"So can I publish this as Anonymous?"
The setting: lunch. The discussion: an article Quill was writing for a newsletter Mom was an editor for. Clearly, the situation called for a mechanical engineering perspective. I stuffed another forkful of quiche in my mouth, managing to get out a muffled "Doubt it" at the same time. (Sometimes, my powers of multitasking are just amazing.)
Mom shook her head, ignoring both me and my impressive table manners. "No, there's enough anonymous contributions as it is. I should sign this as the Anonymous Editor!"
I swallowed. "Good stuff. Hey, you could sign it as Quill!"
Quill wrinkled her nose. "No way. That's a lame name."
"Is not!" I defended my creativity stoutly.
"Isn't that the name you gave her on your blog?" Mom asked me.
"It's her nickname on there, yeah--do you even read that?" I demanded, a little indignantly.
Everyone ignored me. "I don't like Quill. It's too pretentious," Quill informed me.
"You named me Squirrel," the thus-named complained, outraged.
"Everyone I've asked has told me that it fits, so zip it." I stuck my tongue out at her. She returned the expression.
"May I use that?" Mom asked.
I glanced at her. "What, Squirrel?"
"No, Quill," Mom clarified.
"Sure, why?" I asked.
She grinned. "Well, if I ever start writing stories about you guys, I'll need code names to protect the innocent."
"They're innocent?" Dad muttered.
"YES!!" I cheered, almost spraying food across the table. We'd been pestering Mom for years to write a book about us kids growing up, from her perspective--we were quite curious as to what her view was (specifically, what--*ahem*--"incidents" she knew about. I was pretty sure she didn't know about the Rocket Incident or the attempted minefield booby traps).
"What would you call Nemesis?" Quill inquired.
Mom gave that about a half-second's worth of thought. "Poet, probably," she laughed, referencing your specific gift in the literary arts. Too bad you weren't at the table to hear it, still being off at college and all. (Hope the caf food is getting better.) "Or maybe Chaucer."
"That might be a bit much," Quill mused.
"What about me?" Squirrel inquired.
"Rembrandt on Skittles," Mom snickered, referring to Squirrel's artistic abilities and her love of candy.
"I don't think I'm that good," Squirrel mused before remembering to be insulted. "Wait, HEY!"
Mom, Quill, Dad and I were cracking up. "I could just do Skittles," Mom mused.
"What about Quill?" I asked.
Mom gave me a strange look. "I was going to use Quill, remember?"
I smacked my forehead (fortunately, I had put my fork down. Fork wounds are just embarrassing). "Oh, right. What's Dad?"
"Engineer," Mom smiled.
"Very literal. And me?" I asked.
"I was thinking EIT," Mom told me.
I frowned. "EIT?"
"It's called the FE," Dad informed us through a mouthful of quiche.
"What is?" Mom asked.
"The exam. It's called the Fundamentals of Engineering," Dad explained.
Mom's frown cleared. "No, we're talking about a name for Radar, not the tests. I was thinking EIT--Engineer in Training."
I wrinkled my nose. "I dunno. What's wrong with Radar?"
"It's too much like MASH," Mom told me, referring to an old TV show. "You know, the Radar who always knew what was going to happen before it did?"
"You saying I don't?" I muttered under my breath.
"You could call him...I dunno...the Boss or something," Quill suggested. "You know, since he always was challenging your authority as a kid."
"I would call him Encyclopedia, but that would suggest that his arguments are factually based," Mom teased me.
"They ARE!" I yelped indignantly.
Squirrel joined the party. "How about the Know-It-All?"
I snorted. "Just 'cuz I'm right--"
"We need to find that poster we made for his graduation," Mom laughed. "Remember the line we put on it? The "I know everything about _________. (the situation) (the subject) (the idea) Pick one?" That was hysterical!"
Quill and Mom doubled up laughing. I glared at both of them, trying to keep from snickering myself. "Just because I do know something most of the time--"
"Try all the time!" Mom wheezed out between gasps of laughter.
I waved my hand dismissively and served myself more quiche. "At least I'm not ignorant."
"How about the Appetite?" Squirrel snickered.
"OOH! Mouth!" Mom yelled.
"MOM!!" I yelped. "Be serious!"
"It's perfect!" Quill backed her up stoutly, laughing. "You eat all the time and you're always offering your opinion!"
I glared at them both. "If I wasn't allowed describe Squirrel a squirrel in the family newsletter, you can't call me Mouth in your book!" I addressed Mom sternly.
"How about Bocca?" Mom teased me.
"I might not be good with languages, but I do remember some of the Italian you slogged us through," I protested.
"MOM!!" I yelled, outraged.
"What's that mean?" Squirrel whispered to Quill.
"Big Mouth," Quill explained, laughing.
"Oh!" Squirrel dissolved into laughter.
So, anyway, we still don't know what I'm going to be called yet. Please don't offer any suggestions. Just know that Mom is considering writing the next great autobiography, and you definitely got the best nickname. Think she knows about the Noodle Incident?
Oh, and I'll write more on our book tomorrow. I gotta go to bed. Hope you enjoyed this story!
Your comrade in arms (unless it's a full moon),