Violet gave no answer.

TJ pushed up her glasses and repeated, “Oh yeah?”

“Listen,” Violet said, “don’t take it personally. It’s in our DNA. I got all of Mom’s and Dad’s brains and you got all of . . . all of . . . Well, I’m sure you got something. I mean it’s not like you were adopted.” She hesitated, then turned to TJ. “Were you?”

If TJ was mad before, she was outraged now. So outraged that she returned to her favorite argument. “Oh yeah?”

Violet sighed. “Haven’t we already had this discussion?”

TJ wanted to fire back with a classy put-down, but somehow she knew another “oh yeah” wouldn’t do the trick.


They both turned to see their youngest sister, Dorie, standing in the doorway. She was as cute as a button and almost as small.

“Can I borrow some markers?”

“Hey, Squid,” TJ said. “Why are you out of bed?”

“I’m working on Daddy’s Christmas gift.”

“You too?” TJ groaned.


Dorie said. “I’m making him a tie clasp.”

Her face beamed with excitement. “I already found the clothespin. Now I just need to color it with markers.”

“You’re giving Dad a clothespin for Christmas?” TJ asked.

Dorie shook her head. “No. I’m giving him a clothespin colored with markers for Christmas.”

“I see.” TJ smiled. She always smiled when she talked with Dorie. Of course she tried to hide it. After all, Dorie was a younger sister, and younger sisters are supposed to irritate older sisters. (It’s like a law or something.) So TJ just tousled Dorie’s hair and said, “Let’s head to my room to see if I have any.”

“Yippee!” Dorie said as she skipped into the hallway.

But even as they headed toward her room, TJ’s mind raced back to Dad. She had to get him something. Granted, she had no money, but somehow the gift had to be bigger and better than Violet ever dreamed.

Unfortunately, some dreams turn into nightmares— especially with help from the 23rd century.


Copyright © 2011 by Bill Myers. All rights reserved.
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