s face fell and he stuck his hands in his pockets. “It was a cool dream though, wasn’t it?”
“Yeah. It was.”
“Wish it was real.”
“Me too,” Mavis whispered.
She didn’t wake up until Grandma came up with her lunch tray.
“Why is your bathrobe in the corner?” asked Grandma, fussing around. “You should hang it up, dear.”
Mavis was too busy trying to make herself want to eat to say anything.
“And why is the corner wet?”
Grandma held up the robe. “Why is the hem wet?”
“I--I dont know.”
“Well, that is odd. It isn’t like you’ve been anywhere in your bathrobe.” She smoothed it out and laid it over the back of a chair. “I’m glad that you had that dream. I haven’t seen Roger that excited about anything since you got here. You must have enjoyed telling it to him.”
“Mmm-hhhmm,” said Mavis. How could she have gotten her hem wet? She puzzled about it off and on for almost all afternoon, in a sleepy and not very focused way.