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“But the best thing is the battery, right? Won’t that make you a lot of money?” I ask Flynn and Mom.

I’m sort of joking, so Flynn’s response isn’t what I expect. He doesn’t laugh. Instead his face turns blank, like he’s thinking of something deep inside his head, far away from what the rest of us can see.

“It better,” he says under his breath.

Mom laughs. “I’m counting on it. Flynn, while you’re here, we should go over the spec sheet...”

They head to Mom’s office, taking the box with them—too bad—and leaving Dad, Maddie and me to clear the table and do the dishes. I don’t mind. Dad always lets me do the dish-drying part, which is the easiest. No dealing with crusty chili bowls.

We take it easy, taking our time, and it’s nice, with just the three of us working up a routine of carrying the dishes from the table to the sink, soaping them up and rinsing them clean, rubbing them dry with a blue-striped terry-cloth towel, then sending them on home to their cabinets and shelves. Dad starts pretending he’s a malfunctioning robot, putting everything away in the wrong place, and Maddie follows along behind him, setting things right and laughing like crazy.