Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: SKULDUGGERY (09/01/16)
TITLE: Double Trouble
By Holly Westefeld
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A clatter from the kitchen startles me awake, and I hit the floor running. I nearly smash in to the bedroom door, which I know I left open.
Greta and Gretchen are surrounded by multi-color bowls and tumblers.
"What are you doing?"
"We're getting breakfast," Greta informs me, placing two bowls and tumblers on the table.
I pick up the rest and return them to the cabinet. "If I'm not up, I need you to come tell me good morning when you get up, and I will help you with breakfast." I pour cereal and milk in their bowls, while Greta gets spoons.
"We did, but you were snoring."
"Would either of you like some scrambled eggs?"
"No thank you," they respond in unison.
After breakfast, we get dressed and head to the grocery store. I usually ask my neighbor Kim to come over while I shop, but she isn't available, and I need a few ingredients for the cake I am taking to our ladies' Bible study tonight, and something for dinner. I secure Gretchen in the basket, and make sure I don't get it too close to shelves, but each time I turn to compare prices, or look down at an ingredient list, I must return something to the shelf that Greta has added to the cart.
On the way home Gretchen wheedles, "Can we go to the park?"
"I'm sorry, sweetie. Mommy has some baking to do. How about a movie?"
"I want to go to the park!"
"We'll go tomorrow. You may play in the backyard."
Gretchen starts kicking the seat in front of her. "I want to go today!"
"If you don't settle down, we won't go tomorrow either."
She stops kicking the seat, but whines the rest of the way home.
"Do you want to watch a movie, or play outside while I am busy in the kitchen?"
Greta and Gretchen confer in whispers. "We'll watch Cinderella," Greta announces. I start the DVD and head for the kitchen.
The volume creeps up while I measure ingredients. "Please turn that down." Nothing changes. I stick my head out of the kitchen. "Please turn that down." Nothing happens.
I finish mixing quickly, pour the batter in the pan, put it in the oven, and wash my hands. I march to the family room to turn it down myself, but it is empty. I stop the DVD and call, "Greta? Gretchen?" No response. I sigh. Not another impromptu game of hide and seek. I check each room and closet carefully. They are not in the backyard. Just as I gasp with the realization that I forgot to fasten the hook high on the front door, the phone rings. "Hello?"
"Jenny, this is Pam. I am at the park with Greta and Gretchen."
"Oh, thank God! I'll be right there."
I am so grateful that it is so close, and with little traffic this time of day. I hug them both, and am too relieved to give them more than a mild scolding on the way home, carefully securing the door.
After lunch, I tuck Gretchen in for a nap, and settle Greta in her room with her favorite book. While frosting the cake, I call Jason. "Just checking that you'll be home in time for me to get to Bible study."
"I will. It may be close, but I'll be there."
Cake frosted, I dash for a quick shower. All is still quiet as I dry off, but Greta is not in her room. Neither is Gretchen. I find them quickly, in the kitchen, licking frosting off their fingers, an ugly chunk missing from my lovely cake. Patience, patience. I set the cake on the counter, get their hands washed, and shoe them off to watch the movie again. I guess the cake is just going to have to be pre-sliced.
Greta and Gretchen are eating dinner when Jason arrives in the nick of time. I give him a quick kiss, grab what's left of the cake, and dash out the door, with a promise to fill him in on the day later.
I slip back in quietly, and find Jason reading in his favorite recliner. "They're asleep?"
I tiptoe to go see for myself, return, and relay the day's frustrations. "I expect shenanigans like this from Gretchen, but what in the world are we to do about your mom's skulduggery?"
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