No More Picking Up Other People’s Shit

(This is the full version of my Friday Fiction story: Eau De Teenager’s Bedroom)

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No More Picking Up Other People’s Shit


JANUARY

Ellen pins her resolution to the notice-board: No more picking up other people’s shit.

‘Mummy swore!’ says her youngest, Lucy.

‘Challenge accepted,’ says her eldest, Danny.

 

FEBRUARY

A ripe pungency escapes from Danny’s room.

‘What’s that smell?’ asks Lucy.

‘Smell?’ says Ellen, adjusting the clothes-peg on her nose.

 

MARCH

Danny’s room disappears under magazines, washing, junk. He’s hunting for candles.

‘What for?’ asks Ellen.

‘Can’t find the light switch,’ says Danny. ‘Or the window.’

 

APRIL

‘I give up,’ Ellen adjusts her gas mask. ‘I’m coming in!’

Danny calls down the stairs, ‘Lucy, you owe me a fiver!’

 

MAY

Danny gloats.

Ellen glowers.

In her son, Ellen sees a young man who understands the meaning of the term ‘woman’s work’ and it makes her sick.

 

JUNE

Ellen pins her mid-year resolution to the notice-board: Everyone does chores.

Danny gets the dishes. He stomps. Lucy gets the hoovering. She cries.

‘But Mummy,’ she says. ‘I like hoovering and washing-up, why do I have to choose?’

In her daughter, Ellen sees a young girl who understands the meaning of the term ‘woman’s work’ and it makes her sick.

 

JULY

Danny washes up each night without complaint. He’s quick too. Ellen is pleased and celebrates with a fish and chip supper. She asks Lucy to fetch the plates.

There are no plates in the cupboard. There are no plates in the sink. Where are the plates?

Danny!

 

AUGUST

Ellen buys a new dinner set and stands over Danny while he washes up each night. Sometimes they talk.

Lucy no longer complains about not being allowed to clean and is playing in her room.

Progress, thinks Ellen.

(Lucy is secretly cleaning the bathroom, but we’ll let Ellen have her fantasy a little longer).

 

SEPTEMBER

It’s Danny’s seventeenth birthday! He wants a car, a computer and a personal maid.

Ellen wants to hit him on the head with a salami. She doesn’t though. She buys him a birthday cake, ten driving lessons and a pair of rubber gloves.

Lucy eyes the gloves jealously.

 

OCTOBER

Ellen steps up the ante. She shows Danny how to use the washing machine.

Danny actually shows an interest. Possibly because of the knobs, dials and flashing lights.

Lucy wants to clean the bathroom as part of her chores. Ellen agrees, it’s an easy job as the bathroom never seems to get particularly dirty.

 

NOVEMBER

Danny is thriving in his dual role of chief washer-upper and chief launderer.

(There was a Red Sock Incident early on, but Danny says pink is ‘in’.)

Ellen is looking forward to Christmas with her well-rounded, fully-functioning children.

 

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DECEMBER

Ellen walks in on Lucy surreptitiously polishing the silver.

‘Would you look at that shine, mum!’ she says.

Ellen walks out.

Danny has an announcement.

‘I’m leaving college and opening a laundrette,’ he says.

There will be no brandy in the brandy butter this Christmas. It’s all in Ellen instead.

She pins a notice to the notice-board.

Buy more brandy, it says. And stop making bloody resolutions.

 

 

 

 

 

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16 thoughts on “No More Picking Up Other People’s Shit

  1. Pingback: Friday Fiction: Eau De Teenager’s Bedroom | EL Appleby: Short Stories

  2. El, That was great, hilarious. and well written. XD Oddly enough, our son turned out the be the cleaning enthusiast. He told me that his wife is a “very” clean person. That’s probably one of the things they have in common. 😀 —Susan

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    • Thanks Susan.
      i can’t profess to be a very clean person, and have brought my children up to be just like me – sadly no Lucys in our house! thanks for your lovely comments.

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  3. That was great, thanks for posting the “author’s extended cut”!
    There’s nothing like flashing lights and such to get a guy interested in something 🙂

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  4. “Lucy eyes the gloves jealously.” what a weird little girl. i seriously hope i don’t end up having a kid like that or….
    that was so funny 🙂 i’m so glad that you made a longer version. 🙂

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    • Thanks for taking the time to read my silly tale. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’d also be very disappointed to have a child like Lucy, thankfully I have a pair of lazy, housework-shy teenagers instead! Hmmm, maybe a Lucy wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all 🙂

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  5. HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! This was even BETTER! And SO enjoyable, too!

    What I liked about it was that the characters of Danny and Lucy were more developed and contrasted against each other with Mum Ellen in the apex role. The running gags are great (May and June)! April was better than what you posted on FF, although I liked it on FF. I’m still wondering myself over the plates disappearing. 😀 The real secret of humor is truth and you told it WONDERFULLY.

    Listen, I might just hit you up for permission one of these days to make a short video out of this, with narration and everything. Is that OK? It’s just in the thought stage now. Good story!!!

    I gotta go clean the bathroom now …

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    • Hi Kent
      Thanks so much for your lovely comments, and of course, I’d love you to make a video of this 😀
      You’re right about the truth aspect – Lucy is partly based on a real person, not my own daughter, but the daughter of someone from a long time ago. The mother was a high-powered business woman in a very senior position, the daughter begged to be allowed to vacuum and wore pink fairy outfits! The mother couldn’t work it out, she’d have been less surprised if she’d given birth to an alien.
      anyway, I’m thrilled you enjoyed it, I really enjoyed writing it. I knew the original story hadn’t quite worked, and when Doug said he wanted to know what her next resolution was, it set my brain a-whirring!
      Talk soon
      🙂

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  6. I love your story! It’s hilarious and I like the longer version, but, where are the plates? I’m kidding – I don’t care but Boy Wonder knows what happened to them. This is so funny and I can remember placing ultimatums on the fridge, but nothing ever happened. I would write notes and leave under the clothes on the floor in the boys rooms with the date, and then later, I would update the note. The boys did think that was funny. They did the same to the candy drawer in the kitchen. Funny stuff. You did good! Nan 🙂

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  7. Poor Ellen. No matter how hard parents try, children will find their own way. I imagine Danny is going to make quite an impact on the launderette industry and wonder if he and Lucy should go into partnership with her offering a top to toe house cleaning service while Danny washes clothes and soft furnishings? Thank you for taking us through Ellen’s year. Fantastic read.

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    • Thank you and thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my other little stories. I’m a bit crap at replying at the moment but really appreciate it.

      Like

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