Welcome to the school book fair! This year’s theme is children’s book characters. Sorry, we had hoped to come up with a more creative theme, but a volunteer accidentally locked herself in one of the metal fold-up bookshelves and it was a whole thing. But never mind all that — this year’s book fair is going to be booktacular. To help you maximize your book fair experience, here are a few frequently asked questions about the proceedings.

Do we have to buy books, or can we buy toys?

You can only buy books. Your parents want you to learn, and learning starts with reading. That’s what the book fair is all about. Sparking a life-long passion for books. We also aim to break the crushing monotony of the school day. We believe school shouldn’t be a glorified prison, although if we’re being honest, it mostly is. Just ask our volunteer Helen how easy it is to get locked up in here. For four whole days! But she’s still alive and kicking. What a trooper!

Why are there toys?

Technically they are not toys. We have a few accessories, trinkets, and assorted items, but those are off limits. And yes, there is the large bin of stuffed animals. The stuffed animals are also off limits. You must buy books. The toys — sorry, accessories, trinkets, assorted items, and stuffed animals — are here to remind you that adults control you and ultimately determine when or if you get to experience joy. Never forget it. You must buy books and books only. Also, reading is fun.

Are there any Fortnite books?

We get this one a lot. In fact, seventeen of our volunteers have threatened to “leave and never come back” if students don’t stop asking about Fortnite books. A volunteer getting locked in a bookcase and requiring a prolonged stay in the ICU didn’t scare them off, but streams of little boys asking about a video game was a bridge too far. Go figure. There are no Fortnite books.

Where are the Fortnite books?

Please see the previous question. There are no Fortnite books. However, there are probably some books with guns or other weapons designed to maim or kill somewhere around here. Maybe try the YA section? That’s the shelf Helen was stuck in for four days, but she’s free now. Well, free of the shelf at least.

I have an Xbox at home and I like to play Fortnite on it.

That’s nice. Also, that is not a question. Perhaps if you bought a book to read you might learn the difference between a statement and a question.

Do I have to have money to buy books?

Yes. Much like most things in life, the book fair isn’t free. If you did not bring money though, don’t worry. You can sit on the stage in front of the room and watch all the other kids in your class shop. Some kids like to cry while they wait. It helps pass the time.

But my mom said I could pick out my books and she would pay later. Can I have my books now?

Still no.

How about now? Can I buy something now and pay later?

Fine. Here is one dollar. Check out the clearance shelf. There might be a broken pencil you can buy or a book with lots of smudges.

Can I have three more dollars so I can buy this pen? My mom said…

Oh my god. Enough about what your mom said. I would take anything she says with a grain of salt. She’s sleeping with your next-door neighbor. Did you know that?

Do you mean Uncle Jeff?

Yes. And he’s not really your uncle, by the way. He’s just the neighbor your mom sleeps with behind your dad’s back.

Do they sleep together on my mom’s bed, because I don’t think they could fit even if my dad is sleeping close to the edge?

No, no, no. They don’t actually sleep. It’s a euphemism.

What’s a euphemism?

A euphemism is when you say one thing, but you really mean something else.

So, a euphemism is a lie?

Well, not exactly. A euphemism is when you want to say something without saying it explicitly because the thing you are talking about is uncomfortable or bad in some way. Like we say Helen is “fighting for her life” when what we really mean is that she is brain-dead.

I guess a euphemism is a lie, but not a very big lie?

Yes, sure. Let’s go with that.

I don’t lie, because lying is bad. And even though my mom says I sometimes have an active imagination, I still can’t figure out why she sleeps next to Uncle Jeff?

Once again, they don’t sleep! Remember? Euphemism? Never mind. It’s sexual intercourse. Sex. They are having sex. Do you know what that means? Probably not. Our educational system is a travesty. And I’m going to lose this job now, aren’t I? And it’s a volunteer position! Unbelievable. Has anyone here had a worse couple of weeks?!? Oh, right…

Are you sure there aren’t any Fortnite books?

Fine. We keep them hidden under the table in the back. Crawl under there quickly and get one and then get out of here. Don’t tell the other kids!

Do I need money to buy the Fortnite book?

No. Here’s my wallet. You’ve already taken everything else; you might as well take this too. Buy a couple toys while you’re at it. At least one of us should get to feel joy. It’s probably what Helen would have wanted anyway.