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Birthday Blizzard

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“A blizzard?” said Claudia, shutting the case of her Farnsworth with a sharp snap and setting it back on her desk a little less carefully than she probably should have. “They’re stuck in a blizzard! In July!”

“They’re on a mountaintop, on the other side of the world,” said Artie, not looking up from the stacks of files he was putting into order on his desk. “And I assure you that I heard Myka the first time she said it. No need for ‘old man’ jokes.”

“Yes, there is,” Claudia said. She tried straightening her own desk, but gave it up almost immediately. “Tomorrow is your birthday, Artie. We had a party planned— it was supposed to be a surprise, but don’t try and tell me you didn’t know about it— and now nobody will be home! I can’t turn your grumpiness into a party all by myself.”

“And what made you think I wanted a party to begin with?” Artie asked.

“Because it’s your birthday,” the younger woman said, incredulous. “Maybe you and I have different definitions of ‘party’ but it’s still a reason to celebrate. Right? Tell me I’m right.”

“No,” Artie said, flatly. “Simply turning a chronological year older is hardly cause for celebration.”

“What? Of course it is! We’ll just have to reschedule and then we—”

“No,” Artie said again. “No party. But I have a counter-offer.”

“A counter-offer? For a birthday party?”

“Take it or leave it.”

Claudia leaned back against her desk. “I’m listening.”

“Instead of rescheduling your so-called ‘party’, you and I will have a nice, dignified dinner. And maybe if you behave yourself, I’ll show you a few of the birthday-related artifacts.”

“Birthday artifacts?” Claudia said. “Deal! Let’s go.”

If you behave,” repeated Artie.

Claudia grinned. “Whatever you say, Birthday Boy.”