We've taken to eating meals at the kitchen counter--a decent compromise between Mark's "EATING AT TABLES IS WHAT SEPARATES HUMANS FROM ANIMALS!" and my combination "Where the fuck are we going to fit a diningroom table?"/"Lounging on the floor & eating with their hands was good enough for the Romans; it'll do fine for me." He's happy because now the boy attends to where his food is in relation to his mouth (instead of attending to the tele, as had been the case at the apartment). I'm happy because I don't have to give up bookspace for a piece of furniture destined to become nowt more than a kippletrap.
Its proximity to electrical outlets, though, means the counter is also where the household laptop has come to roost.
So Mr. Tables Good/Screens Bad occasionally winds up eating dinner while reading something on the 'net.
... Wry eyebrow lift goes here, just above affectionate smile and quiet sigh. Because let's be honest--I'd do it too, if I got the stool nearest the computer.
Tonight, Mark & Dae were settling in to eat their tacos while I waited for my taquitos to crisp. Mark cuts his eyes over at the boy and smiles a little, opens a Mouse Guard
comic as if it were his evening reading.
"What's that?" asks Dae.
"Comic called Mouse Guard
," Mark answers. "Comic because it's a story told in pictures, not because it's funny."
"Yeah, yeah." (The boy is apparently savvy to the notion that sequential art might not have a punchline. Shiny. :D ) "So what IS it? What's it about?"
"Oh. Um. World full of mice, no humans, everything's still its usual size. And the mice have kings and countries and well, guardsmice."
"Cool! Can I read too?"
"Yeah, come on..."
And Mark angles the screen so Dae could see it too. Dae gazes at the story, rapt. Mutters "ready" to Mark when he's finished a page. They talk about what's happening in the story. They eat dinner.
(I also eat dinner, watching all this unfold and thinking of Penny Arcade
"So," Dae asks, having finished the story, "Is there a Mouse Guard game?"
Yep, called it.
"Yes there is!" Mark answers, grinning. "It's not a video game, though. It's a roleplaying game."
"You play with paper, dice, & imagination," I fill in.
"You know how you and the kids at school play Power Rangers and stuff, pretending you're different characters and imagining a scene together?" I ask.
"This is like that, except there are rules in place for 'I shot you!'/'No you didn't!' moments, so you don't have to argue about it so much. You roll dice and see what the rules say about the die rolls and go from there."
We have a winner. Dae is continually vexed by the kids suddenly developing MegaUltraShields a split second after he says ZAP. He hasn't yet realised that he also develops those shields. They're eight. Everybody's bulletproof. Everybody's the Red Ranger (except my kid, who's the Green Ranger, because THAT guy used to be a villain, and plus, his Zord's a dragon
. If there was any doubt Dae was mine, it just fell over dead).
"And we could maybe play it?"
"Maybe," Mark says. "I'd have to do some reading before I could run the campaign, but yeah, it's entirely possible."
Puzzled boy face.
"Mark would be like the narrator; you and whoever else is playing would be the characters in your story. Mark would run the characters you're not playing, and use the same rules, but otherwise it's an interactive story that everybody makes together. He'd have to do some research to learn how to shape it well."
Dae finishes his dinner and looks at the clock. Time for the TV show he's been waiting for. He shuffles off to the TV room while Mark and I look at each other smile.
"Nicely done, husband," I say, offering a fist to bump.
"I figured he was about the right age," he replies, touching his knuckles to mine. "He isn't sold yet, but he will be."