Don’t Be That Guy

(scene opens in sewing room sweatshop, violin practice off screen)

Alpha: How was that? Am I all done?
Me: (puts down bodice) I think you could play a little bit longer, but it sounds good. I have to talk to you about something.
Alpha: (approaches hesitantly)
Me: Have you talked to Girlfriend recently?
Alpha: (wary brave face) Yeah. A couple of times.
Me: (tactfully lets it pass) We need to discuss the “Care and Feeding of the Girlfriend”. They’re not like houseplants where you talk to them once a month and everything is fine. Put your violin away then go upstairs and call her. You don’t have to plan anything, we’re probably busy this weekend, maybe you can meet at the park on Monday, but just tell her “Hey, thinking of you, wanted to see how things were going over your summer.”
Alpha: (tension ratchets down) You think so? Okay! (volin snaps into place, pounding upstairs offscreen)
Me: (licks finger, hash marks the air for a win)

Advertisements

Problem Solve This

(scene opens in rough finished laundry room)

Me: (sorting dirty laundry hip deep)
Beta: (shouting from kitchen above) Mom! We’ve got a problem!
Me: (already through) Then solve it, Beta! I’m working!
Beta: That’s the problem. I don’t know how to solve it!
Me: (mutters curses, extracts from dirty laundry, climbs stairs to kitchen)
Beta: (waiting by door, holding moldy strawberry)
Me: (stares, incredulous)
Beta: What do I do with it?
Me: (heartbeat) Eat it.
Beta: No way! (throws it in the garbage can)
Me: Really. You called me upstairs for that. You couldn’t figure it out.
Beta: (sheepish smile)

Musical Mishaps

(scene opens in toy strewn parlor, summer school work in progress)

Me: Okay, twenty minutes of baritone. Let’s do some scale work.
Beta: I only know four notes.
Me: (pause for mini-stroke) A year of band and you only know four notes? (flips through book, finds scale) Here – start at G and play the octave.
Beta: (obligatory suffering, starts playing)
Me: (listens to the audio equivalent of a bucket of legos dumped out) What the hell was that?
Beta: (defensively) I’m playing the scale.
Me: (takes baritone, runs the scale) The notes go in order, lowest tone to highest then you go back down. Not a grab bag of sounds. What day were you not paying attention where you missed this part of music theory? How is the sound of it not audible common sense?
Beta: (cue more suffering)

Work Smarter

(scene opens in tossed dining room)

Alpha: (suffering) Why are we doing this!? We’re the only kids in the whole neighborhood doing summer work.
Me: Because I want you to be smarter than you are now.
Alpha: I don’t want to be smarter, I want to be like everyone else.
Me: (dies a little)
Beta: “The lowest point in the US is in California. What is the name of this point?” Duh, California.
Me: Death Valley.
Boys: (stare)
Me: Get back to work.

In Accordance

(scene opens in moderately clean kitchen)

Beta: (snaps off dish gloves) Done!
Me: (surveys work) Thank you, Beta,for all your hard work and for abiding by the contract.
Beta: What do I get out of it?
Me: You continue to get fed.
Beta: I can feed myself.
Me: With my food.
Beta: Fair enough.

Solidarity

(scene opens on the sidewalk, mother trying for patience with a toddler’s pace)

Neighbor Lady: School’s out already?
Me: ‘Fraid so. Please don’t judge all the empty wine bottles on the back porch in a week.
Neighbor Lady: (laughs, points to her house) His last day of work is today and tomorrow he starts his retirement. I might be over there helping you.
Me: I’ll order extra.

Didn’t think that through

(scene opens in cluttered kitchen)

Me: I need these dishes washed. Each of you needs to do a whole load to clear this counter. Alpha, you go first.
Alpha: Can I finish my jello?
Beta: I’m going to have breakfast too.
Me: Okay.

(time passes, Beta finishes first)

Me: Beta, you’re up. Fill the basket, nothing halfway. Plates, glasses, silverware.
Beta: (starts to cry) But you said Alpha had to go first!
Me: He’s still finishing his jello.
Beta: But it’s not fair, you said he had to go first, I want to go downstairs to watch TV!
Me: You can watch TV when you’re done.
Beta: (crying intensifies)
Me: I am not spending the rest of the summer doing this. Alpha! Get in here! (Alpha arrives, has jello cup taken from him) Do a load of dishes.
Alpha: (sighs, begins washing)
Me: (gives crazy eyes to Beta) There. Now you can go second. And when Alpha is all finished, put all those dishes away and then wash your load of dishes.
Beta: But that’s not fair, he didn’t have two jobs!
Me: Then maybe next time when I tell you to go first, you go first instead of crying about it! You’re so busy arguing fairness you just screwed yourself. Hope you learned something.
Beta: (sullen pout)

Optimism at its finest

(scene opens in dawn-tinged bedroom)

Gamma: (comes running in)
Me: (opens eyes right before impact)
Gamma: I graduated! Today I go to first grade.
Me: (in amused pity) No, honey, the graduation ceremony was early. You have two more days of kindergarten.
Gamma: (face falls in shocked disappointment) But I’m a first grader now!
Me: (gently) You don’t go to first grade until August. You have two more days of kindergarten.
Gamma: (crushed) I was robbed. (slumps out of the room)
Husband: (mumbled into pillow) For someone who had such a hard year, that was a resolute show of spirit.
Me: Now she has all summer to get even more excited.

Threefold rule

(scene opens in crowded foyer, conversation in progress)

Gamma: I don’t want my toys to become voodoo!
Beta: No, your toys aren’t voodoo, there are dolls called voodoo dolls.
Gamma: But that’s scary! I don’t want voodoo dolls.
Beta: Your dolls don’t become voodoo dolls, they’re something totally different.
Gamma: But they hurt people! If you punch them don’t I get hurt?
Beta: I don’t know how it works actually.
Me: (rubbing forehead) It’s time to go, guys. Let me get my jacket on and I’ll explain sympathetic magic to you on the way to school, okay?
Gamma: Yay! Mommy is teaching us magic!

Scarred, I tell you

(scene opens in echoing Legoland cafe, filled with screaming kids)

Gamma: Mom, who’s that lady with the red hair?
Me: (turns, sees wall covered with portraits of superhero min-figs) That’s Poison Ivy. She and Harley Quinn are girlfriend-girlfriend.
Gamma: Huh. Which on is Batman’s girlfriend?
Me: Catwoman.
Gamma: Oh. Can I have goldfish with my pizza?

Power of a name

(scene opens in toy tossed bedroom)

Me: Enough, Gamma. I’ve been after you all week to pick up.
Gamma: But I did!
Me: (enhancing her calm) You have not. Look, I’ll help.
Gamma: But it is!
Me: (ignoring, pointing to books) Put these on the shelves. (pulls out bin) Put the dolls in here. I’ll collect the dirty laundry.
Gamma: (uncertain) Okay.
Me: (picks up jeans to reveal an Elves Lego min-fig) Here. Put David Bowie in the Lego box.
Gamma: David Bowie? How do you know his name is David Bowie?
Me: That’s the Goblin King. Everyone knows the Goblin King’s name is David Bowie.
Gamma: Thanks mom.

Moar Carrot’s Book Review

In today’s shameless promotions, we’ve got an independent author Leonard Petracci.

For those who are unaware, there is a website called Reddit and within their many forums is a Writing Prompt. People post the theme/scenario and anyone who wishes can submit their flash fiction. Sometimes they become longer, becoming mini-novellas posted under that topic in itty bitty chapters. Occasionally, the Muses take them and a novel is born from a simple prompt.

Personally, I tend to favor the science-fiction prompts as they provide entertaining escapism from the World of Today(tm) and it’s many uncertain political woes. That means you might find more of these Reddit Authors being shamelessly promoted her in the future. Who doesn’t need a good read?

So, onto The Bridge: A Science Fiction Survival Story

It only comes in Kindle format, what with that independent author status and all. For $2.99 I thought I got a good read. The concept (writing prompt) was simple – generation ship heading to a planet and over time the inhabitants lost understanding and knowledge of who they were, where they were going, and even the technology of the ship itself.

I think the main character could have been fleshed out a bit more, as most of the story was from his perspective, but you still got a real sense of his feelings an motivations throughout the story. The culture shifts on the generational ship from spacefaring to….not spacefaring…seem very plausible given the limitations of their environment and what was necessary to keep society alive. Some of it was shockingly cruel, but if it was a question of life and death, what other option would there be?

I have to admit to practically skimming the last few chapters in a desperate race to get to the ending to see how it all played out, so the minute details are lost to me, not that I would give you a detailed summary of how it ended anyway. Take the fact that I sped read it as an indication of how tightly the story had me.

I give this book a “Speculative Anthropology” – which only sounds boring to the non-nerds. I’ll add “With Spaceships” for the rest of you.