Squirrels, and also the apocalypse.

I'm walking Henry and his friend Luca to Luca's house. They've been playdating over at our place for the past two hours, but I managed to bore them until they decided that Luca's was more fun. "If you say so," I sighed, and cackled silently to myself.

On the way to Luca's we're talking about the dead squirrel. The dead squirrel has been a topic of conversation for the past week or so. It's lying at the bottom of a sewer grate next to Luca's house, and Henry and his friends can't get enough of it. There can never been too much dead squirrel, apparently, in the mind of the almost-six-year-old. I have not seen the dead squirrel yet, and Henry is talking it up.

"Mom, you finally get to see the dead squirrel," Henry tells me. It's like Christmas in September!

"Henry, I don’t want to see the dead squirrel," I say. Luca stares at me in amazement. Not want to see a dead squirrel? What kind of machine am I?

"It's been dead for a while," Henry says. "It's not like a squirrel anymore, but like the outline of a squirrel."

"Wow, that's really not making me want to see it."

"No, it's cool. It's all sort of curled up."

"It doesn't look dead," Luca observes, and Henry agrees. "It looks like it's pretending to be dead."

"I'm just not into seeing dead things, is all."

"It just has this cut on it, and these swipes of white across it." The way Henry says "swipes" while sweeping his hand across his body is both sort of adorable and also really gruesome. I hope he's talking about the squirrel's fur, and not some kind of putrefaction.

"Mom, really, it's no problem. Just look at it."

We are now on top of the sewer grate. The kids peer in. I can't see anything. The way the light is angled so that I can pretend to look, but in fact I can see nothing.

"Was that cool?" Henry asks me, once we're done.

"I don't know, Henry, I like squirrels," I say, which isn't exactly true, "I don't want to see one that's dead."

"Mom, you don't have to worry about that squirrel." He pauses. "You should worry about all the other squirrels."

Luca asks, "Why does your mom have to worry about the squirrels?" Now Luca's looking a tad concerned.

Henry looks at his friend. "Luca. The world is going to end. Did you know that?" Uh-oh. Poor Luca, I think.

Luca is now gaping at Henry.

"The world had a beginning, so it has to have an end. Everything with a beginning has to end."

He got this from his father, by the way. Or possibly me. At any rate he didn't come up with it on his own. Just so you know.

"Everything has a beginning and an end," Henry says, "Unless it's infinity."

"What's infinity?" Luca asks. Henry tells him, in great (and somewhat incoherent) detail. Luca looks around him, as if the world doesn't make any sense anymore. You think you're just going to enjoy a little dead squirrel, and the next thing you know your entire worldview is being shattered. The poor kid had no idea what he was getting himself into, asking for a playdate with my son.