Following Sunday lunch out with the family, Mr. Snark said, "Can we stop at Best Buy? I need a new joystick."
"Okay," Mrs. Snark said. "But I'm very happy with your current joystick, dear."
Mr. Snark shot his missus a narrow-eyed look and remained silent.
Mrs. Snark smirked and continued. "Besides, I'd love a chance to visit with my cook top. I've already forgotten what it looks like."
From the back of the minivan, Sam, the oldest Snark son said, "Are we getting a new cook top?"
Mr. Snark's brow knit. "Can you say oblivious?"
"Oblivious!" shouted the middle Snark child.
Mrs. Snark managed to catch her own wrist before her hand performed a face palm. She breathed in deeply and said, "Why yes, dear. Someday, we are going to have a new cook top where the old one used to be. You have noticed the big hole in the middle of the kitchen island, haven't you?"
The teenage boy grumbled an unintelligible reply.
"The new cook top will be new and shiny and fully automated," Mrs. Snark said, misting up as she envisioned the longed for appliance. "I shall say, 'Stove top, make pasta' and it will do so by itself."
"Mom, really! I don't believe you!" said the oldest son.
"Huh. You used to be more gullible than this," Mrs. Snark said. "When did you get so worldly, Sam?"
"What does gullible mean?" Sam asked.
"Quick, look!" The middle son flung his arm toward the window, pointing. "There's a sky writer writing 'gullible'!"
At Best Buy, the Snarks placed Miss Bear on her leash, because the child is known for being a runner. "I'll be in the appliance section, visiting my cook top," Mrs. Snark called as the family split up and went their separate ways.
In the appliance section, Mrs. Snark stood teary-eyed in from of her coveted cook top. She ran one palm in a slow circle over the glass surface. "Someday," she whispered. "We'll be together. I promise."
With Miss Bear straining at the end of her leash, Mrs. Snark only managed to spend thirty seconds with her beloved. Then Mrs. Snark took the child and went in search of other members of the Snark clan. She located a boy in the video game section and slapped the end of the leash into his hand. "Hold this. I need to look at tax software."
The boy located Mr. Snark and pawned his sister's leash off onto daddy. Near the phone section, Miss Bear leaned fully forward, arms extended as she strained toward the shiny devices, her entire weight supported by the leash.
"No, Miss Bear!" Mr. Snark said. "No phones!"
"Balloons!" Miss Bear countered, grabbing for the blue and orange helium balloons.
A nice Best Buy employee forked over a balloon. Mrs. Snark returned in time to see Miss Bear pitch a tantrum over having the balloon tied onto her wrist.
"She's overdue for her nap," Mrs. Snark observed. "Why don't you take her out to the car, Mr. Snark? I'll take the boys and stand in the line to buy our stuff."
In the parking lot, the Snark minivan was nowhere to be found. Mrs. Snark and the boys stood in the space where it had been and scratched their heads. And then they wandered the parking lot, lost and confused.
"Well, it's finally happened," Mrs. Snark said. "Mr. Snark finally got fed up and left us."
"Mr. Snark wouldn't do that," said the middle child.
"Of course he would. It was really only a matter of time," Mrs. Snark countered. "The really surprising thing is that he took Miss Bear with him."
Just then, the oldest Snark boy spotted the minivan cruising the parking lot. "There he is!" Sam said, pointing.
"Wait for me!" Sam shouted and took off running, abandoning his mother and brother.