| After checking to see that they had washed their hands, Molly set the bowls of alphabet soup on the table in front of her boys: seven-year-old Billy, six-year-old Mike, and four-year-old Peter. "Eat your lunch. I'm going down to put the wash in the dryer." As she started through the doorway, Mike poked Peter with his elbow.
"Quit it!" Peter yelled. "Mommy, Mike won't leave me alone."
"Stop being such a cry-baby," said Billy.
Molly said, "You two, stop picking on your little brother. Just eat your soup. I don't want to hear another word."
Peter smirked at his brothers and picked up his spoon.
Molly was moving the clothes from the washer to the dryer when she heard Billy. "OOOOOh, I'm telling!"
And then Mike said, "You're gonna be in soooo much trouble!"
What now?, she thought. She dropped the clothes and ran up the stairs to the kitchen. When she entered the room, she found the two older boys standing on either side of their brother. Peter was staring into his bowl and crying. He was saying,"It's not my fault. It's not my fault."
"What's not your fault?" Molly asked. "What's going on here?"
Billy was laughing so hard he had trouble getting the words out. "Peter's got a dirty word in his soup."
Mike doubled over with laughter. "He does, Mom. He really does. He has a dirty word in his soup."
Molly said, "It's all right, Peter, just stir your soup."
The little fellow looked into his bowl and then up at his mother. With tears running down his cheeks he said, "I'm afraid to. What if a dirtier word comes up?"
Molly leaned forward and looked into the bowl. The corners of her mouth twitched as she tried not to laugh. There floating in the middle of the bowl, spelled out in alphabet shaped noodles, was the granddaddy of all cuss words. She picked up Peter's spoon and stirred the soup. "Trust me," she said. "There isn't a dirtier one." She handed Peter his spoon and told the boys, "Eat your soup."
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