Empathetic

(scene opens in cluttered kitchen, Alpha struggling with the back door)

Me: (confused, looks over his shoulder) Oh, thanks for bringing in the garbage cans. Your sister was supposed to do that.
Alpha: (stands in doorway, exhausted) I don’t think I want to do my service hours tonight for Scouts.
Me: Are you getting sick?
Alpha: No. (pause) We watched a movie about Anne Frank and it showed what happened to her after she got sent to the camps.
Me: (compassionate smothering mom hug) People are evil. Our great goal in life is to not be evil. And to stop other people’s evil.
Delta: (awkward toddler run, hands Alpha a lollipop)
Alpha: (takes lolly, rubs Delta’s head)

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Desperate times

(scene opens in cluttered dining room, phone ringing)

Me: (considers caller ID, decides to risk it) Hello?
Phone Lady: Hi, how are you today? We’ve been trying to get a hold of you about qualifying for a lower rate on your credit card! Let me take moment to ask you a few questions…
Me: You could start with telling me what credit card this is for.
Phone Lady: (pause, nervous laughter, tries to get back on script)…because this is our last chance to…
Me: Which credit card is this for?
Phone Lady: …see if you still qualify before we close this file.
Me: I’m pretty sure I don’t qualify, so go ahead and close my file. OKAY! THANKS! BAI! (hangs up)
Alpha: (observing) You were much nicer to her than dad would be.
Me: Times are hard, Alpha. Just because she sold her soul in order to put dinner on the table doesn’t mean I have to be a dick about it.