The Darkest Timeline

(scene opens in sun bright dinning room)

Me: (sees Bigs stumbling into the kitchen) Morning guys. I got a phone call last night that today is supposed to be a snow day.

Beta: (opens fridge, pauses) Supposed to be?

Me: (typing) If you were actually at school, it would be a snow day. But, since half the student body is on camera, everyone is on camera today.

Beta: (overcome with sadness, door drifts shut) So. There’s no more snow days?

Me: (eyes on laptop, typing) Apparently not. Get some breakfast and log in.

Beta: This is the worst.

Me: (pauses) Yeah. I’m sorry.

(cue sad dramatic music, fade to black)

Did you eat them?

(scene opens in dinning room)

Husband: (grouchy) Beta is wearing shorts.

Me: (too through) I told him to go through Alpha’s dresser for jeans if they’re not in his.

Husband: They say they don’t have any. Alpha has been wearing the same shorts for two weeks now.

Me: But…I went to Goodwill. In a mask. I bought a dozen. It’s a pandemic. We. Haven’t. Been. Anywhere.

Husband: (throws up hands)

Me: (still confused) All the laundry has been done.

Husband: I told them at lunch they’re going up to their room and finding all their pants.

(the two stare at one another)

Me: It’s gonna get real cold in here when the Polar Vortex comes and they have no pants.

Husband: I doubt that will motivate them.

Drinking Our Feelings

(scene opens in cold rainy kitchen, kids stagger in)

Me: (ladling out into mugs) Here, the heavy cream was about to go bad, so I made homemade hot chocolate.

Gamma: (sips) Yeah….no. There’s too much chocolate.

Beta: (sips) Meh. Too much cinnamon.

Me: There is literally a dusting in there. Barely enough to scent it. You’re nuts.

Beta: (shrugs, places it on the counter, leaves)

Me: (hands Alpha a mug)

Alpha: (sullen) No. (leaves)

(scene fades to black with Carrot holding three mugs of heavy cream hot chocolate)

Can’t Even

(scene opens in dim basement, Carrot surrounded by laundry baskets)

Me: (sorting t-shirts, stops looks around) Are you still smelling B.O?

Husband: (looks up from computer) I put a load through earlier because it was smelling.

Me: Yeah, I just took that out of the dryer. (sniffs article of clothing, drops it) Jebuz!

Husband: (gets up to look at basket) Did some dirties get in with the clean?

Me: I don’t think so. (Husband and Carrot proceed to sort boy clothes based on smell) Some of them don’t smell at all. How did so much stank get through the wash?

Husband: (turns to stairway, lets out a battlefield yell) BETA!

(Beta hurries downstairs into scene)

Husband: Explain to me your washing process.

Beta: (shrugs) Take the clothes, put them in the machine, close the door, push the button.

(moment of silence)

Me: And when do you put in the laundry pod?

Beta: (tries to affect confusion, fails) What laundry pod?

Husband: Holy god you’ve been washing your clothes without detergent all this time? (points at stank basket) Take these back to the laundry room, I will show you what laundry detergent looks like.

Not Winning

(scene opens at cluttered dining room table)

Me: (cheerful) Something new for dinner tonight!
Beta: (preens)
Me: Mr. Picky Eater wanted to try something new for pasta night, so we’re having ALFREDO! (puts down bowls of noodles and sauce)
Beta: (shovels it in)
Alpha: (takes one bite gags, puts hands over mouth) Sorry.
Gamma: (watches brother, slowly puts down fork) I’m not hungry.
Delta: (taking cues from the herd) Not hungry, mama.
Me: …you’re serious? It’s just fancy mac’n’cheese!
Gamma: (slinks away from table) I’m going to get ready for Scouts.
Delta: I go too! (takes off)
Alpha: (still at table with hands over mouth) I’m sorry but…just…no.
Beta: (finishes his bowl, grabs Gamma’s, keeps eating)
Me: (stunned) I cannot believe this.
Beta: (mouth full) Right? It’s even better with chicken.

Early Bird

(scene opens in suburban arctic wasteland, small child climbing icebergs)

Me: (fumbling for phone with numb fingers)
Nice Dispatch Lady: Hello, how can I help you?
Me: The bus hasn’t arrived yet and was wondering if there was a reason its late?
NDL: Sure, give me your information. (sounds of typing) Says the bus should be there at 11:09.
Me: Yeah, we’ve been out here since 11:05 and the bus never shows before 11:10.
NDL: (cautious) Do you know what time it is?
Me: 11:20.
NDL: (carefully) It’s 10:20.
Me: (pause, checks phone, zoom in on time) Oh, you’re kidding me. (with horror)
NDL: (with humor) Nope, not kidding.
Me: Welp, I guess I’m going back inside and taking the battery out of my phone. Thanks for your help.
NDL: (with Bless Your Heart sass) No problem. You have a good day now.
Me: (hangs up phone) Totally deserved that.

Dex Check

(scene opens in tossed parlor, woman on settee needlepointing)

Beta: (bleary, wanders in) Morning.
Me: (looks out window) Noon. What happened to your lip? Is that a cold sore?
Beta: (delicately run fingers over bruised, fat, slightly bloody lower lip) No. Uh, you know where the corner is on the bottom of our stairs? How its the same color as the other door next to it? And how it angles? Well, I thought that it was part of the door and when I tried to open the door, I walked into it.
Me: (silence)
Beta: What?
Me: You walked into your door.
Beta: Yes.
Me: (sigh) Well, this is the point where I would give you Obligatory Mock, because you are deserving of Obligatory Mock. However, I feel that – given the circumstances – just notifying you of your deserving Obligatory Mock covers it and we’ll let it go. No promises on the rest of your siblings.
Beta: (resignedly nods) Acceptable.