Good Clean Fun

(scene opens in chaos filled parlor, video game war in progress)

Me: That’s it. (turns off Xbox, picks up remote) We’re going to watch something fun.

(collective groan from four children)

Me: Here. We’re going to watch the 2019 Marblelympics.

(silence as marble filled lego stands comes on the screen)

Alpha: (full of teen angst) What in fresh hell is this?

Gamma: I’m Green Ducks!

Delta: I’m Savage Speeders!

Beta: (scowls at the tv) This is cancer.

Husband: (rushes in) Who’s winning, did I miss anything?

Me: No, they just lit the torch.

Husband: This is very exciting. I hope Oceanics does well this year.

Alpha: That’s it, I’m going for a walk.

Mercenary

(scene opens in dim cluttered parlor)

Me: Got your ID? Have a good day. Or try to, anyway. And find about about Cross Country.

Beta: (dismissively) I don’t want to do Cross Country.

Me: (surprised) I thought you were going to run this year?

Beta: Yeah, dad said if I ran this year, I could have a cell phone. But what he’s actually going to do is get Alpha a new one and I’d get his old one. What Alpha ever done for me? He doesn’t even like hanging out with me. (acidly) Why should I help him get a new phone?

Me: (bemused) He’s not getting a new phone, its a second-hand phone.

Beta: (sassy) Yeah, and then mine is third-hand. Again, why should I help him?

Me: So…no phone is better than a third hand phone?

Beta: (nose in the air) Exactly. (sails out, stage right)

Know your limitations

(scene opens in tossed kitchen, two parents, dressed for cold, enter from two different doors)

Husband: (looks wife up and down in question)
Me: (towing smalls, removing coats) Parent Track meeting. Ended up being earlier than I thought.
Beta: (enter from third door, panicked, waving arms) Where have you been! No one was home! I was worried! (throws himself into mother’s arms)
Me: (amusedly perplexed) I’m sorry, honey. I would have left a note, but I didn’t think of it. I thought you’d come in, see no one was here and make yourself a snack and play video games.
Beta: (hotly) I didn’t know where anyone was! I had to be responsible!
Me: But you only had to look after yourself.
Beta: Exactly! I can’t take care of myself! You know this! How could you do this to me? (stomps off to the basement)

Time, Time, Time

(scene opens in dim dinning room)

Alpha: (comes in foyer, shedding snow)
Me: (concerned) What are you doing home? Did they cancel track?
Alpha: No, I have homework.
Me: (appalled) ….you ditched track to do homework? You’ve missed all of last week’s practice already! How much do you have?
Alpha: I have to finish the late worksheet.
Me: That’s it? (temper rises) How long do you think that’s going to take you?
Alpha: (hesitantly) All night?
Me: You actually have no clue how much homework you have on any given night, which is amazing since you never bring homework home.
Alpha: (defensively sullen) I didn’t think I could run if I had homework.
Me: (shakes fists at the sky, shrieking) School. Practice. Homework. Dinner. Bed. There is time for all things under heaven! What kind of life do you think you’re going to live where you can clear your entire calendar for twenty minutes worth of work?
Alpha: (tearfully sullen) A life on the streets.
Me: (collects with difficulty) Even street people have a schedule in an effort to survive. Thank you for making homework a priority.

(Alpha exits, Mother screams silently and tears out hair)