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No Hope for Our Future

(scene opens in moderately clean kitchen)

Me: (enters, sees two boys wrestling at the counter) What are you doing?

(they part to reveal a Chef Boyardee can, mangled by can opener)

Me: (stares at them, stares at can)
Them: (stare back)
Me: (cautiously approaches the can, lays a finger on the pull tab) Do you not know what this is?
Beta: No.
Me: (stares out the window, deep breath, pops tab, pulls back lid)
Them: (stare)
Me: (infinite gentleness) Alpha, did you not open yours this way?
Alpha: …No. (leaves room)
Beta: I apologize for my being an imbecile.
Me: (sadly) I love you.

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Why I get nothing done

(scene opens in school office)

Me: (holding snack pack and water bottle)
School Admin: (enters with morose Gamma) And she broke her promise.
Me: (hands over gear) You weren’t doing your work?
Gamma: (sadly) No. It was hard.
Me: (sigh) We do things not because they’re easy, but because they’re hard.

(school staff collectively stare)

Gamma: That makes no sense.
Me: How else are you going to learn if you only do what you already know? Get back to class, behave yourself. Yo quiero tú estudias espańol.
Gamma: Sí, mama.

(cut scene, mother walks into the house, sees school binder on the floor, picks it up, sighs, swears, heads back to school)

Science might happen

(scene opens in oddly clean kitchen)

Beta: What are we having for dinner?
Me: (cleaning down counter) Ribs.
Beta: (distressed) I don’t like ribs! I have all the ingredients for my quesadillas and I haven’t made them yet.
Me: (affronted) What do you mean you don’t like ribs? Its cow. Cow is steak. You like steak.
Beta: It has bones!
Me: Steak sometimes has bones in it! Think of it as steak on the cob! You can eat it with your hands!
Beta: (tilts head) Can you do that? Cook steak on the cob? Around the corn?
Me: (stops cold) I…don’t know. I suppose you could. Get some really thin steak, tenderize it, get a good rub, wrap it around the cob and then grill?
Beta: Like really thick bacon.

(both pause, re-considering life goals)

Me: Wow.
Beta: Yeah. Wow.

(music crescendos, fade to black, cut to car commercial)

Distilled

(scene opens in busy Starbucks, camera follows tea carrying individual through crowd to fireplace seating area)

Me: (looks up from phone, sees Childhood Bestie) Hey.
CB: Nice seats. (settles in)
Me: Right? Very comfy. (picks up cooling coffee, takes a sip, flinches and grimaces)
CB: (WTF look)
Me: Christmas blend. (grimace intensified)
CB: And?
Me: (another cautious sip) Tastes like 2018.
CB: (nod of understanding)

New Year Spirits

(scene opens in rainy parking lot, loading groceries in the car)

Beta: (going as slow as possible, everything weighs a thousand pounds)
Me: (exasperated) Is there a problem, Beta?
Beta: You didn’t get me bubble gum. Or Coke.
Me: (incredulous) I got a crate of flavored hot cocoa. I got hot pretzels. Sparkling cider. Doritos. Pizza rolls. Lemonade, chocolate milk, and Goose Island root beer. A box sampler of Jelly Belly beans! Pie and whipped cream! You’re going to pout about Coke and bubble gum?
Beta: (sags a little and mumbles) But I like Coke and bubble gum.
Me: You are my saddest panda. That’s your spirit animal. Sad Panda. If you listen very carefully, you can hear the saddest trombones in the background, playing for the world’s saddest panda. (makes sad trombone noise)
Beta: (sags further, the embodiment of suffering) But bubble gum….
Me: We have so much New Year’s eve snack food, you won’t have time to chew bubble gum. Trust me. Get in the car, Sad Panda. Its cold out here.

In Jokes Make Everything Better

(cut scene-flashback, opens in foyer of Universal Studios hotel, two people having a conversation)

Me: (quietly) Beta, you’ve been talking about food all day.
Beta: I’m hungry all day.
Me: (epiphany moment) Beta, do you eat your feelings?
Beta: (serious face) Yeah. (dork face) Its because they’re so delicious.
Me: (letting it go, talks for other times) Well, its because you put cheese on them.

(flash forward, six people in parked van, most red eyed from crying)

Everyone: (collectively mired in personal misery and sorrow)
Husband: (reaches out, touches wife’s arm gently to get attention, mimes eating)
Me: (nods, collects self, sits up straighter, calls over shoulder) Beta? Do you want to go put cheese on our feelings?
Beta: That’d be great.
Me: (waves to husband to work the car machine)
Gamma: Why are we putting cheese on our feelings?
Husband: I think we’re getting something to eat.

No Justice

Me: (enters, drops backpack and duffle bag)
Husband: (gives welcome home kiss) Did you have fun?
Me: Yes. I’m also starved. What was for dinner? (opens fridge, hunting left overs)
Husband: Bacon and eggs.
Me: (disappointed) Oh. (continues to look for something else)
Husband: I had gotten them for breakfast but we ended up having them for dinner because the kids let me sleep in.
Me: (snaps up straight, repeats as if tasting unfamiliar words) They….they let you….sleep in?
Husband: (working hard for straight face) I asked them why they did that. They said that I looked tired.
Me: (lets ‘fridge door drift close, repeats slowly as if to understand alien concept) They let you sleep in (pause, as if thinking) because you looked (significant pause) tired?
Husband: (gives in to helpless laughter) I told them you were going to be pissed.
Me: Pissed, nothing. I’m going to straight up murderlize them.

Eat All The Things

(scene opens in brighter kitchen, partially clean)

Me: Tart chilling, cran-apple sauce chilling, butternut soup in the crock. Time for breakfast. (takes mini-cupcake off a tray) Please tell me you had one of these before I eat them all.
Husband: (washing dishes) No.
Me: They’re delicious. Pumpkin spice cake with cream-cheese frosting. You didn’t have any last time and I bought these specifically for breakfast.
Husband: (dismissive) You don’t have cupcakes for breakfast.
Me: (outraged) Why not?! There are breakfast burritos, no reason we can’t have breakfast cupcakes! (takes another mini cupcake) Besides, now its noon and so now they’re lunch cupcakes.

Nutritional Awareness

(scene opens in morning kitchen)

Me: (in bathrobe examining containers of leftovers) Beta? Did you have dinner last night after I left?
Beta: (from dining room) Yeah, why?
Me: (comes in with lettuce bag) Did you have taco salad?
Beta: (slowly) Yeah.
Me: The lettuce isn’t even touched. Did you put any lettuce in your salad?
Beta: I did. I ripped off two leaves about this big (makes a small square with his fingers and thumbs)
Me: That’s not salad, that’s garnish. You basically ate a big bowl of taco meat.
Beta: (defensively) It had cheese on it too.
Me: (deep breath) That would explain why all the cheese is gone.

The Way She Moves

(scene opens in grocery store)

Me: (critically looks through the pre-sliced deli selection. Takes a variety of cheeses)
Deli Employee #1: (rolls up with a cart of fresh bagged meats)
Me: Oooh! Do you have turkey?
DE #1: Got some I.D.?
Me: Aww man, you gonna card me for some turkey?
DE #1: (turns to look at co-worker) Make her dance for it?
Me: Make me dance?
DE #2: That’d work. (mimics a little white girl shuffle)
Me: (claps hands, busts out a modified Fortnight emote)

(both deli employees double over with laughter)

DE #1: My man. Giv’er here. (holds out fist)
Me: (completes fist bump, takes the bacon wrapped turkey) Thank you, gentlemen. Have a good one.

Too Much Creativity

(scene opens in tossed parlor)

Gamma: (fresh from school) Mom! I have to make a machine for school tomorrow!
Me: Wha..? Why?
Gamma: I…(self aware pause) I didn’t finish it in class. Maybe draw it?
Me: Do you have to make or draw?
Gamma: (mental processing) …both? I need a machine that makes my life easier with snacks.
Me: (can’t even) With what? Snacks?
Gamma: Whatever we have in the house. Its a machine about snacks.

(scene cuts to cluttered dinning room)

Me: There. You have styrofoam cups, bendy straws, tape, scissors, and this aluminum tray you brought home from school. Have at.
Gamma: Whee!(proceeds to cut everything into confetti)
Me: Uh, what are you making?
Gamma: I’m just cutting.
Me: What about your snack machine?!?
Gamma: (surveys carnage) Oh. I forgot.

Condiment Wars

(scene opens at cluttered breakfast table)

Alpha: I want to try meerliwhup.
Me: (blinks, strives for focus) What?
Alpha: Meerliwhup. I want to try it.
Me: (sees he’s reading grocery adds) Sure, but what the hell is meerliwhup?
Alpha: I’m being silly. Miracle Whip.
Me: (recoils) Absolutely not. Not now, not ever, not in this house.
Alpha: But what if I want to try it? What if I think it’s delicious?
Me: When you’re all grown up and living in on your own you can eat all the Miracle Whip you want, but I will not have it in this house. There are few things that I am completely inflexible about and this is one of them. Don’t push me.