“If I had kept up with school, I would know a really high number to count up to,” I say carefully. “And I might, just might, have fewer grey hairs.”
Jay considers that gravely. “But,” the creature that look like an eleven year old boy proclaims, “then we wouldn’t be friends!”
“No. We wouldn’t.”
He misses the implications of that entirely, being Jay. “And I can’t see.”
“I know that.”
He sticks his tongue out at my tone. “It means I can’t see your grey hairs so that means you’re still all young and an awesome friend.” And he grins after that, innocent and delighted.
“Tell me, kiddo, did you grin at the cookies?”
Jay scratched his head at that. “Nope! I just made them,” he explains.
“Yes.” I look about the motel suite carefully. The oven isn’t on, the cookies are on plates rather than sheets and the walls are blackened, wood peeling like wallpaper. “Can I ask how?”
“Okay! I made them warm because there is heat everywhere and the oven isn’t connected to the internet so using it would be kinda tough. I’m really good with bindings and chemicals are just bindings, so!”
“And the reason the walls are peeling and smell like chocolate chip cookies?”
“Oooh, that. I think I got the heat from someplace that was pretty weird! But the cookies are really good and nummy!”
“This from someone who ate dirty socks thinking they were a monster.”
“It was only the once,” he pouts.
I sigh, pick up a cookie. Take a bite, then another. And a second cookie before I can stop myself. “They’re good.”
“Uh-huh!” You could bounce a nuclear weapon off his pride.
“Now you get to figure out how to bind the walls back together.” I pause a beat. “I’ll go get milk to go with the cookies.”
I take two cookies with me when I leave, and I am almost certain Jay didn’t bind them to seem delicious even if they aren’t. Almost.