because I'm hungry, were the words that spewed
from my niece's mouth as we pulled into the restaurant's
parking lot. A fire truck and an ambulance -
both with lights flashing - were parked directly in front
of the entrance. I'm sorry there's a problem, she continued,
but I'm tired, my stomach's growling, and they need
to get out of my way. The car echoed
in stunned silence, as the rest of our family digested
the heartless statements. What? she mused,
then smiled a familiarly impish grin. I'm kidding,
she said as the car erupted with relieved laughter.
But just to be safe, we should probably go
somewhere else. She laughed along with us.
They might be responding to a case of food poisoning.