“I got this cucumber seedling and this watermelon seedling because they were on sale,” I told Stick, “60% off! It’s like a little prize for ignoring proper growing seasons! Not like we’d know when to plant them anyway!”

“Good thing, too, because we wouldn’t have room for a full-sized watermelon on the balcony,” Stick pointed out. We surveyed our not-yet-dead potted plants with pride. His favorite is the dill, he likes to go out and say dillweed and laugh while he’s watering the plants. My favorites are the new watermelon, xi gua, and the cucumber, huang gua, because I like to practice my Chinese and my plants don’t make fun of my tones.

“We’re doing so well with these, we haven’t killed anything at all!” Stick said. “We can start with taking care of plants and work slowly up to taking care of children. After a few months, we can try getting a gerbil.”

“Whoa! You don’t just jump right from plants to mammals! That’s a lot of pressure!”

“A goldfish?”

“I don’t know if a person who buys a watermelon plant in a dixie cup should be responsible for a vertebrate.”

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