“Jay. Where were you?” I ask when he returns to the hotel room.
He grins as only Jay can, a huge welcoming grin of innocence and pride. “I was having an adventure!”
“And this adventure was somewhere in particular?” I press.
“Oh, I had lots today. I even had one with Charlie, Honcho.”
“Yes. Her waking up with a beard does count as an adventure.” The sarcasm sails over Jay’s head, and not just because he’s eleven.
“Uh-huh. I also helped a lost cat, did a rain dance with some clouds, maybe said hi to myself in the future like a jayboss does and was pretty awesomesauce at skipping rope.”
“Oh, that was just the first few hours. I had two lunches after that, I made friends with a family, totally helped a troll get over a fear of bridges by being jaysome and –.”
“And after supper?” I ask.
“I was on TV then,” he says, radiating pride. “And after that I met a duckling who was sad so I introduced them to a baby dragon and –.”
“I imagine you did. Let’s focus on you being on TV.” I pause. “And that Charlie and I might have seen that.”
“Oh!” And Jay’s grin gets even more jaysome as he bounces onto the bed to sit beside me. “Did you record me? I bet if I watched me again I’d be extra jaysome!”
“You don’t show up on recordings, remember?”
“But but but I tried really hard!”
I close my eyes. Count to ten. “I am aware of that. You were answering questions. I believe, however, that the show is Wheel of Fortune and not Wheel of Jaysome. And I am very certain that jaysome isn’t normally the answer to every single question.”
“I might have done bindings to help with that, Honcho, cuz jaysome is the answer to lots of questions!”
I rub the bridge of my nose. Compared to giving Charlie a beard he claims to have stolen from a pixie, this actually isn’t – that bad. People will likely assume it to be some prank, or weird studio glitch. Or a contestant who could play but people would have been distracted by seeing – I imagine they’ll spin it in some direction, if only so it makes sense in their heads. “On a scale of one to Jay, this isn’t too high. Charlie doesn’t agree with that regarding her beard, so I want you to get rid of that, and ... kiddo, don’t do that again with television. You came close to doing bindings you shouldn’t have.”
“I did? Then I won’t,” Jay says firmly, without even asking what they were.
I let it go. Some battles can’t be won, and others should never be fought at all.
I pause as Jay hurries back toward the door. “What did you do with the prize money?”
“I haven’t decided yet, but!,” he flings out happily, “I bet I could make the best bouncy castle ever!”