The Black family hadn’t always had the knack for talking to dogs, and technically they didn’t really have one now. After all (Jon reasoned) three people out of countless aunts, uncles, and cousins hardly counted as a ‘family’ knack. But that didn’t stop great aunt Petra from doting over him and telling patently false stories about the dashing gypsy (who just happened to talk to dogs) that her great-grandmother had an affair with.
As it went, it was a slightly less embarrassing family quirk than Keith’s relatives’ attraction to winning Darwin Awards (who else gets killed by a koala in Rhode Island?). Or Sebastian’s aunt’s paranoid insistence that the local school board had been infested with ‘those kind of people’, since she couldn’t be made to define what she meant by ‘those kind of people’. (Normal people could have meant politics or religion, with Aunt Diana you were looking at werewolves, aliens, or some sort of undead menace.)
Still, Jon avoided using his knack, or mentioning it, or even acknowledging its existence when he could get away with it. There was enough weird in the world already, and certainly no reason to add his name to the list of koala-killed, alien-invasion-seeing misfits that inhabited their tiny corner of the ‘The Ocean State’.
He was normal dammit, and he planned on staying that way…
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