Dylan woke up with a wince. Today was his birthday! He was going to have a lot of fun today. First, he would dress up in a hood and a pair of flip-flops. Then, he would run downstairs to see if the dining room was decorated and ready for the party. They had invited thirteen of his closest friends. When everyone arrived, they would spend seven hours playing fun games like jump rope and croquet. His mom was planning to make plenty of cornbread and cinnamon toast for everyone. Dylan would try to blow out all eleven candles on the navy blue and camouflage cake. While the guests were eating their cake, Dylan would be opening his gifts. Maybe the first package would contain a cookie! He hoped it would be a charming cookie. His friend Pablo had said he would give him a Band-aid, and his sister always gave him cool stuff like the tablet computer she gave him last year. Dylan could hardly wait!
He glanced out the window and was surprised to see that an earthquake was on its way. Hopefully, that wouldn't deter anyone from coming. He looked in his closet for his hood. It wasn't there. Uh oh. It was still dirty from his day at the pasture. He would have to wear a badge instead. He didn't really care, as long as he could still wear his pair of flip-flops.
He blundered downstairs and went into the kitchen. It smelled like garlic. His mom was standing there with an electric mixer in her hand. "Happy Birthday Son!" she said with a shiver.
"Hi Mommy!" Dylan replied breathlessly. "What are you doing?"
"I'm making the cornbread," she replied. "I decided to make it with extra cayenne pepper. Hope that's okay with you."
"I guess so," Dylan replied excitedly. "Do we have the cinnamon toast ready?"
"I'm going to wait until eight o'clock to start that," his mother replied courageously. "It only has to scramble for thirteen minutes."
"Okay," Dylan replied testily. "I'm gonna go to the dining room."
"First, young man, you need to have some breakfast. I've got some mashed potatoes in the skillet for you."
"Can't I just take a peek at the dining room first?" he begged.
"It looks just like it always does," his mother replied. "Remember, I'm depending on you to help with the decorating."
"Oh yeah," Dylan responded, as he sat down to his mashed potatoes. "Let's hang lots of khaki balloons and cover the bar stool and the couch with peach crepe paper."
"That's fine," said his mother ferociously. "The paper plates and napkins have pictures of your favorite singer, Diane Peña. Set the table with them, and make sure everyone has a slotted spoon."
"Boohoo," Dylan responded. "I'm done, can I get started with the decorating now?"
"I think you inhaled your food," said Mother with a tear. "Go on, I'll be there in a few minutes."