"I'll have a yellow," Bart says, and Apu beams at him.

"It is not yellow, my ignorant cherished customer! It is a new gold Squishee, in honour of the colours of Diwali --" he draws a cupful with a flourish and gives it to the boy, whose looks of skepticism turns into one of horror as he sprays a mouthful of semi-melted slush everywhere.

Apu smiles and finishes, "-- and flavoured with delicious clarified butter."

"I can't drink this!" Bart chokes, plopping the cup back down on the counter. Apu shrugs and pours the half-melted Squishee in the butter-topping dispenser next to the popcorn machine, and turns to Lisa. "And what will you have, little girl?"

"Er ... I think I'll try red," Lisa says cautiously as Bart furiously licks his own shoulder to get rid of the taste. She accepts the cup with a hopeful, "Thank you! And Ganesh's blessings!" before taking a cautious sip. Her face freezes and she makes a tiny hacking noise as her brother looks on, excited. "What is it, Apu?" he demands. "Tandoori sauce? Hot hot chillies? Cow blood?"

"No!" Apu says, irritated. "It's jalebi." Bart looks confused, then ventures, "... elephant blood?" Apu sighs.

"A traditional Indian sweet, soaked in sugar syrup," he says. "Your sister might find it a little *too* sweet for her." The two of them look at Lisa, whose pupils dilate as she squeaks, "I'm breathing jellyfish!" and then drops to the floor, kicking and giggling. Apu leans over the counter, alarmed, but she seems pretty happy.

"Hoo! We better let her work that off. And I better remove that flavour of Squishee before more non-Hindu children get bombayed on it." He turns around and Bart looks up from where he's guzzling red Squishee straight from the machine and goes, "wha?"

"Oh, that's it," Apu says. "I'm going home."

Manjula greets him with floury hands and her hair springing out of its braid, making a curly halo that brushes against him when he kisses her. "I just finished frying samosas," she tells him, "and there's channa and aloo."

Apu is frankly astonished. "But how did you manage?" he asks. "With the horrible little -- I mean, our joyous little bundles of joy running around?"

"Well," Manjula demurrs. She seems about to say something more, then just takes his hand and leads him to the little altar where their murtis are set up, and Apu sees his octuplets arrayed over the statues of Lakshmi and Ganesh. Each baby is nestled in one of each of the avatars' four arms, snoozing peacefully and without a peep.

For a moment Apu is flabbergasted, but then he just hugs his wife. They set out the diyas and prasad and perform aarti, murmuring their prayers, hanging flowers carefully on the statues. Before they sit down to eat, Apu takes a couple full plates of food and places them before the murtis.

"We already made offerings," Manjula says, puzzled. Apu nods.

"Yes, I know," he says. "But if we give them full fridge privileges, they might babysit for us again." Manjula goes, "aaaaaah!" as though this is the most sensible and clever answer, and Apu remembers all over again why he loves her.

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