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Laughter

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There was a knock at the door. Both Gabbi and her two best friends, Kim and Anne, knew that it was the pizza that Gabbi’s dad had ordered.
“I’ve got it!” said Gabbi, as she ran to the door and opened it. Standing on the front steps was a pizza delivery man, dressed in black pants and a red shirt with the pizza company’s logo written in big blue letters. He also wore a nametag that read PHILMORE.

“Hi,” he said blandly. “Pizza delivery. It’ll be $39.50 including tax,” He held out the five large pizza boxes that he had been holding. Gabbi took the steaming boxes and set them down on the little table by the door.

“Dad,” Gabbi called, “It’s $39.50.”

Gabbi’s dad, Mark, reached into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet as he walked across the room to the door. He pulled out two twenty-dollar bills and handed them to the delivery man.

“Keep the change,” he said with a big smile. He thought was being very generous.

The man took the money and looked at it. Then he looked back at Mark with a blank expression on his face.

Mark was still smiling.

“Thanks. . .” the man said, trying to give a little smile of appreciation.

As the man left, Mark closed the door and turned around.

Gabbi was sitting at the kitchen table, looking at him with a puzzled expression. “Dad,” she said, “why’d you get five pizzas!?”

“Well, five’s really not that many. I’m pretty hungry, myself,” he said to her, as if there was nothing at all strange about ordering five pizzas for six people.

“Okay, whatever you say, Dad,” Gabbi said, still not fully convinced that they could eat five whole pizzas.

With that, everyone started digging in to the pizza. They all agreed that it was delicious. Most of the people ate a reasonable amount – everyone except Mark, who ate twenty-three slices. Besides the pizza, he ate two bananas and fourteen grapes. He considered the fruit to be his dessert, completely forgetting that they were having cake, since it was a birthday party, after all.

Once he was finished eating, Mark started complaining about how his stomach hurt. He did this quite often, so Gabbi, her brother, and her mom were used to it.
Soon everyone was singing “Happy Birthday” to Gabbi. Once the singing ended, Gabbi began to think of a wish to make. Well, she thought as she looked at the eleven lighted candles, today was a great day. She closed her eyes. I think it was the best birthday I’ve ever had. I mean, my family and friends are really weird, but that’s what makes them so fun to be with. I wish that they’ll stay just like they are now forever and ever. With that she opened her eyes and was about to blow out the candles. But she noticed that there were only ten candles – one was missing! Before she could even begin to think of an explanation for the missing candle, the answer was given to her. She suddenly felt something very hot crawling up her back. The pain of fire burning her skin was unbearable. Soon she could feel her hair burning. After that she didn’t realize much else, although she vaguely remembered hearing the sound of girls’ laughter among the burning.





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