Scattered Knowledge

(scene opens in dark car, Pandora Radio playing a commercial for Dexter)

Alpha: (derisively) Who names a serial killer Dexter. That’s a ridiculous name.

Me: (absently) Dexter is the opposite of Sinister. Sinister is the left, Dexter is the right, which is why if you can use both hands it’s called ambidextrous. Dexter is a serial killer who only hunts serial killers. He’s on the right side of sinister.

Alpha: (long silence) And where on the internet did you get that?

Me: I didn’t. I came up with it on my own. But I bet someone else on the internet came up with it too.

Alpha: (mockingly) Oh, look I’m making up word meanings.

Me: Do it! Look it up! Look up what dexter means.

(long silence)

Me: Did you find it?

Alpha: No. I decided to believe you.

Me: (shocked) Oh now you decide to start listening to me?

Alpha: Well, you’re the one making things up, seems easier just to let you go on.

Me: You know how you get all this random knowledge? Read. Read a lot. Read tons. Get yourself some accidental knowledge. Then you, too, will also see the deeper hidden meanings of things.

Alpha: Or I could just sit here and laugh over memes showing a pumpkin carved into a troll face. (cut scene to shitty meme on phone)

Me: (gives up) Despair. You make me. I am full.

What Are You Even

(scene opens in dim foyar)

Gamma: (skipping downstairs) Mom! I lost a tooth!

Me: (frazzled) Well, give it to me so I can put it in the Tooth Fairy Box.

Gamma: (stops, startled) I don’t know where it is.

Me: What do you mean? Go back upstairs and get it.

Gamma: I woke up without it.

Me: You lost it in your sleep?

Gamma: Yeah, I think I swallowed it.

Me: Seriously. (suspicious) Did you go to bed with the tooth and wake up without it?

Gamma: (confused) No, I didn’t have it before bed last night. Maybe it’s down here.

Me: (headache starts) So, you wiggled it and it fell out last night before you went to bed. Do you remember where you were when it fell out?

Gamma: I might have been at school.

Me: Why do you only loose teeth at school? Did you drop it? Did you leave it in your desk?

Gamma: (vacantly) I don’t know. I think it just fell out.

Me: (flatly) It just fell out. It fell out of your mouth without you noticing.

Gamma: Maybe?

Me: Or was there suddenly this weird thing in your mouth and you just swallowed it?

Gamma: (disinterested) I might have done that.

Carrot’s Inner Voice: Child, I am seriously starting to doubt your intellectual capacity.

Me: (out loud) Well, I can’t help you then. Get your shoes on and let’s get to school.

Gamma: (recovered) I can just write a note to the Tooth Fairy explaining.

Me: You write a lot of notes to the Tooth Fairy.

You Had Options

(scene opens in deconstructed kid’s room)

Me: (tucking an exhausted, overwhelmed, weeping Delta into bed) Okay, sweetie. Get some sleep I’ll see you in the morning.

Delta: (pauses, explodes into fresh wailing)

Me: What’s wrong?

Delta: (sobbing) I didn’t eat anything tonight!

Me: (patiently done) Honey, there was food everywhere and you didn’t want anything.

Delta: (moar sobbing) I didn’t eat anything tonight!

Me: That’s not true. You had two deviled eggs and a huge bowl of banana pudding.

Delta: (pauses, remembers, less sobbing) I didn’t eat anything tonight.

Me: (pulls up blanket, kisses forehead): I got a chocolate mousse pie in tribute tonight. Get some sleep and you can have some for breakfast.

Delta: (gulps, sniffles) Okay.

(Carrot leaves room, turns off light)

Wild Frontier

(scene opens in dinning room, half recovered from Thanksgiving, Carrot at table still in bathrobe)

Gamma: Can I have bread?

Delta: Can I have cookies?

Liam: I’m just going to have another one of these sugared cranberries. Is that okay?

Alpha: Why is Gamma having bread? Did you say that was okay?

Me: (suffering, trying to write, hands over headphones that are clearly not loud enough) Oh. My. God. Please. Go. Eat. There is food everywhere. None of you are young enough that I have to be involved in the feeding of you. Scavenge. Forage. Whatever. I don’t care. There are no rules any more. It is a lawless time –

Alpha: (alarmed) No! Please! There have to be rules! Please make some rules!

Me: (stares, starts to laugh)

Alpha: (defensively) If you don’t make rules there will be chaos.

Carrot’s Inner Voice: I’m sorry, do I know you?

Me: (moar laughter, some tears)

Life Lessons

(montage of setting the Bigs to tasks, finding them half finished, calling them back)

Me: (standing in dinning room, pointing) So. Those dinning room chairs you were going to put back around the table after you vaccum?

(cut to one chair at table, rest in the parlor)

Beta: (sheepishly) Oh. Yeah right.

Me: You guys need to be boomerangs. Come back to me. Not arrows and stick where you land.

Alpha: We’re Wal*Mart boomerangs.

Me: No. Strive to be top shelf boomerangs.

Alpha: We’re made in China. Not well made. (heads upstairs)

Me: (calls up after) You were most definitely not made in China. You were made in the U.S. It means you’re too expensive and no one will buy you!

That’s Nutrition!

(scene opens in partially clean kitchen, Carrot standing in front of open refrigerator)

Me: (talking to herself) Sugared cranberries done. Cran-applesauce done. Pumpkin pie in oven. Need more apples for apple pie. Need oranges for turkey brine. Prosecco for….

Delta: Mommy? What’s in that box?

Me: (absently) The rest of Gamma’s birthday cake.

Delta: Can I have cake for lunch?

Me: That’s not a healthy lunch.

Carrot’s Inner Voice: It would make more room in the ‘fridge for the deviled eggs.

Delta: Please? I can show you my cutest face ever? (fists under cheeks, eyes very wide, lips pulled into hopeful pout.

Me: Fine. There’s no such thing for responsible eating for the next month anyway.

Sins of the Father

(scene opens in mini-van)

Me: Its your sister’s birthday today.

Beta: Its also Wolfenoot.

Me: It is. So, I heard of a lovely Wolfenoot tradition from a friend of mine, H the Bard*. You hide gifts around the house and play “Hungry Like the Wolf” on repeat until everyone finds a gift.

Beta: Sounds fun. We should do that.

Me: Except that your father hates Duran Duran.

Beta: Huh. I should take forever to find a gift then. Just put it under my chair and sit there going “I wonder where it could be?” while he stands in front of me going “It’s right there!”.

Me: (starts laughing) You’re a terrible child.

Beta: (pleased) I wonder where I get it from.

(*Names blurred out to protect the guilty, but not very well.)

Never That Easy

(scene opens in mini van)

Me: Alright Delta! It’s a Friday! Still liking school?

Delta: (morose) Not really.

Me: Why not?

Delta: (melancholy sigh) Well…it’s just….it’s just that I know everything already.

Me: Really. Huh.

(prolonged silence)

Me: So, what you need to do is do really well on all your tests and they’ll move you up a grade.

Delta: Move me?

Me: Yeah, if you show them how smart you are, instead of going second grade next year, you go to third. You can skip one.

Delta: (with wonder) Really? I think I will do that! That is a great idea! Thanks mom!

Me:

Timing is Everything

(scene opens in dreary rainy dinning room. Carrot enters from kitchen, drops keys on table, hangs wet jacket on chair. Picks up lukewarm coffee. Taps laptop. AWOLNATION’s “Burn it Down” plays way too loud.)

Carrot: (sits, sighs, puts coffee mug to forehead)

(phone rings)

Carrot: Damnit. (turns off music, picks up phone) Hello?

Phone Voice: (anxious) Good morning, Ms Carrot. This is Gamma’s teacher. We had a close contact situation this morning and sending everyone home.

Carrot: (struggles to English) Sending everyone in the classroom home or sending everyone in the school home?

Phone Voice: Everyone who had close contact.

Carrot: (processes) Oh. Well. I suppose it’s a good thing she had her first vaccine shot last night. Grabbing my keys, be there in ten.

Phone Voice: (grateful) Thank you so much, Ms. Carrot.

(Carrot hangs up phone, puts down coffee, picks up keys, leaves jacket, exits through kitchen)

(fade to black, cut to car commercial)

Going Extinct

(scene opens in church rec room, Cub Scout meeting in progress)

Delta: (whispering) Mom, I need a drink.

Me: (takes him by the hand, leaves the room)

(cut scene to hallway with an archaic drinking fountain mounted to the brick wall)

Delta: (looks at it, looks at Carrot) Do we have a water bottle?

Me: (confused) No. We don’t need a water bottle. Just drink.

Delta: (looks at it, looks at Carrot)

Me: (pushes button, leans forward, slurps up the arc of water) See?

Delta: (delightedly steps up and drinks enough water to drown an elephant) Mom! That was fun! I’ve never drank water like that!

Me: How have you never used a drinking fountain before?

Delta: School only has places to fill bottles. (runs back to rec room)

Me: (dies a little)

Abdication

(scene opens in almost clean kitchen)

Gama: (grandly) I am the new queen of the house!

Me: (thinks about it) Who was the old queen?

Gamma: You.

Me: (decides coffee is more important than civil war) Why was I deposed?

Gamma: You’re always busy and always have work to do and you never have time to play. I am always ready to play and can do all the fun things.

Me: You are not wrong. Hail Gamma, first of her name.

Joke Grenade

(scene opens in cluttered dinning room)

Beta: Mom, I’m a failure.

Me: (caught typing, pauses) What?

Beta: I’m a failure. Remember the whole step-joke?

Me: Yeah?

Beta: I just figured out why it’s called a step-ladder. It’s a ladder. With steps.

Me: (covers face with hands) Oh god. Oh god, you’re kidding me.

Beta: Yeah. Sorry. Are you disappointed in me?

Me: (laughs in unbelievable are you serious) Maybe a little.