Back in the peaceful, non-deadly world of the Braverman's, things are scary in their own way. For example, Max is currently haranguing his new friend Gaby with a treatise on lizards, using one of his own lizards, Guacamole, as a visual aide. Many, many details about lizards are shared while Kristina looks on and Gaby times Max's lizard chat with a watch. The awesome little boy I know who has Asperger's collects these sorts of facts, as well and would habitually read Consumer Reports when he was barely a toddler. Trust that I will not be buying a new car without consulting him, for real. Finally, Gaby's watch alarm goes off. "That's very cool, Max," she says. She tells him they've been doing what he wants -- lizard lecture -- for 20 minutes, and now it's time to do something she wants to do -- play board games. "No way," he says, casually. Kristina nervously tells him to be polite and just as nervously tries to explain to Gaby that Max hates board games and won't play one, ever. Gaby, sotto voce, tells her that if Max makes a deal with her, he has to hold up his end of the bargain. She sweetens the deal, showing Max a cool book he can get if he plays board games with her for 20 minutes.
"How about..." Max suggests, "I get the book first and then we play the game?" Gaby says you know, she gets it, she always wanted to eat her dessert first when she was a kid, but it turned out she had to have her veggies first, so... no. He can't have the book first. Kristina listens to all this with dread, knowing what's coming. "Forget it, then," Max says, and goes back to doing his own thing. Sensing things are going to continue to go badly, Kristina offers him a cookie, but Gaby steps in. "Max, no cookie today," she says. "The reward is the book." And, see, Max wants the book, but he doesn't want to play the game, literally or figuratively, to get it. Kristina smells a tantrum coming on. "When he has that tone," she says, fearfully, "all bets are off. He's gonna lose it. He's gonna lose it." Gaby isn't worried. "It's okay," she tells Kristina, and then turns to Max and explains that nothing in this situation is going to change unless he puts Guacamole back in the cage and plays the game. "You make the choice," she says, and finally Max apologies (to the lizard), and puts Guac away.