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You have one job, and it’s purely aesthetic. (Image credit: Audrey Burges)

You’re out of your jingle-jangling mind if you think I’ll tolerate demands that I “run, run as fast as I can” in my own house, let alone from some Manic Pixie Dream Cookie that just hopped uninvited out of my oven.

It takes a lot of damn nerve to ask ME, a MOM IN DECEMBER, to do ONE MORE THING, unless that thing is “put your feet up and eat these snacks — immobile snacks, as God and the Barefoot Contessa intended — while I wash dishes and fold laundry.”

Who the hell do you think you are? You have…

It’s really cramped in here.

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Let’s make some room to work. (Image credit: Photo by nrd on Unsplash)
  1. Do you know where the trowel is? Or maybe some tongs?
  2. What do you think we’ll find in this box?
  3. Just because we can’t tell how old this is, doesn’t mean it’s not worth keeping.
  4. This growth here…that’s probably fungal. Let’s scrape it off and take a look. What’s underneath may be useful.
  5. With some hot sauce, that could still be edible.
  6. A little-known fact is that most food never really goes bad. It just becomes alcohol.
  7. Shake that off that so we can see what we’re dealing with.
  8. Yes, it’s all very sticky, but…

Three property choices for a forced playdate.

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“How long did your mom say we had to stay outside?” (Image credit: Photo by Max Goncharov on Unsplash)

MADISON (to camera): We’re looking for a princess castle with at least eleventy-hundred rooms, a movie theater, and a bowling alley. And we really need to be close to mud, but not too close.

HOST (voiceover): Madison and Henry are relocating to Henry’s backyard to play nicely — despite their three-year age difference — while their moms, who met in a goat yoga class at a local craft brewery, snark over lattes.

MADISON: The mud’s ‘cuz I’m a grown-up with a grown-up job, which is baking magical cupcakes in this oven that my fairy godmother gave me. Would you like…

We lurch toward Halloween amidst gaping societal wounds.

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I appeal to you now as our neighborhood’s elder statesman of gore. (Image credit: Audrey Burges)

My oozing brethren, I come to you now — as our neighborhood’s elder statesman of gore — to groan the words you should all be thinking, if you have any BRAAAAIIIINNNSSSS…

Ahem. Sorry. As I was saying:

No more unto the breach, dear friends; no more unto the breach. The center cannot hold. Over the years, we’ve graced suburban lawns in an escalating array of factory-extruded terror, but it’s time to accept that it’s become impossible to keep up with the Joneses.

The Joneses see more terror in five minutes on Twitter than they’d see in five hours of trick-or-treating…

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Can’t we just play some Jenga instead? (Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash)

Hot Dog Snake

Open your mouth as wide as it will go. Pick up your hot dog while loudly chanting snakes got no teeth, snakes got no teeth. Use your fingers to shove pre-sliced hot dog segments directly toward your trachea.

You must turn your face blue before another snake tries to steal your hot dog.*

Bite them.

Crystal Princess Goggles

You will need two glasses. Use the wooden stool that has your name on it to reeeeeeeeach into the cabinet in the Room Where We Eat When It’s Special. Retrieve the sparkly glasses that are only out when Grandma comes for dinner. Hold one glass…

I invite you to fill in the blanks.

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“If you’re talking about bedroom stuff…” (Photo by DICSON on Unsplash)

Millicent couldn’t help noticing the embroidered, satin-covered buttons on Raoul’s ornate epaulets, which were on his shoulders, nowhere near his penis. “The fleur de lis,” she gasped. “You are in service to the King.”

“I am,” Raoul purred, like a friendly cat. “And from all that I have heard, so are you. I would much rather you were in service…to me.” …

She’ll probably ask for more coffee…

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We’re starting at WHAT time, now? (Image credit: Daria Nepriakhina, Unsplash)

If you give a mom a virtual school schedule, she’s going to ask for a cup of coffee.

When you give her the coffee — oh, you’re busy? No worries, she’ll get it herself, it’s not like she’s got anything else going on — she’s going to need a bigger mug.

Once she dumps the dirty paintbrush water out of the bigger mug because no one ran the dishwasher last night but it’s fine, really, she’ll open her work calendar.

When she checks her work calendar, she’ll notice that Morning Meeting is scheduled at the same time as Required Staff…

Down in the home instruction site…

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Chromebook screeches one last NOPE (Image credit: Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash)

Down in the home instruction site Remote school tools work hard all night To change some passwords, write new code, To make the classroom fail to load! The sun has set, the work is done; (By “done,” we mean not yet begun, So much as hurled at someone’s head. But that’s just details.) Time for bed! No need to put the stuff away — Tomorrow’s one more endless day. Working hard to crush your hopes, Chromebook screeches one last nope. Beeping, buzzing, soon to die, He’ll flash a blue screen at your eye, Then shut right down and shoot out…

As a brassica, I must tell you the truth, however uncomfortable.

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I don’t belong in a jar. (Photo credit: Audrey Burges)

It’s time to accept that defeat smells like decaying brassica.

When you cored me out a few weeks ago and plunked me in front of this kitchen window, I thought you had ambition. Moxie, even. Where others might see garbage — just a cabbage core sawed with a rusty butter knife — you saw an opportunity. You had a window box full of soil, a smelly lump of plant matter, and a dream.

You know that saying about eyes being the windows to the soul? Your apartment’s eyes need a good cleaning. …

Just a buoyant globe of non-terrifying joy

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Photo by Hybrid on Unsplash

Welcome, innocent store visitor! I’m so glad to see you. I’m glad to see you the same way that an anglerfish is glad to see a clownfish who’s trying to find his lost son. Oh, sure, that was the scariest part of Finding Nemo, but don’t worry. I’m just a balloon! A harmless, free balloon.

Management knows that there are lots of places to get spackle and duct tape, but you chose this one. I’m a gesture of gratitude, and nothing more.

The guy holding me only sees you smiling, and nodding, and steering your child by the shoulder. But…

Audrey Burges

Audrey’s work can be read in McSweeney’s, Human Parts, The Belladonna, Slackjaw, Points in Case, and other places. Twitter: @audrey_burges;

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