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.

Inter-office Memo

(scene opens at the top of the stairs, furniture pushed onto the landing)

Me: What is this?

Gamma: (briskly exiting her room) I’m just doing a bit of cleaning.

Me: (somewhere between shock and confusion)

Gamma: (hands over a clipboard) I’ve come to some decisions about what I want my room to look like.

(camera cuts to clipboard)

Me: Uh, okay.

Gamma: You probably should talk it over with dad.

Me: Sure. I’ll do that. (slowly backs away, exits scene)

Band Nerds Unite

(scene opens in dark mini van)

Me: So what time do I have to pick you up?

Beta: The game should be over by 8. Did you know some kids just hang out after school until the game starts? That’s over three hours of hanging out! That’s gotta be so boring!

Me: Not really. Not if you have all your friends there too. My old high school had activity busses running until 6:30 every night, so I just hung out with my friends every day until last call.

Beta: I suppose. Hey remember T, our old neighbor? Who was a percussionist? They used to hang out in the band room every day.

Me: Legit.

Beta: They used to get into so much trouble.

Me: Also legit.

Beta: They used to have a microwave in there. Not since they put a shoe in it.

(car pulls up to curb)

Me: Yeah, Band Kids are terrible. (Beta gets out of the car) Theater kids are the worst. (Beta pauses, looks back over his shoulder) I was both.

Beta: That explain so much.

Me: Get out. I’ll see you in two hours.

Literary References

(scene opens in messy kitchen, Carrot hastily making school lunches)

Gamma: Mom? Can I wear this jacket? (holds up ratty Starfleet letterman)

Me: (pained) I’d rather you not, the sleeves are peeling and I’ve not replaced them with real leather yet.

Gamma: Please?! Look! It almost fits me! (puts it on)

Me: (defeated) Sure, just be very careful with it? I don’t want it to get beyond repair. (goes back to making sandwiches)

Gamma: Mom? What’s Battlestar Galactica?

Me: (taken aback) What? Uh…its another space show. About humanity’s survival against the Cylons. Sentient robots – maybe androids – that rose up and rebelled against their masters.

Gamma: (with deep and excessive sarcasm) Oh. Robots rising up against their masters. Where have I heard that before?

Me: All this has happened before, and all of it will happen again.

Gamma: Wut?

Me: Nothing. It’s a trope. Tropes are reoccurring themes in entertainment and literature. They’re meant to convey certain concepts. Everything is referencing something else. If you understand all the references, you get a much deeper story.

Gamma: (dismissive) You’d think they’d come up with something new by now.

Me: Yeah, well, everything old is eventually made new. Get your boots on, it’s go time.

Ending on a High Note

(scene opens in holiday wrecked dinning room, Carrot at table looking frazzled)

Husband: (enters from kitchen)

Me: (tense) We have to take Delta to the planitarium.

Husband: Why?

Delta: (grins) Mommy and I were talking about burn out.

Husband: (stares in WTF)

Me: (closes eyes, sighs) He was asking what “burn out” means and wanted to know why we haven’t invented limitless energy – his words, not mine – and I explained that everything burns out, even the sun which has already existed for millions of years and will burn out millions of years in the future. He’s now asking me astronomical questions I don’t have answers to.

Husband: (stirring tea) Huh.

Me: Y’know – I prepared for endless kid questions by learning why the sky is blue and as of yet, not a single one has asked that. But meanwhile, I’ve had to show them how to use a bookmark and how to work the pull-tab on a can.

Husband: (tries for stoicism, fails, begins to laugh)

Delta: You know, I can hear you mom. Why is the sky blue? (grin turns smug)

Me: (puts head down on desk)

Husband: I’ll put that down as a “Brought it on yourself.”

Nerd Flex

(scene opens in gloomy dinning room, Disney lightsaber builds playing on laptop)

Laptop: (emits saber noises and delighted coos of fan base)

Beta: (longingly) Wow. That’s amazing. Are you overcome with the magic of it, mom?

Me: Not entirely. I’m Trek not Wars, remember?

Beta: (narrow eyed suspicious look) Does Trek have a theme park?

Me: (regretfully) No, they do not.

Beta: (smugly) Well. Now we know that Wars is superior.

Price of Nerdity

(scene opens in gloomy dining room)

(montage cut scenes of four children not able to exist without active involvement of their mother)

Me: (slams laptop shut) THAT’S IT!

(collective silence)

Alpha: (too little too late) Guys, you have to leave mom alone, she’s taking a test.

Beta: (having missed the last ten memos) What kind of tests?

Me: I am trying to take my Starfleet exams and I just got my first “pass” and just ruined my grade point average.

Alpha: (smirks) Starfleet? Oh, you’re playing game.

Me: (dangerous) I’m not. I’m reading .pdfs and taking tests. I’ve been homeschooling you all day, I’d appreciate it if you’d let me go to school.

Beta: (dismissively) It’s not even real school. Why would anyone pretend to go school?

Me: (hotly) Because that is what geeks do! Geeks go to pretend schools from pretend realities to get pretend degrees in pretend subjects and then wear pretend alumni shirts for pretend college reunions and talk about their awesome pretend careers! (puts head in hands) I’ll never graduate with honors now.

Gamma: Why even learn all that stuff if its pretend?

Me: So my people will think I’m cool.

Called Out

(scene opens in moderately clean dining room)

Me: (at laptop trying to enjoy morning coffee)

Gamma: (runs in, shaking noisemaker) Mom! Mom! I put candy in this plastic heart!

Me: I can hear it. Good job.

Gamma: (shoves it in her face) For you!

Me: (anticipating gross candy) No thank you.

Gamma: But its your heart! Its full of Nerds!

Me: (blinks) You’re right. It is. (accepts)

Gamma: (runs off screen yelling) Mommy’s heart is full of Nerds!

Shieldmaiden starter kit

(scene opens in tossed parlor)

Me: Gamma, can you help me pick up all the Quirkle tiles? Delta threw them all over?

Gamma: Sure mama. (gets down to scoop them up)

Me: So, I need to make you a new dress this weekend. A friend of daddy and mine is going to be king soon, and we wanted to go to Coronation.

Gamma: (eyes wide) Your friend is king? What does that mean we’re going to do?!

Me: Going to be. Remember we get a new one every six months? So we’re going to go to Coronation to wish him well and be happy for him. But that means we all need new garb, especially you. Do you want a blue dress? A pink dress? Red? Green?

Gamma: (dreamy delight) I want a black one. With skulls.

Me: (starts to laugh) Black with skulls?

Gamma: (still dreamy) I was born to fight. (snaps back) I will do well in the SCA.

(Cue epic sound track, mother tearfully hugs daughter, fade to black, cut to car commercial)

Rise to the Challenge

(scene opens in tossed dining room)

Alpha: What are you reading?
Me: An article about how a movie theater is running all the marvel movies in order before Endgame.
Alpha: (unimpressed) Huh.
Me: Would you like to go?
Alpha: I already saw all of them.
Me: So? We could do it at home. We have all movies, we can spend all weekend watching them in order. A whole weekend! Think of all the popcorn we can eat!
Alpha: (grimace) I don’t really like popcorn.
Me: You break my heart. I’ll watch 59 hours of Marvel with Gamma. She still loves me. I’ll invite all my nerd friends and you can’t hang with us.
Alpha: Whatever.

Opportunity strikes

(scene opens in tossed dinning room)

Alpha: (thinking himself clever) Mom, if people evolved from monkeys, why do we still have monkeys?
Me: (shock) Did you just seriously ask me that question?
Alpha: (bravado wavers a bit) Yeah.
Me: (anticipatory stretch, cracks knuckles) I have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Sit down while I learn you good. Its been a while since I used the Anthro degree. (picks up pencil to sketch out hominid family tree)

(time passes, multiple cut scenes follow, science happens)

Alpha: (whimpers)
Me: There. And that’s why, my little hairless ape, there are both monkeys and human beings. Before you decide this play this trick again, the same goes for dogs and wolves. Unless you’re dumb enough to think that pre-historic saber-toothed Bichon Frise roamed the earth hunting undersized mammoths.
Alpha: (slinks off to kitchen to do dishes)

Behind the 8 Ball

(scene opens at New Year’s table, Dominion being set up amid the snacks)

Me: Alpha, where are you?
Alpha: (offscreen, sullen) Here.
Beta: C’mon dude, we’re going to play a card game!
Alpha: (deeper sullen) No.
Me: (frustrated) Alpha, would you please come to the table? It’s New Year’s Eve and we’re doing new family traditions. Could we play some games, please?
Alpha: (storms into the room) No! I don’t want to do nerd things! I don’t want to be a nerd!
Me: (dies a little, mists up) Oh honey, you have no idea how badly you’ve already lost that fight.