“Mom! Mom! Mom!”
I put the bags of groceries on the kitchen floor. “What’s the matter, Carl?”
“Dave turned into a chicken again!”
I sighed. “Didn’t I tell you boys not to fight?”
“He started it. The Sappy Slappity Silly Sally Cartoon Hour Show was on and he wouldn’t let me watch it and he stole the remote and he tried to watch his stupid Barbeque Masters show, which is the stupidest show ever. The Sappy Slappity Silly Sally Cartoon Hour Show beats up Barbeque Masters and eats it for breakfast with lasagna and noodles and ice cream and—”
“Okay, Carl. Calm down. Where is your brother right now?”
“I got so mad at him I turned into a great big dog and I started barking at him like this RAUFF! RAUFF! RAUFF! and he stuffed the remote into his mouth and turned into a chicken and flew up into the lights and I can’t get the remote from him and it’s not fair because the stupid barbeque show is still on and he keeps turning the volume up and—”
“Carl. Calm down. I’ll take care of this. Okay?”
“But it’s not fair! It’s mean and it’s cheating! He knows I can’t turn into a bird too and he does it every time and he sits up in the lights and he laughs and he laughs at me.” His face crinkled up like he was either going to cry or turn into a dog again.
I kissed the top of his head, which calmed him down as usual. “I know how he is. Go to your room and color. I’ll take care of your brother. Okay?”
His little face brightened up. “Can we have cake and ice cream and lasagna for supper tonight?”
I ran a mental inventory of our lasagna supplies. “Yes, but you need to stay away from your brother for the rest of the day. Okay?”
“Okay!” He ran upstairs.
I walked into the living room.
On the tv, an anime character with long blonde hair clasped the sides of her face in an exaggerated fashion and wailed, “Oh, no! Tsukino-kun has acquired a new barbequing skill!”
A teenaged boy with spiky blue hair twirled his barbeque tongs faster. “I told you: Don’t call me Tsukino-kun. I AM TSUKINO-CHAAAAAAN!”
A frizzy headed chicken on our sofa threw its head back and chortled, “Bawk! Bawk! Bawk!”
“AND I AM GOING TO KICK YOUR—”
I walked over to the tv and shut it off.
“Baawwwk!” The chicken transformed back into my oldest son. “Mooom! I’ve been looking forward to this episode.”
“I don’t care. I told you two not to fight with your brother when I am not home.”
“But Tsukino is about to—”
I reclaimed the remote. “I don’t care what Tsukino is about to do. No fighting when I am not home.”
“But, Mooom! Carl turned into a dog. A dumb, stinky dog. And he kept barking when I was trying to watch my show.”
“That’s no excuse. Go empty the groceries.”
“It’s not fair. You always side with him.”
“I’m not siding with anyone. Groceries. Empty. Now. And no tv for the rest of the day.”
Dave slumped his way to the kitchen all the while grumbling about life’s unfairness.
“Boys.” I transformed into a Himalayan cat, jumped up on the couch, and fell asleep.