Only a scant few pages whisper under her right thumb, and she leans forward. The tape clicks off, but she does not move to turn in over. The ending grips her in its narrative claws and she succumbs willingly. The monster bears down on the hero, he trips--
"Nora, set the table," her mother says, without even checking to see if she'll obey. She rolls her eyes and returns to her reading. Chris taps her on the shoulder. "Hey, you better do what Mom said, dorkus." She sighs are methodically folds one corner down half an inch and carefully places the paperback in her backpack. **No one said I had to do it quickly.** She takes out plates and silverware and sorts them with a practised hand into four place-settings. She turns to get the glasses and bumps into Chris. He is seething.
"Stupid. What's wrong with you!" She frowns. "I didn't do anything, leave me alone!" He rushes past her and scoops up the extra plate. "This doesn't belong here," he says flatly and slams it back in the cupboard." She is mortified, but dare not let her brother know her shame and sadness. "What do you know anyway," she teases. "Maybe I'm having a friend over." He turns and sneers, "Yeah, and maybe miniature green elephants are invading Kansas."