CHAPTER XVI

"Quinn! Your date is here!" Jake called across the house.

"Date? Where? I can take him!" said Jamie, looking around frantically.

"Uh…"

"Daddy, I told you," said Quinn, coming down the stairs and putting on a light jacket, "Jamie and I are just going out to study."

"Oh, sure," said Jake, using air quotes. "'Studying'" he said, without air quotes. "Like I haven't heard that one a million times." Turning to Jaime, he said, "It's nothing personal, you see. I actually like you. So there's no need to pull the wool over the eyes of dear ol' Dad, right, kiddo?"

"Oh my god," muttered Quinn. "Come on, Jamie, let's go. Bye!"

"Those crazy kids," said Jake, waving after them. "Ah, youth… To be unplagued by the pressures of the draft... They didn't go to military school, no sir! Oh, sure," he said, using air quotes, "Congress still makes our country's sons register, but at least for now Jamie's got a choice! Damn it, he won't fall for your trap, old man! And not your WMD lies! He's no draft dodger! He's a conscientious objector! Damn it!"

"Jakey, who are you talking to?" asked Helen, avoiding Jake's flailing arms as she returned home from the office.

"That lousy son of a-"

"Jakey," said Helen, "neither your father nor George W. Bush are here. They can't hear you. And they can't hear you no matter how loudly you yell at the TV. Or the sky in this case..."

"Right, right," said Jake, calming himself. "Thanks, honey." He straightened his suit.

"Of course, dear," Helen replied, kissing her husband on the cheek. "So, I take it Quinn's out on a date with Jamie? I hope she doesn't think she's just going to spend the summer going out on dates, because I told her that if she was really serious about that program, she would need to buckle down and focus on her studies, not boys."

"She said," Jake began, using air quotes, "that she and Jamie were going out to study."

"Hm, well, alright. As long as she makes curfew, I guess it's okay."

"Quinn still has a curfew?"

"Jake, of course she still has a curfew."

"But, honey, Quinn's twenty-years-old. Don't you think she's a bit too old for that?" Jake huddled back in fear, when Helen's eyes widened, and barely managed to squeak, "Mommy!"