Kids are in and out, here and there, eating the pancakes I cook on the stove and then later out in my yard digging a “mine” (in other words, a giant muddy hole). From the latter they extract old rusted hooks and fittings and large nails, glass, “obsidian” (according to Nels), and “rocks that we THOUGHT were ore” (Nels, again). Nels is trying to find treasure so he can afford a video game system, the Wii U, which he’s wanted for many many months if not longer.

At the table having lunch and the kids are talking about a local boy they all know; they’re telling me this boy is a bully. I’m trying to figure out who they’re talking about so I ask for a physical description. They begin to describe him hesitantly (but tactfully) and I realize he’s the boy I’m thinking of. Then one of the girls at the table says, “He looks… kind of like… a mean elf.”

At this I shut my mouth, swiftly drift into the kitchen, and near-double over in silent laughter. Because that. Is. Exactly. What he looks like. I couldn’t have said it better.