I'm not sure why we keep Nelly around, but of late I've been pretty happy for it.
"Damn it, Marie," my father groused as he shuffled through papers on the dining room table. "You always do this. I need something important, and I can't find it because you decided to 'put it away.'"
"David, I didn't touch any of your stuff," my stepmother replied. "Nelly came today and she probably moved it somewhere."
"Right," my father snorted. "Well, all the other stuff is still here. So unless Nelly put my notebook in the dishwasher, someone else did something with it."
I bit back a laugh at my father's joke. Wouldn't that be just like Nelly? The old loon.
The thing about hyperbolic jokes, though, is that they're only funny because they're too ridiculous to be true. If our cleaning lady had, in fact, secreted my father's vital work documents away in some obscure location, that wouldn't be comical so much as disturbing. Right?
I went into the kitchen to grab a snack and, in the course of my rummaging, found something that didn't belong.
No, wait for it. Here:
That's right. Nelly, who at one point managed to fit our entire movie collection into the envelope drawer of my mother's office on a different level of the house, had somehow upped the ante.
"It has to be a game," Thomas declared when he saw the notebook. "It has to be a game."
I stroked my imaginary beard thoughtfully.
"Touché, Nelly," I whispered into the dim light of the suddenly sinister kitchen. "Touché."