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Friday, August 20, 2004
All work and no play makes Mummy America's Worst Mother
A struggling writer battling inner demons...trapped by weather at a remote house in Maine...children with vivid imaginations...a boring and steadfast spouse.
Where have I read this before?
Yes. It's REDRUM time for America's Worst Mother as Meghan, Mr. Meghan, and the kids (JeJune, Zoloft, Mimsy, and Cleopatra Jones) are joined by cousins Ipecac and Fungo during their vacation idyll...or should I say: homicidyll? (Cue creepy music and sterile/bleached-out Stanley Kubrick cinematography...)
It is a drizzly August morning in Maine, and with two extra children tucked into our small cottage, bringing the number of ankle-biters to six, it is what you might, wearing rose-colored glasses, call a cozy scene. Logs are crackling in the fireplace, children are perched on half-a-dozen surfaces,
(Cut to iron fireplace poker with it's sharpened hook)
and the floor is strewn with the early-morning detritus of a major Lego game.
(Cut to Lego Transamerica building and simple lego laying on the floor...and you know how much those hurt when you step on them)
As it happens, I am wearing rose-colored glasses. There is nothing so nice as being liberated from the to-do list of ordinary life, even if one is confined to quarters while it rains.
(Cut to first person view through rose-colored glasses making the room look....bloody)
"Two points," says my husband, clicking down a domino. "Your turn."
(Cut to two people who haven't had sex in weeks)
Outside, Lake St. George is caped in thick mist. This month we've had nothing like the ferocious storms people have endured farther down the Atlantic coast, but each Charley and Bonnie and Danielle has nonetheless brought rain in its wake and the cottage has been socked in for days. The lawn is a mushroom factory.
(Cut to shot in kitchen of simmering pot on stove, full of beef bourguignon...and poisonous mushrooms)
When the sky does clear, and we all pile out, the mosquitoes immediately launch strafing runs down the picnic table. Yet miraculously not once has anyonecomplained or asked, "Now what can we do?" For with the rain have come waves of cousins and aunts and uncles, and almost every meal has been of the jolly loaves-and-fishes variety.
(Cut to shot of relatives stopping down the road, so hungry they'd even eat at Arbys)
Phoebe tucks in beside me, her soft fingers stroking my skin. "I love your arms," she says. Once she told a grandmother, "I love your face," with similar tender caresses and that person promptly melted on the floor, like the tiger running around the tree in the old story.
(Flashback to "acid bath in the face" scene followed by cemetery scene, and the reading of the will)
It's my turn again, meanwhile, and I think I can just about pull off a —
"Three points! I'm out, you're toast," I cry, in an excess of bad sportsmanship, jumping up to do a victory dance. "I did it, I did it, oh yeah, yeah, yeah."
(Foreshadowing of burning bed scene...pg 149)
The boys are back. "We ran out of gas, but I brought a rocket skateboard and you brought rocket shoes and we're almost in the Himalayas," Paris tells his cousin.
(Faulty gas tank...large Michael Bay-like explosion)
The screen door slams
That's not what I mean." There is a pause, broken only by the quiet snapping of the fire.
I laugh a little scornfully. "But you did it for yourself!"
At that moment, panic suddenly strikes the top of Mt. Everest, and the boys begin roaring and spitting into their transmitters or cell-phones or whatever they are. Paris only has time to gasp, "And then we started falling!" before the two of them cry, "Aaaagh!" and fall, like mountaineers dying in slow motion, off the sofa.
(...and onto the Lego Transamerica building forshadowed in scene four)
"By the way," says my husband, coming out of the kitchen with a fresh cup of coffee, "it's supposed to rain again tomorrow."
(Cue zither music...and fade to black)