Shelf Life: episode 6 "night watch"

“It’s too bad that there’s no such thing as Christmas miracles,” I thought. “Because that’s the only way these two are going to stay off of the naughty list.”

My mission was easy. I watched the kids throughout the day and I made two lists which I brought back to elf headquarters every night; one nice and one naughty. I’ll give you one guess as to which one was longer.

The mission was easy but the problem was that it was too easy because I only had two options to report on and the situations were never black and white. Like the time that Jake broke Haley’s doll house.

I knew that something was bothering him when he came home from school because he was so quiet and I noticed that his eyes were red, like he’d been crying. Haley noticed too and she was just trying to cheer him up when she brought out her favorite doll house and tried to play with him. He told her to leave him alone but she kept making funny faces, insisting that he play with her. She was trying everything she could think of to cheer him up; she’s got a heart of gold, that one. But for some reason Jake got angry. He snatched her doll house out of her hands and he threw it down the stairs where it shattered into several pieces. Mom and Dad both yelled at him for that, apparently the doll house was very expensive. He made the naughty list for that one.

Haley was pretty upset after that and I could tell that she had been crying too. She refused to so much as eat one bite of her supper. Mom and Dad made her sit in front of her plate until she finished. She didnt take a single bite. Eventually they just gave up and sent her to bed. She made the naughty list for that.

I guess sadness is contagious because that night mom and dad were both really quiet with each other until they became really loud. They started fighting becouse of something about how the garbage disposal was broken and that turned into a fight about money. Dad said some mean things and so did Mom. Dad slammed a door and Mom started crying.

That night when the family went to sleep it was as if the fighting still lurked throughout the darkness. I could hear them each restlessly tossing and turning. The next morning the family looked worse for the wear.

There was more fighting. I kept my records and elf headquarters seemed pleased with my work. The longer the naughty list, the happier they were.

But I didn’t feel good, I didn’t feel good about any of this.