Boy Esquire's voice is dripping with scorn.
He cannot believe how his sister has chosen to spend the money.
"You spent $150,00 on two whale sharks?"
In a moment of boredom he made the mistake of going into partnership with the girl. They were to be Zoo Tycoons together.
But like so many of their joint ventures, it has come unraveled over a tiny disagreement that will snowball into something as intractable as Mideast peace talks.
The girl is unruffled. She has lived with him long enough to know that it's not what she does that irritates him. It's anything she does.
She has learned to accept this in a spirit of forbearance that occasionally resembles something closer to pleasure.
"So-rry," she says in a sing-song tone of voice that suggests no such thing. "I can't please everyone."
"Oh my god," he groans. "She is SO bad at this game."
"I have whale sharks," she says. "So suck it."
Later, things fall apart over a walkway.
"My path is too cool for you," she says. It is casual and meaningless provocation of the variety that every 13-year-old girl masters and that should not work against 16-year-old brothers. And never fails.
He is aghast at her incompetence. She has designed a virtual zoo that makes no sense. "When would you need a path that goes behind the exhibit?'
She ignores this. "What should we put in next?"
"What are you trying to do?" he berates her. "You are terrible at this."
"No," she says. "This is my calling."
I am not completely sure she is talking about the game.
Photo: The zookeepers during a rare truce.
From the zoo dispute archives: Because a 900-pound zebra is not something we can take lightly
I worry about what this means for their dating life.
Posted by: Executive Suburbanite | March 30, 2011 at 08:39 AM
I worry about what this means for my dating life.
Posted by: Suburban Kamikaze | March 30, 2011 at 10:14 AM
I am entirely sure she wasn't talking about the game! We all need a passion in life; something we excel at, something we're just made to do. What joy for a mother to know her daughter has already found hers, eh? :)
Posted by: Kana | March 30, 2011 at 02:01 PM
She should play Zoo Tycoon with my 15 year old. At some point in the game he stops maintaining enclosures just to see how visitors, llamas and tigers co exist and he never builds enough taco stands.
Posted by: nthnglsts | April 02, 2011 at 06:03 AM
She would definitely build enough taco stands. She is not the type of tycoon for whom things like a realistic budget ever get in the way of her dreams.
Posted by: Suburban Kamikaze | April 02, 2011 at 09:29 AM