NICK: What does that sign say?
ME: “In case of fire, do not use the elevator. Use the stairs, where you will be chased by a giant ball of fire.”
NICK: A ball of fire?
ALLISON: Daddy is making a joke.
ME: Because that’s what the picture looks like. See?
ALLISON: Now he is going to have nightmares about being chased by balls of fire.
ME: Oh, he will not.
NICK: HELP! HELP! I’M BEING CHASED BY A BALL OF FIRE!
NICK: THERE’S A BALL OF FIRE! HELP ME!
ME: Nick! Calm down!
NICK: FIRE! FIRE!
ALLISON: We do not yell fire in the hotel!
NICK: Tell that joke about the ball of fire again.
ME: No, no.
NICK: Yes. Tell it.
ME: You already know how it goes.
NICK: I want you to tell it.
ME: *sigh* Okay, but you can’t freak out and yell.
NICK: I won’t.
ME: “In case of fire, do not take the elevator. Take the stairs. Where you will be chased by a ball of fire.”
NICK: HELP!!!!! THERE’S A BALL OF FIRE!!!! IT’S CHASING ME DOWN THE STAIRS!!!! HELP ME!!!!
ME: Nick! Nick! Nick! Be quiet! There are people sleeping!
ALLISON: Why, why, why did you tell him that again?
NICK: GO AWAY, BALL OF FIRE! GO AWAY FIRE!
THE NEXT DAY…
NICK: Daddy, tell that joke.
ME: I’m not going to.
ALLISON: Okay, we are on an airplane right now.
NICK: Tell that joke about the elevator and the fire. Tell it.
ME: No. You can’t control yourself.
NICK: Yes, I can.
ALLISON: I really don’t think you can.
NICK: YES I CAN!
NICK: Tell it.
ALLISON: Nick, calm down please. You’re disturbing the other passengers.
ME: Take it easy, pal.
NICK: FINE! FINE! HRRRMPH!
NICK: Daddy, pleeeeease…. tell it. Pleeeaaaase….
ME: Okay, but look… you can’t yell. Okay?
NICK: I promise. I won’t yell.
ALLISON: Don’t do it.
ME: Okay! Okay… “In case of fire, do not take the elevator. Take the stairs.”
NICK: Tell it.
ME: “Where you will be chased by a giant ball of fire.”
(Pause, while Nick clenches his mouth shut)
NICK: Mmmmmmmph! MMMMPHHH!
ALLISON: Nick, stop thrashing around.
ME: Calm down, buddy.
NICK: FRRRBBLLLL! FFFRRRBBBBLLL!
ALLISON: Sit in your seat!
ME: Don’t stand up on the plane!
ALLISON: Sit down!
NICK: *Sigh.* Daddy?
NICK: Is that the best joke you ever told?
ME: It might be.