Our theme for the month of October was selected by readers and is a format challenge: write a post completely in dialogue.

“Would you like to go in, little Tophykins? Is that what you want? Do you want to go in? Oh, yes yes yes.”

“Good walk I take it?”

“I mean, she’s had better. And worse. But. Hey. Hey, no, wait. Toph, stay. Sit.”

“Did she poop?”

“Down. Down.”

“Do you need a hand?”

Down. No, I—thank you, animal. OK, great, go, you’re free.”

“Aww. Good morning, little baber.”

“Dad friggin’ sucks, Mom.”

“Oh, yes, yes, I know, little one. Come here. Come to the one you love.”

“He didn’t let me play with Mango when I saw him, even though I cried and cried. And when I stopped to sniff some delicious, delicious dogshit—”

“Language, Toph.”

“Got to stop teaching her those words, Jessica.”

“And yet it’s always worse when Dad’s around. Isn’t it, baby? Hmmm? Oooo, yes, butt-scratches. Hey, Ben?”


“When you’re finished over there, can you get the bowls?”


“Bowls. Breakfast bowls. Please.”

“Yeah, sure, just a sec.”


“Just let me—”

“…Saudi Arabia warns of disastrous consequences if…”

“OK. Got it. Bowl-time.”

“Great, thanks. Down, Toph. Down!”

“Aww. Do you want your breakfast, too, little pupper?”

“…this is Up First from NPR News…”

“Nom noms for the pup pup? Yes yes yes. Give Mom a little space, I think. Yes, I think that’s a very good idea. Come here. Sit, sit.”

“Banana in your oatmeal?”

“Good dog. Stay. Yes, please. OK, good. Good dog. Have at it.”

“Soy milk?”


“Never mind, you’re getting some.”

“I think the water’s boiling, Jes.”

“Can you get that?”

“Caffeine or decaf?”

“…his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his senior advisor have been on the phone with the crown-prince…”

“What’d you say?”

“Early gray or chamomile?”


“‘K. Honey or regular?”

“Honey, thanks. Aaaaand she’s done. Apparently. You sure you fed her, Ben?”

“Give Toffle more, Momma.”

“More, greedy thing?”

“More, Momma. What are you eating? Give Toffle that.”

“Oh dear.”

“Man, Toph’s got a weird, Gollum-y third-person thing going.”

“Well, Toph never learned proper English.”

“Gives it to us raw and wriiiiigggggly, Momma.”



“…rejects any threats or attempts to undermine the government…”

“Down, Toph.”

“I got the spoons, Jes. To the table?”

“Here, wait, no. Take this, too. Down, Toph.”

“Hey, Toph, guess what.”


“Guess what.—What?—Screw you, pupper.—Screw you, Dadders!”

“Oh dear.”

“Kiss for the boy? Mmm.”

“You want to do the honors?”

“Could you?”

“Fine. Fine. But just, just wait a sec. Just—wait. Haaaa. All right. All right, let’s pray. Dear God, we thank you for…”

“…wanted to reform his country. That’s what he said, anyway. Jackie, thanks very much. Thank you, Steve. NPR’s Jackie Northam…

“…Harvard University faces a lawsuit this morning…”

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