“Try it on,” said Dad. “Go ahead.” I stepped forward, and he pounced. He put the helmet on my head and twisted its knobs. “It’s like a radio hat!” he said. I crossed my eyes, trying to see the thing. Dad grabbed his camera. He ambushed me with snaps from all directions. Smooth jazz wafted from my temples.

“I look stupid.”

“Bah,” said Dad. “It looks great. You’re a real radical modern kid with that on, to use the parlance.” No rad person ever said “parlance.” I glanced at the mirror, confirming I looked as dumb as I felt.

“Can’t I get a Walkman?”

“Why be a follower? You can be on the ground floor of the next big thing?” Dad kept taking pictures. I cringed. “All the kids have those Walking-Men. You’re the first to have a Simmons Tune Device!”

“I want a Walkman,” I said. A vein bulged in Dad’s forehead, but he swallowed the anger. “I like this. It’s just weird.”

“Will it be weird when every kid is begging for an S.T.D. for Christmas? And when we’re all living in a villa in Hawaii, as a family again?”

Dad snatched up the helmet and put it on.

“I’m going to Big Buy to get feelers on interest in this thing. You stay put and watch some TV. There’s ten bucks on the table for a pizza.”

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