Beatrice the Dictator surveyed her troops. Looking up and down their ragged line, she wasn’t sure at all that they were prepared to carry out the day’s duties. She tried to organize in her mind who was suited best for each task.
Harry was a tornado of energy. Although he was fully two years younger than Beatrice the Dictator, making him only four years old, he was actually quite productive – when he set his mind to it. Beatrice just had to figure out how to channel this energy into something useful. Her right hand resting on her hip, biting her lower lip, Beatrice the Dictator poured over her options. Finally she had it!
“Harry”, she thundered, “go to the arts and crafts box and dig out the glitter. I need that stuff spread out all over the living room. You’ll have to jump from the sofa to the loveseat, over to the recliner and back to the sofa again, throwing glitter up into the air the entire time, but, if successful, we will have a thick layer of the stuff all over the floor by the time you’re done. It won’t be easy, but I believe in you! Are you ready?”
“Yaay! Glitter!” Harry responded throwing his hands up into the air and doing a little dance in a circle around Beatrice the Dictator. “Can I go now, Bea? Can I? Can I?”
“It’s Beatrice the Dictator! How many times do I have to tell you guys!?!”
“I’m sorry, Bea. Can I go get the glitter now?”
A hot blast of frustrated air escaped her lips, and Beatrice the Dictator waved Harry off in the direction of the arts and crafts room.
Thinking, she turned back to the remaining members of her army of volunteers. Well, pretty much volunteers. She had only had to twist one arm and sit on the other two to gain one hundred percent participation.
Jimmy and Johnny, the twins, were next on her list. Being two years old meant they were short, slow and not very careful; but there were two of them and they always did everything together, so that was almost as good as a four year old (Beatrice the Dictator still only counted them as two years old, even though they were actually closer to three).
“Jimmy, Johnny? I have just the thing for you two.” Quickly she gestured for them to gather round her in an impromptu huddle. “We will be playing Candyland later”, she began.
“But we don’t have Candyland no more!” cried Johnny.
“Yeah, cause you fed it to the sink!” Jimmy accused his brother.
Beatrice the Dictator stepped in between the two combatants to make peace.
“You did too, Johnny! I saw you tear it up and put it in the disposal!” was her opening negotiation.
“Because Jimmy was cheating!”
“Was not!” Jimmy defended his honor.
Again Beatrice the Dictator had to play the peacemaker.
“You cheated Jimmy, and you know it!”
“How do you know? You weren’t there!”
“You always cheat”, she answered nonchalantly.
Suddenly a raspberry tongue popped out of Johnny’s mouth.
“Pfffft!” he shot at Jimmy.
“Pfffffttt!!” Jimmy shot right back.
“Ppfffftttt!!!” The two of them shot at each other.
Beatrice the Dictator, from her spot between them, was getting soaked; so she put into motion her final negotiation maneuver – dual headlocks. After they stopped squirming and squeaked out a pair of “uncles” from beneath her armpits, she let them go and sat them down to patiently explain what she needed from them.
“Now, I know we don’t have the game anymore. But you both played it all the time and I’m sure you remember enough to draw our own Candyland game, right?” Twin heads nodded happily. “Good. Go to the school closet and get out the giant markers. I want you to draw the game on the living room floor.”
“But won’t we get in trouble for drawling on the carpet?” Johnny asked wisely.
“Nope,” Beatrice the Dictator reassured her little brother. “Mom just got a new shampooer thingy last week. She’s dying to use it.” With shouts of joy, the two boys jumped up and ran off to the school supply closet.
Beatrice the Dictator watched from the doorway as her troops carried out their orders. Boy, was Mom going to be mad at them. Her eyes flashed and a tiny smile worked it’s way across her face. It was good to have a purpose in life.
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