Takes No Prisoners

(scene opens in long open cabin room, tween pre-bed chaos in full swing)

Me: (paces to center of the room, orates loudly) Okay campers! I did not get any sleep last night and I am highly resentful of that fact! Tonight, at lights out, we will not have yelling! We will not have running around and shaking the entire cabin! There will be no crying, no fighting, and there will be quiet! Am I understood?

Tween Greek Chorus: (muttered sporadic responses)

Me: I can’t hear you! Am I understood?

Tween Greek Chorus: (different muttered sporadic responses)

Me: The only acceptable answer is “Sir! Yes sir!”! Am I understood?

Tween Greek Chorus: (loudly) SIR! YES SIR!

Me: (satisfied) That’s what I like to hear.

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.

It’s an adventure!

(scene opens in dinning room, Beta shuffles in)

Me: (looks up from laptop) Good morning! Glad to be back home?

Beta: (groggy) Yes.

Me: Tell me what else you did at Sea Base? I want all the stories.

Beta: Well, we were on that primitive island and you get a chuck box. There’s the ‘Chuck Box Challenge’.

Me: Oh dear. I know where this is going.

Beta: (warming to tale) So, the challenge is that you have to eat everything you packed in. We didn’t have much time left so I look in the box and pull out the maple syrup and chug it.

Me: (starts laughing) Ohmigod. Go tell your father.

Beta: Why?

Me: I think he might be proud of you.

(time passes, cut scene to later, Husband walks into dinning room)

Me: Did Beta tell you about the food challenge?

Husband: Yes. I told him he should have put the maple syrup on something. Like an apple.

Me: Oh yeah? What’d he say?

Husband: Said that’s what Alpha did.

Me: (proud) I love our knuckleheads.

With Love

(scene open in mini-van, everyone dressed for arctic conditions)

Me: Okay, now when we get to the campsite I want you to behave yourself. This is a new troop, don’t overwhelm them.

Gamma: (bouncing with excitement) Okay, mama. When are we going to get there?

Me: We’re here. (turns into camp ground) This is where you’ll be camping for the weekend. It’s going to be super cold, remember to wear all your layers.

Gamma: (moar bouncing) Okay, mama. I can hardly wait to say good bye to you!

Me:

That’s one for the books.

(scene opens in frantic parlor, three out of four spawnlings in scout uniforms.)

Me: Everyone got their shoes on? Uniforms on? Find your coats.

Husband: Gamma. Fix your belt.

(camera cuts to Gamma in Webelo uniform, scout belt all twisted)

Gamma: (struggles with scout belt)

Husband: Did you miss a belt loop?

Me: (aggravated) Here, let me help. This part is…. (hesitates) Gamma? You somehow managed to tuck your pants into your pants.

(everyone pauses, exchanges looks)

Husband: (sighs) I’m getting in the car. Head out when you two are ready.

A little called out there.

(scene opens in cluttered dinning room, merit badge work in progress)

Carrot: (typing around Delta in her lap) Okay, requirement #2b says you have to pick a book of a “best of” list that you think you’d like to read and write it down.

Beta: (unenthused)

Carrot: (after the third list heavy on the “Live, Laugh, Love” bullshit) Wow, its a lot harder than I thought to find something to read.

Beta: Try narrowing it down to just best science-fiction of 2021.

Carrot: Here we go. (starts to scroll, points to the screen) Read that one. Don’t recommend. Oh! I read the first one of this series! (camera cuts to screen, showing Harrow the Ninth)

Beta: (skeptical)

Carrot: Stay with me. It’s got a very Warhammer 40k setting.

Beta: (skeptically interested) …..yeah?

Carrot: And everyone has a different flavor of necromancy.

Beta: (explodes) What is it with you and necromancers!? First its necromancer vampires! Then its necromancer space marines! (waves arms in Muppet flail) Look over there! Necromancer ponies!

Carrot: (loses it completely, laughs copious fat tears into Delta’s moppy blond curls)

Beta: Seriously. What the hell is wrong with you?

Delta (echoing) Yeah mom! What’s wrong with you?

(Carrot laughs until it hurts, fade to black, cut to car commercial)

Going Extinct

(scene opens in church rec room, Cub Scout meeting in progress)

Delta: (whispering) Mom, I need a drink.

Me: (takes him by the hand, leaves the room)

(cut scene to hallway with an archaic drinking fountain mounted to the brick wall)

Delta: (looks at it, looks at Carrot) Do we have a water bottle?

Me: (confused) No. We don’t need a water bottle. Just drink.

Delta: (looks at it, looks at Carrot)

Me: (pushes button, leans forward, slurps up the arc of water) See?

Delta: (delightedly steps up and drinks enough water to drown an elephant) Mom! That was fun! I’ve never drank water like that!

Me: How have you never used a drinking fountain before?

Delta: School only has places to fill bottles. (runs back to rec room)

Me: (dies a little)

Back to Normal

(scene opens in laundry room, Carrot knee-deep in clothing)

Me: (pulled laundry out of drier, makes face, pulls out “clean” sock and sniffs it, more ugly face)

Beta: (enters basement)

Me: Beta! Slither hither? (puts laundry of “clean” clothes on the drier) Did you do this load I just pulled out?

Beta: (moderately sullen) Yeah?

Me: (hands sock to sniff) When your socks come out of the dryer smelling like feet, it means they came out of the washer smelling like feet. Did you use detergent?

Beta: Yeah. I used one of those pods. (points to laundry detergent)

Me: Welp, they need to be done again then.

Beta: (without blinking, holds up scout sash, clearly savaged by a wild animal)

Me: Oh. Huh. Looks like Epsilon missed you while you were gone.

Beta: (sadly) Glad he stopped before he got to the merit badges.

Me: Those could have been replaced too. Put it on my sewing table. I’ll go to the scout shop tomorrow.

Time Capsule

Me: (frazzled in the door of Gamma’s room) Okay, for the last time, pick up all. the. books and put them on. the. shelf. There are twelves books on the floor and it has taken you (checks watch) five hours to avoid picking them up.

Gamma: But it’s boring.

Me: You know what makes it less boring> Putting all the books on the shelf in five minutes or less.

(Beta walks up behind, taps Carrot on shoulder, hands her a bag of scout badges)

Me: (stares dumbfounded) I oughta pinch you. These are Webelo badges.

Beta: Yeah? So?

Me: It means they’ve been sitting in a drawer or under your bed since fifth grade! That’s how long its been since you cleaned where ever you found these!

Beta: Yeah, well, I’m about half way done on the drawers.

Me: (hyperventilating)

Basic Education

(scene opens in cluttered kitchen, Carrot helping Beta prep lunch)

Husband: Where’s the Vaseline?

Me: Metal cabinet? What do you need it for?

Husband: (holds up gauze square and Vaseline) Gamma hasn’t learned firestarting.

Me: Yes she has. (thinks) Okay, she might have memory lapse from that long ago. Dog memory.

Husband: No worries. We’re going to go firestarting. (heads out back door)

Me: (calls after) Twisted firestarting?

Husband: (shouts back) Maybe!

Beta: (stares in WTF)

Me: I’m a firestarter? Twisted firestarter? No? (sigh, grabs laptop) Hang on.

Beta: (watches required video in skeptical silence) Yeah. Sure. Okay. I’m gonna go make pizza now….

Me: You break my heart, Beta.

Hand Me Downs

(scene opens up in dim kitchen, soggy Boy Scouts dragging in)

Husband: (sitting on stool, prying off boots) Beta? Did you take the tent to the garage?

Beta: (tiredly) Yeah.

Me: (studies offspring) Beta, I have to get you a new uniform shirt, you’re about to pop buttons off of that, give it to me.

Beta: No mom. It’s fine. (unbuttons uniform anyway, hands it over)

Husband: Take the patches off and burn it. I doubt he’s washed it recently.

Me: I can wash it. (yells out) Gamma! Slither hither!

Husband: No.

(Gamma comes tearing in, Carrot hands over the scout shirt)

Gamma: (puts it on, only slightly oversized, starts flail-dancing)

Husband: Wow. That almost fits.

Gamma: (singing) We’re all growing up and I don’t like it. (runs from the room)

Husband: What the…

Me: That’s been my weekend. I’ll wash the shirt.