The zuppa is in the downstairs fridge and I ask this boy to "please go get it." At which he starts, eyes the basement door warily, and asks "Can you go with me?"
And I sigh ('cause I knew this was coming), and tell him "The basement's fine - it isn't scary! You were just down there playing basketball and stuff."
"That was before it got dark," he says, staring at me with those steel gray blue eyes. "Once it gets dark things get different."
Which, thinking back upon my own Wary Of The Basement days, I must admit is entirely true.
And yet - I've barely gotten comfortable in my old smushy chair, my tea is perfectly hot, ink is flowing from my pen onto virgin paper, and besides - this is supposed to be his gig.
"You'll be fine," I say. "Just leave the door open, Mimsy and Kringle will probably go down with you anyway."
"But they're not supposed to," he objects. (Rumor has it mouse poison has been concealed in various sneaky mouse prone spots in the basement, and we've heard murmurings - unfounded hopefully - of how much doggies love mouse poison.)
"Well - sing then!" he demands, eyeing the curving, brightly lit basement staircase with suspicion. "And if I begin screaming you gotta promise to come save me!"
"Of course I will. But you aren't gonna start screaming and you won't need saving. And don't, " I wheel around - making eye contact - "you dare pretend you see a monster. You do remember what happened to the boy who cried wolf don't you?"
I won't," he promises, pushing Mimsy down the stairs in front of him and encouraging Kringle to follow. "Go on Kringle! Sheesh!"
Then he, brave knight that he is, ventures forth, while I sing my beautiful song (created on the spot just for the occasion and, regrettably, never remembered again), while - and oh but this is amazing isn't it? - the Basement Monsters sigh, close their red streaked eyes and wide, hungry mouths, drifting off to sleep.
As the path to the basement fridge glows amber and safe, allowing a young boy to quick slip a pot of spicy Italian soup out, shut the door, and scurry back up the stairs, the nails of two small dogs click clacking behind.
Switching off the light, and closing fast the heavy basement door.