“It's not fair! You get to do everything and I can't even go to the movies.” Jenna flopped onto her unmade bed.
“I'm also two years older than you.” Kayleigh leaned against the door jamb, surveying the mess.
“Yeah, but you went to the movies all the time when you were my age.”
“Yeah, and my room didn't ever look like this, either.”
“I don't see what the big deal is,” Jenna whined as she looked around. “I'm not a neat-freak like you are. Who cares?”
“It's not about being a neat-freak; and obviously Mom and Dad care, otherwise you'd be at the movies now and not here, whining.”
Jenna glared at her sister. “I'm not whining.”
Kayleigh flipped long hair over her shoulder. “Whatever.” She gingerly walked to the clothes hamper near the closet and peered into it. “There's dirty clothes all over the floor and none in here. Wouldn't it be just as easy to toss 'em in the hamper as it is to drop 'em? That's not being a neat-freak; that's being a short cut freak.”
Jenna scooped up a handful of clothes and pitched them toward the empty hamper. “There's no such thing,” she muttered as all but one thing fell short of its mark.
“Sure there is. You're the queen of short cuts, so you ought to know.” Kayleigh picked her way back to the door.
“Short cuts, pork butts. I can have this done in nothing flat and still make it to the movies,” Jenna declared, rising from her bed.
Kayleigh snickered as she stepped into the hall, almost running into her mom who rolled her eyes and shook her head at Jenna before padding off to the kitchen.
A little later Jenna trotted into the kitchen. “My room's clean. Can I go now?”
Her mom frowned as she looked up from the cookbook. “At the beginning of the week we told you that you could go if you kept your room neat...”
“Yes! Thanks, Mom.”
“Not so fast, Jenna. Your room's been a mess all week; in fact, it was completely trashed just 15 minutes ago.”
“But it's clean now,” she sing-songed.
“Well, good. Let's go check it and we'll see if it's done right.”
“But what about the movie?” Jenna asked hopefully.
“You lost your chance at a movie by not keeping your room clean throughout the week. We'll see if you get to do anything else this weekend or not.”
The hopeful smile slipped away as Jenna followed her mother. When her mom dropped to her knees and reached under the bed Jenna grimaced. Soon there was a mound in the middle of the floor. Next her mom went to the closet and cautiously reached for the door while looking at Jenna, her eyebrow raised in question.
“Uh, Mom, why don't I finish and let you know when it's done?”
“You already had a chance to do that. It seems you need some help, so I'll give you a hand.”
Sinking onto the bed Jenna groaned when her carefully constructed pile toppled out. Soon the closet was empty except for the clothes that hung neatly in place, and the bedroom floor was littered with several weeks' worth of concealed debris.
“There. Doesn't that look better?” her mom said as she surveyed the closet.
Jenna smiled weakly. “I get the idea, Mom...” Before she could get any further, her top dresser drawer was sliding open.
“Oh, my,” Mom sighed. “I was afraid of this.”
With her mouth hanging open, Jenna watched as her mom set aside the folded clothes, then pulled out drawer after drawer and emptied them over the collection on the floor.
Wiping her hands on her jeans, Jenna's mom looked around. “Well, that about covers it, don't you think?” Her eyebrow was up again as she studied her daughter.
“Short cuts are great things, Jenna—when you use the right ones. Otherwise they truly are pork butts—the kind that walk on four feet.”
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