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“Grandpa, can you help me?” Gabby’s voice was small and hesitant.

Pete knew it was coming, thought it would have been earlier. He closed his book and and placed it on the coffee table.

“Whatcha got, sweetheart?” he asked.

She stepped out of the hallway and into the morning sun rays that splashed across the living room carpet.

“I want to play my game, but the computer doesn’t work.” She held the open laptop out in front of her. “Can you fix it?”

Pete edged forward in his chair and took the machine in his wrinkled but steady hands. “Well, I don’t know much about computers, but I can have a look.”

Gabby smiled but still looked worried.

She watched as her grandfather pushed a few buttons, opened and closed the screen, even removed the battery and put it back in. Nothing happened.

Finally, Pete said, “Sorry, honey. I can’t see anything wrong, but it won’t turn on.” He placed the laptop next to the book.

Gabby’s face fell, and she dropped her eyes to the floor. She was on the verge of an all-out pout.

“But you know,” Pete went on, “my offer still stands.”

She looked at him with questioning eyes.

“I’ve got Candy Land sitting there on a shelf in the dining room, just waiting for a little girl and her grandpa to open it up.” He grinned at her. “What say? Wanna play?”

Gabby gave him a halfhearted smile and looked longingly at her computer. “OK, Grandpa. Let’s play.”

What she lacked in enthusiasm, she more than made up for by being Gabby. And Pete knew she’d have fun once they got going.

“Great! You go plug in that computer of yours so at least the battery doesn’t run down, and I’ll get the game ready.”

“OK!” A hint of excitement. Gabby grabbed the computer and trotted down the hall toward her room.

Pete stood and walked toward the dining room but made a quick stop at the electical panel in the kitchen.

He may not have known much about computers, but he knew how to throw a circuit breaker. And now he knew that it took about eight hours for the battery in Gabby’s laptop to rundown.

He smiled and flipped the switch labeled, “Spare bedroom, west wall” back to the ON position.

By the time he’d had his fill of Candy Land, Gabby would need something to keep her busy for awhile.

Published inFlash Fiction


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