There they were. Curled into a smile, or was that a snarl? Tarnished whiteness glaring against the rich carpet. Kit scooped up the offending socks and threw them into her overflowing basket. She continued her search and destroy mission on her way to the laundry room.
“We need an entire police force just for sock patrol around here.” Tippy stirred at the sound of Kit’s voice and stretched his feline shape draped over the back of the couch.
A police force, indeed! “I AM the police.” Tippy’s one-eyed stare in her direction showed his displeasure at the interruption of his nap. Kit winked back at the cat. “Just you wait, Tippy.”
With the first load of laundry agitating, Kit started putting her plan into action. Three years with the police force had made her quite familiar with citation forms. Her seven year absence since the birth of her daughter made little difference. Duplicating the forms to suit her purpose was a piece of cake.
Presenting her plan to the family, however, was just the opposite. Dillon rolled his eyes when he saw the bright orange tickets. “Honey, you need to get out of the house more.”
“Exactly,” Kit leveled his stare with her own. “I’ve spent too much time doing everyone else’s job around here. This is OUR home and WE are going to keep it up TOGETHER.”
Kit’s citations ran out the first week. She paused outside of her daughter’s room just before knocking on the closed door to dole out the punishment. Whispered voices drifted under the door. Maggie let Josh in her room? The whispers haulted at the first knock. Scuffling sounds were heard before Maggie opened the door a crack.
“Hi, mom!” Maggie’s eager smile matched her overly bright voice. Kit raised an eyebrow and tilted her head.
“Everything okay in here? I thought I heard your brother.”
“Hi, mom.” Josh’s bright greeting from behind Maggie convinced Kit that something was a foot.
“Ah, you two are needed in the laundry room, pronto!”
It had to be her imagination, but Kit could have sworn her kids had just complied without so much as a roll of the eyes. Was that really Josh digging in the sock basket? Was Maggie really folding socks as if it were her favorite thing to do on a Saturday morning? I really do need to get out of this house.
That afternoon, the odd behavior seemed to be spreading. Dillon handed Kit a frilly bag with pearly tissue paper peaking out.
“Thought you might like a little pampering.” He shrugged his shoulders and left the room, socks in hand. Inside the bag was a new bath scrubbie, scented bubble bath, and the latest novel in the series Kit had been reading. With mouth dropped open she glanced at the clock. Was it a sin to take a bath at 4:30 in the afternoon?
Scented bubbles tickled her chin and hot water eased tension away. Kit giggled. It didn’t matter what was up with her family. She was enjoying her little hot tub haven.
With a shiver she woke and grabbed her watch. “Six o’clock!” She hopped out of the tub careful not to drip on the book abandoned beside it. I hope there’s a frozen pizza somewhere in that freezer. She toweled dry and grabbed her clothes. The doorbell chimed just as she finished.
“Excuse me, Ma’am. It appears you are in violation of code 4973 – sock control.” Now Kit knew the bath had been a set-up. Bernie, her old partner, was doing all he could to keep a straight face, but his twitching mustache just couldn’t be hidden. They both burst out laughing and Kit wiped away tears as she took in the bright pink Valentine socks paired with green Christmas ones adorning the bush beside the porch. Her St. Patrick’s Day and Easter socks adorned the other bush. Red, white, and blue socks sprouted from the apple tree and the rose bush showcased perfect black sock roses.
“Gotcha!” Kit turned around and gave her family a hug. Dillon kissed her and smiled.
“We’re sorry it took the Sock Police to show us how little we pitch in around here. We’re resolved to do our part, right kids?”
“Yup!” They cheered in unison. “Now can we have pizza?” Kit’s stomach rumbled against Josh’s head still resting against her in a hug. Through tears of laughter they bid Bernie good-bye and headed off for some more family fun.
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