The Time Your Mother Was a Spy

[This originally appeared on the now-defunct Surgery of Modern Warfare]

The time your mother was a spy she was such a pain in the rear. Wouldn’t tell me nothing. Couldn’t hold a conversation with the woman. Every question I’d ask, Hey how was your day, What’s for dessert, she’d glare at me and point to her ear, then point up at the ceiling, like there were cameras or microphones all around us or something. It was unbelievable. There was no talking to her.

The time your mother was a spy I wake up one morning, she’s gone. Three days. I’m cooking, I’m cleaning, I’m getting everyone ready for school, I’m putting you kids on the bus. Three days, and then she comes home like she’s never been gone. Like what are you talking about, everything’s hunky dory. Except she’s carrying a new purse. I ask her What’s with the new purse. She says What are you talking about I had this purse for years, my sister gave it to me. But this was untrue. It was a different purse then before she left.

The time your mother was a spy I’m brushing my teeth, suddenly she comes busting in through the bathroom door, shoves me out of the way, pulls two Smith & Wessons out of the toilet tank, and runs back out going “Come on, come on, come on,” under her breath. I look down, I got toothpaste all over my t-shirt.

The time your mother was a spy we’re about to go to sleep, I say Sweet dreams. She says Yeah right. I say What’s that supposed to mean. She says What I didn’t say nothing.

The time your mother was a spy she acted very strange at the PTA meeting. Mr. Carlson, the 6th grade math teacher, was up there talking and the whole time your mother was staring at Mrs. Kreutzler, who was sitting 2 rows ahead of us. Just staring a hole into the back of her head. You remember your sister Hannah used to play with Mrs. Kreutzler’s daughter, what was her name. Jenny.

The time your mother was a spy you came home from school with a notice from your teacher. It was an announcement of one of those days where the parents come in and talk about what they do for a living. You shoulda seen the look on your mother’s face. Priceless. I thought she was gonna faint right there in the kitchen.

The time your mother was a spy I wasn’t trying to be a jerk about it, but the laundry was piling up. I mean I work all day too, right? So I point to the pile by the washer, I say Honey, come on. She says I’m not touching it. I say Why not. She says There could be poison on the kids’ clothes. I say Great, that means I gotta do it? But I did. I figure poison’s all the more reason to wash the clothes, right?