In domino-like fashion, Richie is now sick.
At first, he reacted to his fever as if he'd been handed circus tickets. He tasted his children's tylenol like it was cotton candy. He lay under a blanket and watched T.V., smiling whenever we said, "Poor Richie."
Everything is a competition between Johnny and Richie, and a fever is no exception. With Johnny on the mend, Richie was winning the race.
He even had his first cough drop.
He walked over to Johnny, who was sipping tomato soup, and said, "In case, you don't have one of these."
And stuck out his tongue.
"In case" is a random sentence starter, like "of course," "at least" and "perhaps."
"Candy?" Johnny asked.
"No, a cough drop," Richie boasted.
"Oh, those taste like lettuce," Johnny said.
"No, you taste like lettuce," Richie said.
And then came the worst insult you can utter in our house.
The boys can tell each other, "Your feet stink," or "You're a baby," or "You have a bubble bottom."
But there's one thing they cannot abide, and Johnny said it:
"Well you eat salad and salad dressing."
"Nooooooo," Richie cried.
Recovering, he came back with, "You're going to eat salad for dinner."
"Nooooooo," Johnny cried.
"You know," I said, "someday you guys might like salad. Around the same time you like kissing girls."
Well, now they both were sick. They fell on the floor, shielding their eyes against visions of kisses stolen between bites of salad.