Arthur sits on the bottom step. I see him there as I happen by. This step is the "Quiet Stair", the time-out spot, the place children go to calm down, to think about their misdemeanors, or to keep them out of Mary's way long enough for her to overcome dark, vengeful urges. Except I have no recollection of sending him to the stair, none at all.
"Arthur, are you sitting there for fun, or are you on the Quiet Stair?"
"I'm on the Quiet Stair."
"Do you know why?"
"Okay. Why are you on the Quiet Stair, Arthur?"
"Because... I, uh... it was... maybe I..."
He hasn't got a clue. And neither do I. Let's see. This is Arthur. There have been a number of stair-able offenses this morning, but I hadn't thought I'd used the stair as a consequence for any of them.
"Was it for shoving the furniture around after I said not to?"
"Was it for hitting the tree ornaments with your wooden hammer?"
"For tearing the cushion open with your teeth?"
"Poking the budgie with a paintbrush? Sitting on little Alice? Throwing blocks? Licking Darcy's face after he said 'No'?"
"No. No. No. No."
Hmmm. The mystery will have to remain unsolved, I guess. Don't suppose it really matters.
"Okay, kiddo. You've been pretty quiet here, so you can get up now if you like."
"No fanks. I think I'll just sit here for a while."
You know, I think it's probably better that way.