“I BOUGHT A PET DUCK.” Mary Jane was nine months pregnant when the battery in the upstairs smoke detector gave out and the battery began making a beeping noise. She waited for me to come home from work rather than get on a ladder. I came in the door and there was a beeping sound. She said, “I bought a pet duck.” I expressed disbelief. There was another beep, this time clearly from upstairs. I started up the stairs. Another beep, and I went up faster. Mary Jane said, “Be careful. It’s in a little basket on the bed.” I went in the door of our bedroom, and there was another beep, this time behind me. “Mary Jane, ” I said, “How are you doing that?”

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