In the pursuit of fairness

(scene opens in a cluttered kitchen, mother in argument)

Me: He does do chores, you just don’t see them!
Beta: But I do a load of dishes and Alpha is never here and I never see him doing a load of dishes.
Me: He does! I make him wash dishes! You’re downstairs watching t.v!
Beta: But I never see him, its not fair, I’m the only one who does…
Me: (yelling) For the love of god! He has to re-wash half the things you do because you do such a piss poor job of it! Tell you what, after you’re done doing a load, you can stand here and watch Alpha do a load. Instead of twenty minutes of you arguing with me and twenty minutes of you farting around barely using a sponge, you can stand here for another twenty minutes and watch your brother doing dishes so that way you can verify that in no way, no how, is there a chance that you are doing one hair more of work than Alpha and you are perfectly equal in effort and time.
Beta: (crying) But that means he gets forty minutes of more XBox time!
Me: (murderous sociopathic calm) Consider next time how important it is that you stick your nose into everyone else’s business.

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Right. There.

(scene opens up in parlor, bearing strong resemblance to a sweatshop)

Me: Alpha? I need a pen that will write on fabric.
Alpha: Where would I find that?
Me: Pen cup. Kitchen.
Alpha: (many hilarious failed attempts to produce anything resembling “fine tip” or “marker”)
Me: (exasperated) You know that nice pen that you have in your Boy Scout binder? Something like that.
Alpha: Where would I find that?
Me: Hooks along the stairs.
Alpha: (off screen) It’s not here.
Me: (stabs mouthful of pins into tomato, one at a time, mouthing curses) Hook. Stairs. Under jacket.
Alpha: (still off screen) I’m looking! It’s not here!
Me: (goes to basement stairwell. Stands on stairs. Stares at hooks.)
Alpha: Oh! I thought you meant the other hooks. (points at tiny key rack next to side door.
Me: Hooks. (points to hooks) Basement stairs. (points to stairs) Check under jackets. (removes hoodie from hook, reveals blue shoulder bag zipped organizer)
Alpha: Oh. Thanks mom. (takes organizer)
Me: You need to learn how to look for things. When the apocalypse comes, I won’t be here to help you find your survival gear.

Mentoring

(scene opens in destroyed dining room)

Me: Alpha, I have something to talk to you about.
Alpha: Yeah?
Me: Remember the hard time you used to have in school? The yelling, the running out of the classroom?
Alpha: You’re going to tell me that Gamma is doing the same thing?
Me: Yeah. For the same reasons. She’s got some kids picking on her. I thought that maybe you could talk to her and give her some advice on how it feels and how it’ll get better and how we’re trying to help.
Alpha: Okay. (leaves)

(short time passes)

Me: (heading downstairs to cluttered basement, finds Alpha) You’re playing Xbox?
Alpha: Yeah. Where else would I be?
Me: I thought you were talking with your sister and trying to help her out by sharing some of your hard earned wisdom.
Alpha: I have to do that now?