"Look at this," she says, showing me what looks like the inside of a casino, but which is in fact, the inside of something called "the party bus."
There is a stripper's pole in the middle of the floor. "Um, Veruca darling?" I say. "You are turning 13. We are not planning a bachelor's party."
"We" are not actually planning anything. Veruca is always so far out in front on this annual event that my input is nearly irrelevant. That doesn't mean I don't throw out a few suggestions, for futility's sake.
"How about I take you and a friend out to dinner and a show in the city?" I say.
"In a limousine?" says Veruca. "Because we could fit eight friends in a limousine. You could come too. It's only $39 a person."
"What is 8 x 39 Veruca?" I say. "I will give you a clue. It does not contain the word only."
But Veruca will not be discouraged. She will have 15 or 20 other party ideas before the weekend is out. You only turn 13 once, she reminds me. It is the same argument she has used every year.
From the extravaganza archives: Sleepover Divas, Stocks rally to reports of sixth-grader's birthday repeat