Lisa sat on the couch and turned on the television. “What’s for lunch?” she asked.
“Good question,” Dad said. He typed something else on the computer.
“I thought so,” Lisa said. A boring commercial started blaring, twice as loud as the one before it. Lisa changed the channel.
Dad typed for a while. “So, what’s the answer?” he asked.
Another loud commercial. Lisa changed the channel. “What answer?” she asked.
Dad paused and looked up. “Hmmm? Oh, what’s for lunch,” he said.
Lisa looked over at him. “Don’t you know?”
Dad frowned. “It was your riddle. Is this supposed to be like the raven and the writing desk?”
“Like what?” Lisa turned off the television. “What are you talking about?”
“Like in Alice and Wonderland?” Dad said. He smiled. “I know you remember it. I read it to you and did all the voices. You liked the Cheshire cat best.”
“I was five,” Lisa said. She thought for a moment. “I don’t remember a raven or a writing desk.”
“It’s a riddle the Mad Hatter asks Alice,” Dad said. “But he didn’t know the answer.”
“Oh. Huh,” Lisa said. She turned on the television. It was a tennis match. She watched for a little while. Dad was typing again in the background. A commercial came on again. This one had an extreme close up of a hamburger. “So, what about lunch?” she asked.
“What?” Dad said. The typing paused. “Did you remember the answer?”
“It wasn’t a riddle,” Lisa said. “I’m hungry. What’s for lunch?”
“Oh,” Dad said. “I don’t know. What’s on the menu?”
“Where’s the menu?” Lisa asked.
“It might be on the counter. Hang on, let me get to the end of this paragraph. What’s a synonym for realize?” Dad said. He continued to type.
Lisa turned off the television. “I’ll go check,” she said. She went into the kitchen. Under a mostly empty jar of peanut butter, she found a paper with the menu for the week scribbled down one edge. “Sandwiches,” she said.
“That’s not a synonym for realize,” Dad said.
“No, that’s what’s for lunch. Are you going to come eat?”
“Okay,” Dad said. “Give me five more minutes, and I’ll be right there.”
“I’ll make them,” Lisa said. “I know how to make sandwiches.”
“But you’re feeling sick,” Dad said. “I should be bringing you soup in bed or something.”
“I’m not feeling sick anymore,” Lisa said. “Mostly just bored and itchy.”
“You should take another bath,” Dad said.
“After lunch,” Lisa said. “Do you want mustard?”
“Of course,” Dad said. He came into the kitchen. “Shall I slice a tomato?”
“Okay,” Lisa said. “Just don’t give me one of the end slices. They’re too chewy.” She put the mayo and mustard away and got out the deli meat and the lettuce.
“Do you want cheese?” Dad asked.
“Not if it’s the plasticky cheese. That stuff’s awful,” Lisa said.
“I’ll slice the cheddar,” Dad said.
They finished assembling their sandwiches and sat down to eat. “Mmmm,” Dad said. “It tastes great. It’s not much of a punchline, though.”
“What do you mean?” Lisa asked.
“Oh, you know,” Dad said. He waved he sandwich around. “What’s for lunch? Sandwiches. It’s missing a certain something.”
“Plus that’s not always the right answer,” Lisa said.
“We could say something more general, like food,” Dad said. “But it kind of sounds sarcastic.”
“What’s for lunch? Food,” Lisa said, trying it out. “You’re right. It sounds dumb. It would make a good Dad joke though.”
Dad laughed. “I’ll have to remember it and add it to my secret Dad joke book later.”
Lisa smiled. “There’s a Dad joke book? Good to know.”
“Well, time for your antibiotics,” Dad said. “Then I think maybe a bath and a nap.”
“Okay,” Lisa said. “But maybe I’ll skip the nap.”
“We’ll see,” Dad said in a deep voice. He raised an eyebrow.
“That sounds ominous,” Lisa said. “Should I be worried?”
“I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you,” Dad said. He laughed.
Lisa sighed. “Classic lame Dad joke,” she said.
“It’s on the first page of the Dad joke book,” Dad said.