While Duncan is at home during the day, enjoying what is hopefully his last remaining weeks of being an unemployed burden on society, and Olivia is at home enjoying what is definitely her last week as an off-track burden on the family, the two of them have been spending some quality hours at home alone together. Since they are both prone to laying around in their pajamas eating ice cream, and they both enjoy watching the same lame TV shows, most of the time they get along pretty well.
Today though, I left them a list of chores to do. They were supposed to clean up the kitchen together, and fold socks together, and read some books together. I called them around lunch time to see how things were going. Duncan answered the phone, and I quizzed him on how the chores were coming. Then I asked to talk to Olivia. As he passed off the phone to her, I heard him say, "Olivia, Mom wants to talk to you. Oh, and remember..." then the phone went all muffled for a moment, as if he were covering the mouth piece. Then I heard Olivia say "okay".
Remember? Remember what? This sounded suspicious. I just knew they were up to something. Unfortunately, the eyes in the back of my head were useless from twenty miles away. But my mom radar had stepped up into high gear. What was she supposed to remember, and why could I not hear? What were they up to? So when she got on the phone, I drilled her. Surely, my superior Mom manipulation tactics could break an eight year old. "So what are you supposed to remember?' I asked her right off.
"What?" Oh. Um .....Nothing." Guilty silence. So I went the usual rounds. Were the chores done? Did everything go okay? Had they eaten something? Were they having a good time? What was that Duncan meant about remembering? What did he say? What are you not telling me?
She was a rock. I got nothing out of her. Nothing but denial and lies. Whose kid is she anyway? So I got Duncan back on the phone, Duncan, my honest, forthright and guileless Duncan. I quizzed him again. "What is up, Duncan? What did you tell Olivia to remember?"
"Oh," he says, "Well, I was just..... uh......I was just...... uh.....telling her to oh.........you know...........uh, I was reminding her to.............well,..............to remember to always, uh.........be nice."
Duncan is a bad liar.
But that is as far as I got. Right at that moment, things went nuts at work, and I had to go. All afternoon, I wondered what it could be that those two criminal cohorts were not telling me.
When I got home, the chores were pretty much done, except that Olivia had misread the directions on the chore list that said to unload the dishwasher. She thought it had said unload dresser, and so she had dumped all her clothes out of her dresser and on to my bed. That was kind of a big job, and she did great. I don't think she missed a single item of clothing. Not sure what she was thinking the whole time, but hey, she worked hard.
After we finished cleaning off my bed, and, despite my unrelenting questioning, neither of them would tell me what it was she was supposed to remember. Duncan is insisting that he was just reminding her to be nice, because, as he said, sometimes she yells at Audrey. And Olivia is absolutely mum. And I KNOW there is something up. Something completely innocent, like they probably had brownies for breakfast, or they skipped out on her reading. But still, I must know.
And I am not giving up. I am after all, the Chief Interrogator of this family, and it is a position I do not take lightly. One of them will break, if I only apply the right amount of pressure, in just the right spot. Or perhaps it's time to learn the finer points of water boarding.