[Originally published March 19, 2004]
"The hormonal tide that leads, ultimately, to coffee"
Yes, there's lots of hard-boiled action on the means streets of America's Worst Mother® (registered trademark of TBOGG, P.I.) today, as Meghan out-Chandlers Chandler with the Fever Swamp column entitled The Big Sleeps. But it's a great day to be alive, for from this noir for numbskulls, Tbogg has created I, The Mummy, the definitive story of a treacherous dame with gams that just won't stop until they kick somebody. You should just savor it for a while. But when you're done, here's . .. the REST of the story.
The cowardly appeasement of the Spanish, and rain, cause Meghan to wonder What Sort of World the children are growing up in, and if it might not be better to just kill young TiVo, Larva, Oceania, and Euthanasia for the insurance money.
Larva happens to catch a glimpse of the front page of the Washington Post while in the outhouse, and immediately assumes that a bundle of clothes in a photo is a dead baby. You know, based on his experience ...
But Meghan assures him that it's not a baby, because the man has a cell phone.
Paris' face clears instantly. "Phew. Can I have porridge and toast for breakfast?""You may have anything you like," I say. There's nothing like a terrorist bombing to make a mother feel indulgent.
And so, in honor of terrorism, the lucky Gurdon children get both gruel AND bread crusts for breakfast. Well, not just because train bombings always make Meghan feel the love, but also because she's relieved that Larva is so gullible that he'll believe that people who own cell phones never have dead children. Meghan figures that since he knows SHE has a cell phone, he won't suspect a thing when Double Indemnity time arrives.
Eldest daughter TiVo comes downstairs, much the worse for wear after an all-night bender. She doesn't want any gruel and bread crusts, which delights Larva, because it means there's all the more for him. The two youngest girls creepily speak in unison, a new trick they picked up from the Children of the Damned, their friends from down the block.
TiVo's extreme fatigue, loss of appetite, sudden unsociability, and lack of attention to personal hygiene don't worry Meghan at all. So what if TiVo is a junkie -- the kids are all going to be killed by terrorists anyway, thanks to the cowardly Spaniards, so the child might as well have some fun first.
Meghan, still bitter after having spent literally HOURS of her precious time putting together place cards for a party that teachers were allowed to attend (even though they're just the hired help), rails at educators for making strung-out kids get up in the morning. And since kids have to get up in the morning, it means that hung-over mothers also have to get up in the morning and fix gruel, and it's just not fair! Damn it all, if school started at 11:00 or so, then the lazy teachers could sleep in and still get off work before all the people with real jobs. Meghan thinks about making Hugo do an editorial to that effect for The Hill, then remembers that he hasn't been speaking to her ever since she packed his briefcase not with cheese sandwiches and clean underwear like he'd asked her for, but with plutonium (as recounted in Meghan's column from a couple week's back, "Kiss Me, DoodyHead").
But Meghan is still cheesed at the school for forcing her to get up before noon. And also because teachers have boyfriends who love them and go to Gala Dinners with them to request "Lady in Red," while she has to raise three or four children all alone. So, she reasons, they probably wouldn't appreciate her brilliant idea for running schools on Meghan time -- the bastards!
But perhaps I am wrong about the amiability of educators, for as a bunch they seem to get flintier and more tough-lovey by the year. First they came for the arts and music programs, and I said nothing. Then they came or recess, and I said nothing. Now they are coming for afternoon naps, and a least the Washington Post has something to say about it.
And when the Child Welfare people came for Oceania and Euthanasia, Meghan said nothing either, because frankly, she needed a nap, and it was much more peaceful without the little brats. But then the state gave them back, and they've never been the same since, always whining for milk and meat and stuff. Where was the Washington Post then???
Meghan then muses about the sad life of a preschool student who isn't allowed to nap.
Denied a snooze, the poor little wretches will spend an extra 45 minutes a day yawning and drooping at their tiny tables, coloring shapes, connecting dots, and navigating mazes.
And the whole thing reminds Meghan so much of her experience of having to make place cards under the watchful eyes of the stern, Germanic PTA Capable Moms while nursing the mother of all hangovers, that it brings a tear to her eye; she decides to drive the kids to school so she can punch out the principal.
Meghan has four kids strapped into the car when TiVo asks about Twitchy. Meghan is back in the house before she remembers that Twitchy is a rabbit, and doesn't have to attend school. She decides to check on the thing anyway -- besides, she recalls have left an emergency bottle of gin in the utility room where the rabbit is stored.
"Bunny...?" I draw closer and pull a bit of hanging twine that clicks on the light. In the cruel glare of a bare bulb, Twitchy is motionless. Perhaps it's only because there's been so much death in the news, but I seem to be seeing the Reaper everywhere I look.
Yes, the terrorist attack in Spain (and the fact that she hasn't fed Twitchy for a week) causes Meghan think that Twitchy might be dead. Damn the news for making Meghan worry about the living creatures in her care!
She guiltily murmurs, "Oh, poor bunny," opens the cage to retrieve his carcass (lapin avec gruel being one of Meghan's special dishes), and then --
Scuffle-pow!Twitchy springs up like a man who hit the snooze button an hour ago and just realized he missed his plane.
And then, his possum act having lured her in, the vicious rabbit goes for Meghan's carotid artery, his thirst for blood only intensified by his long, vampiric coma.
"Bunny, you're alive!" I cry, my eyes prickling with tears of relief.
Relief over the fact that the Goth cross Meghan had been sporting for a couple of days (she can't recall quite where she got it -- maybe at that rave she attended with Gunther) worked to deflect the rabbit's sharp, yellowed teeth. She knocks the bunny back into his cage, loops a silver chain she stole from one of the PTA mothers around the lock, and finds that bottle of gin, the children strapped into the car now completely forgotten.
There's been something very odd about the last week.
Um, yeah. TiVo is addicted to heroin, Larva is in fear for his life, and Oceana and Euthanasia are talking like the creepy twins in The Shining. But that's not the odd stuff Meghan is talking about. She is referring to the Islamofacists again. After all, it's all THEIR fault that school starts so early in the morning.
We just want to get a little rest. Our enemies want us to drop off into the Big Sleep.
Hey, it's ChinaTownHall, Meghan.