Either/Or

(scene opens outside a strip mall DMV)

Me: (waiting out on the side walk)

Alpha: (walks up sheepishly)

Me: Well?

Alpha: I failed. I have to retake it.

Me: (takes a moment to consider body language) You’re lying to me.

Alpha: (smile brightens) Yes. I got it. I passed.

Me: (reaches into purse, pulls out bag of sour gummi Troll worms) Here. Congrats.

Alpha: (looks at bag) If I had failed, would you not have given it to me?

Me: You’d still get it. Then it’d be consolation candy. Like Break Up Ice Cream. Did you want to drive home?

Alpha: God no. I have candy to eat.

Technology makes life easier!

(scene opens in tossed dining room)

Me: Okay, Alpha! Ready to go get your driver’s license?

Alpha: (glumly) No.

Me: Excellent. (checks webpage) Says we need to bring one piece of documentation from sections A, B, C, and D. Got your birth certificate and social security card?

Alpha: (holds them up) Check.

Me: Proof of address?

Alpha: (holds up college letter, state ID, and driver’s permit) Check.

Me: Proof of Insurance?

Alpha: (holds up insurance paper) Check.

Me: We ride!

(cut scene to parking lot of sad struggling strip mall)

Door Guard: Does he have all his paperwork? Are you 18?

Alpha: (hands over folder) Yes.

Door Guard: (rifles paperwork) You have to stay out here, mom. Appointments only and he’s adult.

Me: Cool. (sides on a concrete riser)

(time passes, Alpha returns)

Alpha: They say I need a high school transcript to prove I took Driver’s Ed. I’m not in the system.

Me: (dumbfounded) Not in the system? (goes to Door Guard) He needs a high school transcript?

Door Guard: Yeah, bring a high school transcript and they send it to Springfield and once he’s in the system he can take the driver’s test.

Me: (hotly) That wasn’t on the list of required documentation.

Door Guard: (shrugs) It’s a state law.

Me: (with poison) And where does it say that on the web site for required documentation?

Door Guard: (shrugs again) You can come back later today.

Me: (calling up the fire within) Then what was the point of making an appointment?

(Door Guard shrugs a third time, doesn’t answer, turns away. Carrot pulls out her phone and begins frantically researching and typing while Alpha hovers nervously by)

Me: Oh! They can email me a transcript! Maybe the day is saved. (types some more and pauses)

Alpha: What?

Me: They can email me a transcript. For three dollars and it’ll arrive in five business days.

(Carrot closes eyes and breaths deeply)

Alpha: (nervously) I’m really sorry mom.

Me: (kindly) It’s not your fault, Alpha. We followed all the instructions given to us. They just didn’t give us all the instructions.

Carrot’s Inner Voice:

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.

Leveling Up

(scene opens in trashed pandemic parlor, sound of ice cream truck in the background)

Gamma: (shouting, waving a fist full of dollars) Ice cream man! Mom! Please!

Delta: (quick to join in) Mom! Ice cream man!

Me: (giving up the protracted battle) Fine. Go. Don’t run into the street.

(smalls race out of the house. Carrot sits at the table, head in hands. Five minutes of pure silence passes.)

Gamma: (burst through door) Mom! I have ice cream!

Delta: (runs to table) Gamma bought me ice cream!

Gamma: (proud and wistful) I have finally bought ice cream from the ice cream man.

Delta: (matter-of-factly) Gamma feels very grown up right now.

Me: (sighs) I can tell.

Radio. Edit.

(scene opens in mini van, Kids Music playing on radio)

Radio: (kicks new song intro)
Me: (ears prick up) Uh, turn off the radio.
Husband: (driving) What?
Gamma: OH YEAH!
Me: Damnit, turn it off! (lunges for phone in holder, fumbles to the floor)
Husband: (confused) What song is it?
Me: How do you not know this song! (wrestles with seatbelt to hunt for phone)
Gamma: I LOVE THIS SONG!
Radio: TURN DOWN FOR WHAT!
Husband: Jebuz! (slaps off radio)
Me: (comes up with phone in hand)
Gamma: BRING BACK THE MUSIC!
Husband: How did you recognize that song? I thought we were playing kids Pandora.
Me: How did you not recognize that song? And we are? (close upon phone shows Kids Rock! Radio)
Gamma: I NEED THE MUSIC!

(Husband and Carrot exchange looks)

Husband: (cautiously turns the radio back on)
Radio: TURN DOWN FOR WHAT! (followed by lengthy instrumental)
Gamma: OH YEAH! TURN DOWN FOR WHAT!

(another exchange of looks)

Husband: We might be really bad parents.
Me: This is the strangest yet most wholesome radio edit ever.

Know your limitations

(scene opens in tossed kitchen, two parents, dressed for cold, enter from two different doors)

Husband: (looks wife up and down in question)
Me: (towing smalls, removing coats) Parent Track meeting. Ended up being earlier than I thought.
Beta: (enter from third door, panicked, waving arms) Where have you been! No one was home! I was worried! (throws himself into mother’s arms)
Me: (amusedly perplexed) I’m sorry, honey. I would have left a note, but I didn’t think of it. I thought you’d come in, see no one was here and make yourself a snack and play video games.
Beta: (hotly) I didn’t know where anyone was! I had to be responsible!
Me: But you only had to look after yourself.
Beta: Exactly! I can’t take care of myself! You know this! How could you do this to me? (stomps off to the basement)