My ironing basket is overflowing with wrinkled clothes. My car sputters and shudders for want of a service schedule. My personal organiser sports more red flags than a government no-fly list. So it comes as no surprise that I am late with my MWE submission.
(Last week’s challenge). Write a spectacle. Follow the basic dramatic structure to tell a simple tale. I have chosen to follow the example in Greg’s post and break this down into its elements.
The Protagonist: Enter Mireya, stage right, to applause.
The Antagonist: Enter stage left Mireya’s cousin Kendra, to boos and hisses. Of course it could easily have been Hanae or Asha as well. Mireya is one of four cousins, all girls, all aged three. God help us.
The Grudge: Four girl cousins breed issues like bacteria. There are at least a dozen bubbling away at any particular time. Pick one, any one.
The Scene: A living room, late in the afternoon of a long family weekend. Everybody is run down from a day of doing nothing much at all. At one end gather the women, chattering like starlings over somebody’s Facebook page. At the other end, the men are watching rugby league. Oscillating in between are the girls, shouting, spinning, chasing and generally making every adult feel a decade older than they actually are.
The Rising Action
Reya’s toy of the day has been the Magic Pony, at least until her attention is drawn to the Transformer mask. So she puts the Magic Pony down. No sooner has it touched the table then Kendra grabs it and runs off. This naturally breaks the rule of Persistence of Possession, which reads something like: I may not be using that thing right now, but I claim title until I’ve completely forgotten about it.
Reya of course, is more succinct: “Kendra! That’s MINE!”
Kendra turns her back and starts running the Magic Pony over the folds of the blanket on the floor.
The Climactic Crisis
“Daddy, Kendra took my pony!”
“No she didn’t Reya. You put it down.”
“But it’s MINE!”
I wasn’t about to argue the finer points of ownership with a three-year-old, so I decide to change tack “That’s Ok Reya. You need to share it anyway.”
Mireya thinks that point over and appears to agree. Then she stomps across the room. “KENDRA! You have to SHARE!”
Clearly, Mireya’s idea of sharing differs from mine.
“Reya! Stop right there! Kendra’s using it now. You can play with something else.”
Reya ignores me. She continues to pursue her cousin.
She stops and looks at me. Her lower lip drops. Tears well up. I look to her mother for support, but the women have hunched even closer over the computer, backs to the unfolding conflict. The small smiles from the men betray the fact that they’re glad it is me and mine, rather than them and theirs, caught in this battle of wills.
Kendra retreats to a far corner with the pony. The other two cousins have disappeared.
“Don’t even think of it, Reya.” I fail to completely suppress the rising panic in my voice. And everyone in the room knows what comes next.
The Falling Action
Reya drops to the floor. A crescendo of wailing fills the room. “Daaaddeeeee! Kendraaaa! Miiiine!” was about all anybody could make out. This needed shutting down, and pronto.
“Reya! That’s it! The naughty step!”
I pick her up and take her to the top of the stairs.
This of course does not work for her. What is the point of enduring suffering and injustice if there’s nobody to see it? So in no time at all she scoots to the bottom stair, and is howling mightily.
I take her back up.
She slides back down.
So I do it again.
And so does she.
Enough already. Her howling is disrupting both the rugby and facebook. “That’s it Reya! You’re going into a bedroom until you learn how to behave!”
Then, just as I’m picking my little ball of howling, Kendra tugs on my leg. Eyes downcast, without a word spoken, she hands Reya the Magic Pony.
Reya is silenced, save for the little gulps of air that follow a sobbing fit. I’m torn between relief that Reya has finally shut up or embarrassment that it took another three year old to do it.
“There you go Reya. Are you happy now?”
“Are you going to say thank you to Kendra?”
She shakes her head.
She buries her face into my stomach. “No!”
I decide not to push my luck. “Thank you Kendra. That was a very generous thing to do. I’m proud of you.” I stare meaningfully at Reya, but meaning is lost on her now she has the pony to play with again.
And peace reigns once more in the household... at least until Kendra picks up the Transformer mask.