Elf waves me over to see a photo of two scorpions looking like they're holding hands.
"You have to hear this," he tells me, and settles in to read. "When scorpions reproduce, the male uses his pincers to hold the female's pincers. Then he drags her around until he can fertilize her."
Here Patrick, who was standing nearby, has to smirk and raise his eyebrow at me. Shut up, Patrick.
"When scorpions do this, it looks like they are dancing," Elf read.
"Um, yeah, it does kinda look like they are dancing, I guess," I told him as I tried to do the "look like I'm really busy and in too much of a hurry to talk right now" thing because I am uncomfortable. Mostly because I just faintly heard Patrick snort.
"Sometimes getting dragged around makes the female angry," Elf continued. Man, that kid CANNOT take a hint. Now Patrick is devoting his full attention to this reading. He's nodding and his arms are folded. My heart is sinking and I'm probably turning red. Great.
I wish I left that so-called "kids' book" on the library shelf but noooo. I had to get all homeschool-y and make the kids research a report on "something about a desert animal that is interesting."
"The male will then sting her," Elf read as Patrick came over to check out the pictures and nod. YES! There is scorpion porn, right in the middle of this children's book! I'm flabbergasted, but Elf just keeps reading as if scorpions *ahem* doing this were an acceptable topic of conversation. "This does not kill the female, but it numbs her so that she will stay still. The male can then fertilize the female."
"Interesting technique," Patrick comments.
"Once the dance is over, the male scorpion runs away. He does not want the female to try to eat him. It does not happen very often, but sometimes she does." Little Elf has his eyebrows up in that chubby Spock "isn't that interesting and odd" sort of pose.
"Ohhh," Patrick nods and does the "hmm" pose. Clearly he has no interest in directing the attention *away* from this awful book.
"Well... that's very... disturbing, Elf," I sputter, hoping that was positive enough. "I guess the female scorpion gets kinda mad about being dragged around and stung."
"And fertilized," Patrick interjects with a grin. He's 16 and I'm still not sure how I'm going to raise this one.
"Um, we have to go now," I tell Elf. "Lock us out there, would ya?"
"Sure! So... did you like the story? Was it interesting?"
"Welllll... you read a bunch of stuff I didn't know about before, I'll tell you that!"
"OK!" he said proudly as he was shutting the door. "See you later!"