This is why you don’t leave a nine-year-old alone in a hotel room -even for a moment.

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As soon as the heavy door shut, Oliver reveled in the silence. For some reason, the hotel room seemed more inviting. The double queen-sized beds felt bouncier than ever. He could not fight the natural urge to make a huge disaster. There were no women around, and that meant certain freedoms. He could jump on a bed or hop from one bed to the other without being disciplined. He bounded back and forth, and recited the Pledge of Allegiance until he became too winded. He caught his breath, picked another rhyme, and resumed the bed-trampoline extravaganza. The door suddenly opened, Paul paused in the doorway holding the pizza box. He looked around, and gathered how it hadn’t been a good idea to leave Oliver alone while he went to get food. Pillows and blankets were heaved around the room, the television blared, and it looked like a half-dozen elephants jumped on the mattresses. Oliver leapt off the bed, dropping onto the floor, and landed perfectly in front of Paul. “Tada!”

“You’re gonna clean this up, young man.” Paul couldn’t believe his eyes.

Oliver didn’t feel ashamed one bit. He grabbed the pizza out of his father’s hands. “Okay, let’s eat!”

EXCERPT FROM: THE SPHERE OF ARCHIMEDES CHAPTER 9

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