“Look,” I said, feeling more than a little at the end of my rope. “I’m not perfect, but I’ve never claimed to be. I am at least trying.”
“Oh yes, you’re very trying,” Brigid said, with a wink.
“But you’re not exactly helping,” I continued, letting her jab bounce right off. “You’re so clever, but what do you do with it? Your rapier wit is more like a club you use to bash people over the head. Has it ever occured to you that I might not like to be mocked?”
“Mocked?” said Brigid. “I’m not mocking you. Well, not really.”
“You just twisted my comment about trying,” I insisted. “If that’s not mockery, what is it?”
“That’s just playing! For crying out loud, it doesn’t mean anything.”
“Maybe not to you. But some people like to be taken seriously.” I could tell from the tone in her voice that I’d scored a point, and I wanted to press my advantage. “It would be nice to be able to make a comment on anything without having to be paranoid that it wasn’t going to be turned around and used against me. Although if you’d rather, I’ll just stop talking to you at all!”
“Oh, honestly,” she said, rolling her eyes, “don’t be such a baby.”
“Not wanting to be attacked makes me a baby, does it? I must use that as my defense if I ever decide to mug someone.”
She didn’t say anything, which was her way of admitting that maybe I had a point, without having to actually say so.
There was a long silence, and I always hate those. “Look,” I said. “It’s not … well … I just wish you wouldn’t be such a smarty-pants.”
“I’m not wearing any pants!” she said, giggling. “I’m a smarty-skirt.”
“Okay, smarty-skirt then, whatever!” I was actually giggling a little too, now, happy to have the dark cloud pass by. That, and at the ridiculousness of having actually used the phrase “smarty-pants” in genuine conversation.
Taking my giggling as some sort of a challenge, she fired back, “Smarty-sweater!” But I wasn’t going to be defeated so easily.
That got her; blushing a bit she replied, “Smarty-socks!”
“Smarty-knickers?” I objected. “That’s a bit of a stretch isn’t it?”
“If you can’t fit into your knickers, that’s your own problem.”
I finally just shook my head, laughing. “This is what passes for intelligent conversation these days, is it?”
“Oh yeah? Well my imaginary friends like me!” She stuck out her tongue.
I sighed. “Sometimes I think all of my friends have been imaginary.”
“Bill Watterson said it first,” she replied, and apparently deciding that discretion was the better part of valor, retreated for her room.
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