"Regent Astoria. How may I help you?"

"Just a second… Stop that!"

"Excuse me, Sir?"

"Oh, sorry, not you. Right…"

"Is there something I can do for you, Sir?"

"Yes, right, could you put me through to Mrs. Sheppard's room, please?"

"I don't see anybody by that name staying with us, Sir."

"Oh, of course, I meant Ms. Weir. She goes by her maiden name at work."

"I'm sorry, Sir, but Ms. Weir has left us explicit instructions not to disturb her."

"Yes, I understand that world peace… Drew, please!... sorry… that world peace hangs on my wife getting her whole eight hours of beauty sleep, but I have just a few questions I have to ask her…"

"I'm sorry, Sir."


"Sir? Do you wish to leave a message?"

"Do I wish…? Look… I'm sorry, what was your name? I'm John, by the way."

"Pleased to make your acquaintance, Sir. My name is James."

"Great. James, do you have kids?"

"I do, Sir."

"Well, then, have you ever found yourself in a situation where your wife has to leave town for a week and is wondering out loud at breakfast whether she should ask her mother to come and stay with you and help you take care of the kids while she is away? And you say that nono, you'll be fine on your own, because, after all, they are your kids and you have watched them before and everything has been fine. And you notice her shooting you a kind of sympathetic look, but choose to ignore it and then the three of you stand on the porch and wave mommy goodbye and you think that this will be a fun week, getting a chance to bond with the kids. Except that by the third day you find your car keys in the freezer and stop yourself a second before brushing your teeth with foot cream and most of your free time is spent stopping them from putting things up their noses and prying things out of their noses… Do you have any idea how many things can go up a nose? Simultaneously? And they won't sleep in their own beds cause they miss their mom, but then you wake up five times a night because your bed is full of numerous amazingly sharp little limbs that keep hitting you in the eye or kicking you in the ribs…"

"Not in that particular situation, no, Sir."

"So, what I would like to ask Elizabeth, and I suppose this will have to go in the message, is, if Drew really only eats white things then what the hell am I supposed to give him besides pop corn and white bread? And what in the world is Beeboo and where did she put it, because Nate refuses to take a bath without it? I mean, you try looking for something if you have no idea whether it's a rubber ducky, plastic bag or an imaginary friend you have inadvertently sat on. And, are there any more t-shirts besides those that are, or rather, were, in the drawers in the nursery, because God knows I have no time to do the laundry? And…"


"Yes, James?"

"How old are they?"

"28 months."

"Both of them, Sir?"

"Yeah, identical twins."


"So help me God…"

"Hold on, Sir, I will get Ms. Weir on the line for you."

"James, I owe you my life."

"Indeed, Sir."

"I bet you are thinking "Who'd want that life?" right now."

"No, Sir, I have met your wife."

"Indeed, James…"