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2003-12-19 | 5:41 p.m.

We were sitting at the table eating pistachio nuts, the kids and me. My nephew Rojo was there because he comes to our house after school and I watch him until his Mom gets off work. Rojo is six, heís in first grade, heís very loud, and he is far and away the pickiest eater I have ever met. His mother was almost as bad when she was a kid. She doesnít really know how to cook, either, so all heís used to eating is stuff like hot dogs and macaroni and cheese. So I was surprised to see him with pistachios in his hand. I couldn't be sure he was even eating them. I figured he might just be cracking them open for the fun of it.

For some reason, I was telling them the story about when Jesus said, Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. I was hamming it up a bit. I donít know Bible stories well and I donít tell them all that often but I wanted to get some mileage out of this one. It was cold and dark outside, so we had the ceiling light on even though it was still afternoon. The new dog, Rusty, was rustling around under the table. Rojo was shelling more pistachios, though there were still uneaten nuts in his hand. I noticed that some were wet and I wondered if he had put them in his mouth and then spit them out again. I was asking them, "Why would Jesus say that? What does he mean by 'he who is without sin'? What is a sin, anyway?" That's when Rojo blurted out, "Rusty keeps licking my nuts!"

There was a long moment of silence following this remark as I struggled to compose my features. Nobody else so much as blinked, which made it even funnier, as if I were hanging around a cageful of monkeys. The giggles started to percolate up and out of me in odd bursts. Felony wanted to know what was funny, since there didnít seem to be anything obviously amusing about the stoning-to-death story. "Nothing," I whimpered. "I don't know."

I finally had to excuse myself and go up to my room, shut the door, and laugh until my face hurt.

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