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When I arrived home, I was stunned by the sweet silence that greeted me, as though I had finally found the "mute" button of life's remote -- even David was quiet, offering a reposeful smile when I walked in the door. Then the phone rang.

"Yo," said Jane. "Guess what?" She sounded excited. "I just sang the entire song, every word, of 'Afternoon Delight,' on Jenny's voicemail!" We both laughed, imagining Jenny's face as she listened to the solo.

Jane has always been good at thinking up seemingly innocuous tortures for her younger sisters. One year she managed to persuade Jenny (the only blonde in our family) that she was adopted, while simultaneously convincing me that I originally had blonde hair but that, since I was born "unconventionally" (from my mother's rectum during a bowel movement), my hair was forever stained brown. Now that we're old enough to know better, the three of us do our best to get back at our eldest sister.

"I'm gonna call Mom while I do the dishes," Jane informed me. Talking on the phone is how Jane copes with tedious tasks, like doing the dishes, folding laundry, or driving.

"But I was just going to call her," I teased. She took the bait.

"No, don't, I want to do the dishes now . Don't call for like 20 minutes."

"I'm gonna call in ten. Better yet, I'll call in five, that way you'll just be getting into your conversation," I said, smiling.

"I'll hurt you," Jane warned.

"Right, first you gotta catch me, prego."

"I'll kick you in your ass . Right in the stitches ," she threatened.

"Bitch. I'm dialing her on my cell phone right now--"

I chuckled when she disconnected the call, picturing her frantically keying Mom's number into her phone. I stared at my cell phone for a moment and then dialed.

"Hey, Jenny ," I said. "Have you checked your messages?"

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