Best Dressed

(scene opens in apocalypse parlor)

Husband: (enters from the kitchen) I have a video conference call. Do I look okay?

Me: (looks up from lap top) Well, I love that color shirt on you, the tie is fabulous and the hat really brings it together)

(boys collectively turn to see Husband wearing a black octopus hat)

Beta: Now you need to wear the Plague Doctor mask.

Me: No, he needs to ration them out.

Alpha: Next time you can wear the Moose Hat.

Husband: Wore that last time.

Beta: You can borrow our Rainbow Poop Hat.

Husband: No.

Beta: Why not?

Me: Too unprofessional.

Husband: (turns, nods, tossing a tentacle over his shoulder, exits stage left)

Evidence of learning

(scene opens in apocalyptic parlor, boys playing Minecraft)

Gamma: (stomping in dramatically) I finally found the charger in my room! It was hiding from me! It hates me!

Alpha: (resigned) That is statistically impossible for being an inanimate object.

Gamma: (hotly) It’s hyperbole, Alpha. I’m not stupid.

Gotta stop it early

(scene opens in messy kitchen)

Gamma: (excited) Beta! I’ve been watch Minecraft YouTube! I know more Minecraft now!

Beta: (sweeping the floor and shitty about it) Oh yeah, how many blocks does it take…

Me: WE WILL NOT HAVE GATEKEEPING IN MY HOUSE!

Beta: (pouts)

Me: Hey Beta, do you know Dr. Who?

Beta: (pauses, lies badly) No.

Me: (knows his game) Try again. Hey, Beta, do you know Dr. Who?

Beta: Yeah.

Me: Oh yeah? Name them all.

Beta: (guilty grins)

Me: Oh, I guess you don’t know dick about Dr. Who. (gives the “understand?” look) That’s what it sounds like. Don’t. Do. It

(looks at the camera, breaks the fourth wall)

Me: Parents, don’t let your kids Gatekeep. It’s a dick move.

But Complaining is More Fun

(scene opens in cluttered parlor, three kids, two player Skylander)

(Beta, Gamma, Delta arguing who’s playing)

Delta: You need to stop! My turn!

Beta: No. Stop. I’m telling you that this is my character and you can’t play it.

Gamma: But you’re not using it and I want to use it.

Beta: But its mine and I don’t want you using it.

Delta: I want a turn.

Me: (can no longer stand the bitching) ENOUGH! (rises from her chair) Gamma – get back to the table and finish the breakfast you forgot about. Delta, you play her character. Beta, we share our characters and you were using another one, so finish playing this level and you can use it later.

Beta: (bitchy) You know what? Never mind. (Gets up from chair) Just forget it. I quit.

Me: (enraged) Goddamnit, sit your ass back down. You made such a fuss I had to come over here and solve all your damn drama. You don’t get to quit now, you could have quit fifteen minutes ago before I had to get involved. Take your win, play your game, and next time keep your damn mouth shut.

Beta: (sits back down, pouts his entire way through a level)

Day Seven of the Pandemic

10 am – That’s it. I cannot stand you two any more. Run around the back yard until you’re tired.

10:05 – Gets Delta dressed, sends him outside.

10:10 – Frog marches Gamma upstairs with instructions to get dressed.

10:15 – Delta comes to the door looking for Gamma.

10:20 – Delta comes to the door looking for Gamma.

10:25 – Delta comes to the door looking for Gamma.

10:30 – Delta comes to the door looking for Gamma.

10:35 – Delta comes to the door looking for Gamma.

10:40 – Goes up to extract Gamma. Finds her under the covers with the lights off, demanding to be allowed to sleep in.

“Gamma, if you wanted to sleep in, you should have thought about that at 7 am when you exploded into this time stream and pounded down the stairs singing to yourself at the top of your lungs. Get out of my house.”

You Had Options

(scene opens in pandemic living room, kids strewn about for reading hour)

Husband: (comes in looks around)

Me: (takes off head phones) Reading hour ends at 2.

Beta: (looks up) Maybe picking a book about a fast spreading virus was a bad choice.

Me: (no pity) Hey, I gave you one about aliens and horses and you didn’t like it. This is all on you.

Book Club

(scene opens in quarantined parlor)

Beta: (sullen) I finished folding laundry. Now what.

Me: (fiercely) Excellent. Time for one hour of book reading.

Beta: (collapses bonelessly into chair, reaches for laptop)

Me: What are you doing?

Beta: Logging on to the school library for an audio book.

Me: (outraged) No! Reading! Re-ah-ding! Silently! With your eyes!

Beta: (hysterical) But I’ve read every book in this house!

Me: (evil laugh) You have not.

Beta: (sullen again) I’ve read every book in my room.

Me: (standing up from table) I bet you haven’t, but follow me.

(camera cuts to messy but obviously parental bedroom)

Me: Behold (waves hand at stuffed bookshelf) I have over a hundred Dr. Who books. Pick one. Pick two, they’re short. I have books you’ve never seen before. I have boxes of books in the back of the closet. I have books in boxes in the attic. I have boxes of books in the basement. I have more books than you can possible read in two pandemics. The one things you can never say to me is “I’ve read everything”.

Beta: (collapses onto the bed in tears)

Me: (hands him “Novels of the Jaran” by Kate Elliot) Start reading. You’ll like this one, it has aliens. And horses.

I bother why?

(scene opens in cluttered kitchen)

Me: (fussing over crock pot)

Gamma: Mom, I’m hungry. What’s for dinner?

Me: You’re always hungry. Homemade chicken soup.

Gamma: I don’t like soup.

Me: Since when?

Gamma: Since always.

Me: What do you want for dinner instead?

Gamma: Ramen!

Me: Ramen is soup.

Gamma: No it’s not!

Me: Yes, it is.

Gamma: Well, it’s better than chicken soup!

(close of up murder face, cue laugh track, fade to black)

You Don’t Say

(scene opens in cluttered kitchen)

Me: (taking her daily Flintstone vitamin, holds out handful for Husband)

Husband: I’ve always been a Wilma kind of guy (picks one up)

Me: That’s Betty. (points) This is Wilma.

Husband: (picks it up, squints) How can you tell?

Me: I have better eye sight than you.

Husband: Oh. I thought you were going to say that one has better legs.

No One Should Live Like This

(scene opens in cluttered dinning room)

Me: (to Husband walking in) Your mother called, she’s canceling Easter.

Husband: Oh my god! Do you mean he’s still dead?!

Me: (stares, laughs, fumbles for comeback) Okay, I got nothing. Can we start that scene over again?

(Husband exits to kitchen, comes back)

Me: Your mother called, we’re not having party on Easter.

Husband: Oh my god! Were they not able to roll the rock back?

Me: No!

(Husband exits to kitchen, comes back)

Me: (sigh) Your mother called. We’re not getting everyone together on Easter for the family gathering.

Husband: What am I going to do with all these extra nails?

Me: (gives up) That’s it. I’m blogging that and you can’t stop me.

You Don’t Have to Include Me In Everything

(scene opens in cluttered dining room)

Me: (at table, headphones on, music up, typing furiously on laptop)

Beta: Mom. Mom. Mom! MOM!

Me: (stumbles, fuming, removes headphones) What?

Beta: Know that Buddha Board thing?

Me: (sighs) The Zen Watercolor thing, yes. What about it?

Beta: Think we can talk to dad about it?

Me: (points to husband sitting next to Beta) Oh look. There he is. Go ahead.

Husband: (chokes on tea)

Me: (angrily slaps on headphones, continues to write)

Times Have Changed

(scene opens in mini-van, Prodigy’s “Smack My Bitch Up” playing)

Me: Oh, I like this one. Sounds like the club mix. (turns it up)

Alpha: (side eye) This is not an appropriate song. (listens) Especially not while I’m on my way to a Boys Scout event.

Me: (returns side eye, matches high vocal melody)

Alpha: With my mother in the car.

Me: (relents) Fine. (presses skip button, NIN’s “Head Like a Hole” plays) Oh, I like this one too. (turns it up to eleven)

Alpha: (listens for a moment, turns it back down to four)

Me: (singing) …than give you control!…Hey, I was listening to that.

Alpha: Why is your music so loud?

Me: When did you get so old?

Alpha: (rolls eyes, goes back to scrolling dank memes on his phone)