He’s getting better.

(scene opens in dining room not Carrot’s. Family party in progress, mostly adults around the table)

Beta: (takes empty chair, downs the last of a bottle of root beer)

Cousin K: You drank it all?

Beta: Yeah.

Carrot: I thought you liked root beer.

Beta: I do. Just that it was super flat. I went to take off the cap and it just fell off like someone had opened it.

(silence falls)

Aunt T: It’s a good idea not to drink bottles that have already been opened.

Husband: That’s someone cracking it open at the store, taking a drink and putting it back.

Me: Or putting something inside of it.

Beta: (shrugs)

(scene ends)

(new scene in grocery store refrigerated aisle)

Me: (looking at prices of small juice bottles) It says three for five – did you want to try the cranberry flavor? Get an OJ, apple, and then cranberry?

Beta: Sure.

(Carrot reaches up to get the cranberry juice)

Beta: Wait! Look at the lid.

(camera close up on broken seal)

Beta: We probably shouldn’t drink that. See? I can learn! (laughs stupidly)

Me: Your father would be so proud of you. You just might live to see adulthood.

Marital Expectations

(scene opens in dining room, Carrot wincing as she ices the sole of her foot. Husband enters from kitchen.)

Husband: (expansively) You picked the best weekend to go camping with the Girl Scouts tomorrow!

Me: (wearily) Oh yeah? Heat index out of control?

Husband: No! Its because I have to be up all night!

Me: (suspicious) Why?

Husband: Sandman drops today and I have to binge watch!

Me: (outraged) Not without me!

Husband: I’ll watch it again a dozen times over!

(camera swaps between Carrot’s Murder Face and Husband’s look of Chaotic Glee a half dozen times)

Me: (sighs, checks watch) All the kids are in bed by 8. We’re pulling an all nighter.

Husband: On the big T.V.?

Me: Of course.

Inter-office Memo

(scene opens at the top of the stairs, furniture pushed onto the landing)

Me: What is this?

Gamma: (briskly exiting her room) I’m just doing a bit of cleaning.

Me: (somewhere between shock and confusion)

Gamma: (hands over a clipboard) I’ve come to some decisions about what I want my room to look like.

(camera cuts to clipboard)

Me: Uh, okay.

Gamma: You probably should talk it over with dad.

Me: Sure. I’ll do that. (slowly backs away, exits scene)

It’s an adventure!

(scene opens in dinning room, Beta shuffles in)

Me: (looks up from laptop) Good morning! Glad to be back home?

Beta: (groggy) Yes.

Me: Tell me what else you did at Sea Base? I want all the stories.

Beta: Well, we were on that primitive island and you get a chuck box. There’s the ‘Chuck Box Challenge’.

Me: Oh dear. I know where this is going.

Beta: (warming to tale) So, the challenge is that you have to eat everything you packed in. We didn’t have much time left so I look in the box and pull out the maple syrup and chug it.

Me: (starts laughing) Ohmigod. Go tell your father.

Beta: Why?

Me: I think he might be proud of you.

(time passes, cut scene to later, Husband walks into dinning room)

Me: Did Beta tell you about the food challenge?

Husband: Yes. I told him he should have put the maple syrup on something. Like an apple.

Me: Oh yeah? What’d he say?

Husband: Said that’s what Alpha did.

Me: (proud) I love our knuckleheads.

Carrot’s Book Review: WTF Undead Edition

Editor’s note: Am not being paid to review and linky goes to not the Amazonian empire.

So, class. You might remember my love of necromancers, and so I finally got around to Harrow the Ninth, sequel to Gideon the Ninth.

Listening, more like. My brain has been scatter shot of late and I can’t keep my eyes on the printed word for very long, skimming like I was trying to cram before a college final. Audio books are rarely an option for me as I cannot stand most voices. I have finally found myself another audio reader that I can stand (still can count them all on one hand) and settled in for some embroidery and listening. Thank you Moira Quirk.

We shall begin. Ahem.

Whiskey.

Tango.

Foxtrot.

I had so much no-damn-clue what was going on, I checked out the first audio book for a re-listen to help me get fresher base for whatever insane bit of storytelling architecture I was subjecting myself. By the way, Sassomancers get +3 to everything when voiced in snotty English accents. The kids kept interrupting me wanting to know what I was laughing at.

While I had a better understanding of Gideon’s tale of WTF, I still had no idea what was going on with Harrow’s WTF. It didn’t mean the story wasn’t interesting, it just had less Sassomancy than the first book. I’m not even sure how to describe what was going on without giving exceptional spoilers. We do get introduced to the Undying Emperor. Some space travel. Some space bees.

I’m not kidding. Space bees. You know you want to read it now just for that.

Again, there’s some hard science to the necromancy but still no damn explanation on how the Emperor Undying became undying and no damn explanation on why they’re at war or who they’re at war with! There were times I had to stop to consider that maybe this story was being told by the baddies perpetuating a terrible and unjust conflict. It didn’t make any more sense of the tale I was being told.

Harrow’s strange little trip does get some resolution by the end. Most of her crazy little drama is made clear, but in the process of unveiling that madness, it just gives you another crate of WTF and isn’t even shy about the cliff hanger it gives you.

Bastards.

So, just the fact I listened to it on loop to make sure the WTF portion of this novel wasn’t 100% a user error (constant familial interruptions likely contributed) should be factored into the entertainment the book provided based on my Stargate Theory*. The characters were interesting, the mystery compelling, I’m dying to find out the rest of the world and the universe and am still holding out that I will have that itch scratched sooner rather than later. I suppose I need to find out if Ms. Quirk read the rest of them and hope that giving them a listen will make All Thing Clear(tm).

Still no clever undead ratings, so I’ll give it another four outta five stars just for the brain game it played with me.

Carrot’s Stargate Theory: Back when Stargate hit the theater, a knot of us nerds went to see it and debated the merits – or lack thereof – for well into the evening. Someone pointed out that we talked about the movie longer than the movie’s actual run time. It was postulated that any movie that could make you discuss it for that long was de facto a good movie.

Ergo, the fact that a completely incomprehensible book was interesting enough in its confusion to get you to hit repeat for a second ride meant that it was good.

The mighty hunter returns.

(scene opens in bright summer parlor, Jethro Tull loud on the speakers)

Me: (at embroidery frame singing heartily) Ring out those solstice bells! Ring out….

Alpha: (off screen and with terror) MOM!

(Carrot leaps up and heads to basement, cut scene to top of the stairs)

(Alpha looks up helplessly, Epsilon noses something suspicious on the floor, manages a doggy smug)

Me: (exasperated) Alpha, its just poop. If you guys walked him more this wouldn’t…

Alpha: (tremulously) Mom. It’s not poop.

(Carrot descends stairs for better look)

Carrot’s Inner Voice: Please, oh god, don’t be a rat.

Carrot: Looks a little big to be a mouse, and there’s no tail. (gets closer, sighs gently) Oh honey, its a baby rabbit. A very baby rabbit.

Epsilon: (wags tail and pants smugly)

Alpha: (tearfully) Is it dead?

(Carrot picks up small animal, wet and slick and black. It kicks slightly)

Alpha: (jumps) It’s not dead!

Carrot: Well, this makes things a little more complicated.

Editor’s Note: Said baby appears to have been claimed. Given the cruelty of Mother Nature, we are continuing to believe that said baby was claimed by the mama.

Peace Through Superior Firepower

(scene opens in bright sunny kitchen)

Me: (standing wearily before kitchen, coffee re-heating)

Delta: (strides in from outside, flips open hatch on oversized squirt gun) Mom? Can I put some ice in this bad boy?

Me: (starts to laugh, goes to icemaker, fills cupped hands with a pile of ice, pours it into open squirt gun)

Delta: (with confidence) Thanks mom! I’m gonna win this war. (locks, loads, leaves)

(off screen Gamma shrieks loud and often)

Me: (puts on headphones, turns up volume, goes back to laptop slurping hot coffee)

Summer begins!

(scene opens at school pick up line, smalls climbing into mini-van)

Me: (brightly) Hey guys! Last day of school! Are you ready for summer?

Gamma: (too through) I guess. My teacher gave me a bag of candy.

Me: I can tell by the chocolate on your face. What about you, Delta?

Delta: (perky) My teacher gave us all sunglasses!

Me: (pulls away from curb) Perfect for summer!

Delta: Mom, how many more days until second grade?

Me: (frowns) Uh…thirty days in June, thirty one in July, subtract one for today. Add ten for August and you have seventy days of Summer.

Delta: (incredulous) Seventy days!?

Me: Yup.

Delta: I can’t wait seventy days to ride the bus. Can’t I go back earlier?

Me: (sighs) Tragically, no.

Delta: (disgruntled) This is so unfair.

All figured out.

(scene opens in a tossed dinning room)

Delta: (eating post school snack) Wouldn’t it be great if people figured out what the meaning of life is?

Me: (looks up from laptop, suspicious) ….yes. Yes it would.

Delta: What do you think the meaning of life is?

Me: (quiet for a moment) Creation. The whole reason we’re here is to make stuff.

Delta: Do you know what I think it is? Happiness.

Me: That seems like a good answer.

Delta: (sighs, satisfied) Now we just need to let everyone know what the meaning of life it!

Me: (stares)

Can’t argue with that.

(scene opens in cluttered kitchen)

Alpha: (hunting breakfast) Ha-HA! (pulls bag of leftover pizza from ‘fridge)

Me: (pointing) HA! Ha-HA!

Alpha: Ha-ha-ha-HA!

Me: HA! Hu-ha-ha-ha. HA!

Husband: You guys are dorks.

Alpha: (draws himself up) You married her. You made me.

Me: He does have a point.

Husband: I was cool once.

Mother Tongue

(scene opens in bright cluttered kitchen, Carrot enters wearing rain dotted jacket)

Gamma: Cómo estás, mama!

Me: (thinks) Asi asi.

Gamma: No bueno?

Me: Just tired, baby. (hangs up jacket)

Gamma: I want to learn Japanese! Konnichiwa!

Me: Konnichiwa. You can learn Japanese if you want, although that might have to wait until college. I’m sure the local schools aren’t offering.

Gamma: You’ll have to learn it too so you can help me!

Me: (snort) I can’t keep up with the ones I was trying to learn before and now you want me to add Japanese to the mix? Japanese is very difficult.

Gamma: (brightly) Just like me!

Me: (pauses, processes, kisses Gammas forehead) Technically correct.

Gamma: The best kind of correct.

Fantasy Football

(scene opens in near empty waiting room, tv in corner blathering on)

Alpha: What in gods name is that?

Me: (pained) Real Wives of New Jersey.

Alpha: Why the hell is she so obsessed with her nose?

Me: Well, when you only see your worth in your looks, every little wrinkle counts.

(show drones on, petty dramas are petty)

Alpha: I don’t understand what’s going on.

Me: (slowly going mad) There’s no such thing as reality tv. Nothing about it is real. They follow them around for 24 hrs and cut the best parts in to one hour and take everything is out of context. Not only that, but then every single one of those people aren’t real. Nothing about them is real. They’re pretending. They’re making up these ridiculous characters that make dumb decisions. They’re putting on airs and wearing silly clothes and doing whatever they can to generate ratings and get the most screen time. It’s just all…. (stops, growing look of horror Carrot’s face)

Nurse: (enters into waiting room) Alpha?

(Alpha leaves, Carrot remains seated)

Me: (whispers to self) Reality tv is larp for non-larpers.

(home audience dead silent, fade to black, cut to car commercial)