“Mom, no!” Mark wailed, flinging himself down on the couch in fake horror.
“It’s not that bad, Mark.” Mary said, quietly smoothing her dress. “You’ll have fun.”
Mark’s eyes disagreed. “Fun? There is no way that I can have fun when I’m being babysat!”
“Sure you can!” Bruce said. “The babysitter will be here in ten minutes. You and your sisters will listen to your babysitter. We’ll be back in three hours.” Bruce’s eyes spoke more than his words. Mark sighed and groaned.
I guess I’d better behave….maybe.
Five-hundred-and-fifty-nine seconds later the three Wild children were waving goodbye to their parents.
“Alright children, let’s have some dinner, shall we?”
The babysitter, Marla Kinsia, was a kind looking woman with grey hair and delicate wrinkles lining her face. She nodded towards the kitchen and the children silently made their way towards it.
“What are we having for supper?” Kris asked. “Food is the most important part of the day, so please make it good.”
Marla smiled down at Kris. “Your parents left a potpie in the freezer for you. I’ll warm it up while you all set the table.”
“POT PIE?!” Kris wailed. “But it’s so gross! It has all those…vegetarians in it!”
“You mean vegetables.” Marla laughed.
Mark smirked. “Well, it’s what we’re having, so quit whining.” He hopped towards the living room. “I’ll be watching a movie while you ladies get my food.”
Mark’s proud smile was washed away by Marla’s next words.
“Mark, you parents said no movies until you finished dinner and all of your chores.”
“What?!” Mark yelped. “That’s not fair!”
Emily giggled. “You’ll never watch a movie tonight!”
Mark scowled. “It’s not fair that I have all of those extra chores to do.”
“It is kind of your fault.” Kris said. “You did almost break the lawnmower.”
“It wasn’t really that bad! I just set it on fire….”
Marla loudly cleared her throat. “Mark, set the table, please. Emily, will you show me where the kitchen utensils are?”
Kris hurried out of the kitchen before she could be assigned a job. She wandered around the house and was just about to return to the kitchen to state how bored she was, when something caught her eye. The basement steps. Normally Kris avoided the basement because many strange and creepy things, like spiders and the occasional mouse, lived down there. But there was something else in that avoided place that Kris wanted. Gathering her courage, Kris slipped down the steps into the dark basement.
“Find the light, Kris, find the light.” Kris tried to avoid looking at the spider webs that hung from the ceiling. Once the light flickered on, the girl saw the reason that she had braved Scary Basement.
It stood alone in the middle of the room. Kris has long begged and pleaded with her parents to let her use it, but she had always been refused the pleasure.
“Mommy said that it could hurt me!” Kris said to herself. “Ha! I’m sure I can handle it!” She stepped up to the machine and ran her hands over the cold metal. “I’m sure I can just use this for a couple minutes. Nobody will know and I’ll have the thrill of running on a treadmill!!!”
Kris stepped up to the treadmill and randomly pushed the settings. Then she jumped on and pushed start. The machine went much faster than Kris had imagined. She raced along, as fast as her legs could go, panting and franticly pushing every button, trying to shut the thing off. For all her efforts, the treadmill only sped up.
“OH NO!” Kris screamed. “I CAN’T FIND THE OFF BUTTON! WHERE IS IT! HEEEEEEEEEEEEEELP!”
Meanwhile, Marla was just taking the pot pie out of the oven. She set it on the table.
“Kids, supper’s ready!”
Mark and Emily raced in and slid into their seats.
“I love pot pie!” Mark scooped a huge piece onto his plate.
Marla looked around. “Where’s Kris?”
Emily shrugged. “Eh, she’s probably hiding. She doesn’t like pot pie.”
Mark cut another piece of potpie and added it to the one already on his plate. “Just let her be. If she wants to miss supper, let her.”
Marla looked unsure of the advice.
“Mom let’s her skip out on pot pie sometimes.” Emily assured Marla. “She’ll be fine.”
As Marla, Mark and Emily ate (Mark eating over half of the pot pie by himself), Kris continued to try to get off the treadmill. She tried screaming again for help, but her lungs were so out of breath that no one could hear her. Finally, too exhausted to keep running, she attempted to jump off of the treadmill. She fell with a thud on the floor.
“Ouch.” She groaned. Normally, the pain she felt would have caused her to scream, but her lungs were so air-deprived that she just lay on the cold cement panting. “Now I know why Mom and Dad said not to run on there….”
Fifteen minutes later, Kris finally stood up and dragged herself upstairs. (She didn’t notice that she had left the treadmill running.) She saw that the table was nearly cleared and that Marla was washing the dishes.
“Ah, there you are, Kris!”
“Hi Marla.” Kris said. “Hey…can I eat? I’m SO hungry! I haven’t eaten anything since LUNCH! That was like HOURS ago!”
Marla pointed to the fridge. “There is a bit of pot pie leftover.”
“Oh.” Kris wrinkled up her nose. “Uh….can I just skip supper and go straight to dessert?”
“What do you think?”
Kris sighed. “Fine, I’ll eat some pot pie.”
She opened the fridge and stuck her little finger into the pot pie and licked it. Then she grabbed a pea from the container and quickly swallowed it. She ran out of the room before Marla would tell her to eat any more. She found Mark standing in front of the DVD rack.
“What are you doing?”
Mark stroked his chin in a very grave fashion. “I’m trying to decide what movie to watch.”
“Did you finish all of your chores?”
Mark nodded proudly. “Yup.”
“Even picking up the dog poop in Mr. Henderson’s yard?”
“Eh….” Mark glanced towards their neighbor’s house. “Well, he wasn’t home. So I thought, ‘hey, I’ll do double tomorrow.’”
“But Mark, that was part of your punishment, remember?”
“Yeah, yeah, I know. But who will notice if I miss just one itty bitty day?” He turned back to the movies. “Now let me see…I was thinking about watching this one.”
“Let me see!” Kris grabbed the movie and glanced at the rating. “Uh, Mark, this is rated PG-13… Mom said we couldn’t watch anything that’s not rated G.”
“Ah come on! I don’t remember her saying those words EXACTLY.” Mark rubbed the back of his neck. “Besides, Mom and Dad let us watched Unplanned and that was rated R.”
“Mom said that was different and that that was a good moral film.”
“I’m sure that Monster Aliens from Planet Smudge is a moral film.”
“Uh hu…” Kris shrugged. “Well, have fun being scared! And turn down the sound so that I don’t hear it….”
Emily wandered into the living room. “Hey guys, I’m about to make some dessert. Do you want to help me?”
“Sure!” Kris ran ahead to the kitchen.
Mark shook his head. “I think I’ll watch a movie. Just bring my dessert in here when you’re finished.”
“Mom said no eating in the living room. We just replaced the carpet, remember?”
“I’m sure she won’t mind.” Mark blinked. “I’ll be more careful this time.”
Emily went to the kitchen and found that Marla was just finishing the dishes.
“Hey Marla, why don’t you sit down and rest? Kris and I will make a nice dessert for us all.”
Marla smiled. “Well, I don’t want you to bake unattended. I’ll sit at the kitchen table and watch you.”
“Oh…uh, sure, Marla, that sound great.” Emily motioned furiously to Kris. “Come help me find a recipe.”
Once they were alone, Emily said, “Kris, I want to make something with tons of sugar. But I’m sure Marla will stop us! So you keep her distracted while I make the dessert.”
“How am I supposed to keep an adult distracted?! Adults don’t listen to me!”
“Just talk to her and show her your room and your toys and stuff. She’ll have to listen to you because Mom and Dad are PAYING her to babysit us!”
“I’ll give it a try…” Kris shrugged. “What are you going to make?”
Emily stared unhappily at the almost non-existent Google search results for highest sugar desserts around recipes.
“Eh, I was thinking something like double fudge caramel brownies.” Emily typed the chosen dessert into the search bar.
“Do you know how to make caramel?” Kris asked.
“Well, no. But that’s why I’m looking for a recipe.” Emily clicked a link. “Perfect! This looks great. Look at that picture, Kris! The chocolate and caramel are melting all over the whipped cream and the brownie!”
Kris pretended to cry. “It’s beautiful! I’m in love!”
“Go distract Marla while I make it. I’ll sneak into the kitchen once she’s out.”
Kris ran back to the kitchen and found Marla sitting at the kitchen table.
“Marla!” Kris bounced up and down. “Come here! I want to show you my room! Mommy and Daddy just gave me these really cute little dolls! Can you play with me?”
“Shouldn’t we wait here for Emily? I thought she was going to make dessert.”
Kris tried to look innocent. “Uh….she’s not here right now! Now can you please come and see my dolls?!”
As soon as Emily was sure that the kitchen was empty, she crept inside and started grabbing things from the cabinets. Meanwhile, Mark was sitting in front of the TV, watching the movie.
You know… this IS kind of scary! Maybe I should watch a different one….No…no, I won’t….Emily and Kris will make fun of me and say that I’m a scardy cat! I’ll just keep watching the scary monsters….
Fifteen minutes later, everything fell apart. Emily, who was in the kitchen attempting to make caramel, was boiling a huge pan of butter and sugar. The hot liquid was rapidly reaching the edges of the pan. Emily, who was an inexperienced cooker, didn’t know to turn the stove down. The burn caramel bubbled over and covered the stove. Emily screamed.
Mark, meanwhile, was trembling with fear over the movie. He heard Emily scream and thought that it was an alien coming for him. He started shrieking and wailing, “I’m too young to be turned into a milkshake for an alien! I don’t want to die!”
Kris and Marla raced towards the screaming. Everyone ended up in the kitchen. Emily was yelling about the hot molten liquid that was still bubbling out of the pan and burning on the stove top. Marla bravely shut the stove off and carefully yanked the hot pan off of the burner. After a moment of continued screaming, everyone stood silently surveying the mess.
“Oh no.” Emily groaned. “I am in so much trouble!”
“Mom and Dad will be home in like an hour!” Mark said, hoping that no one had heard him screaming.
Marla cleared her throat. “Emily?”
“I’m sorry –”
Marla sighed. “Let’s get this cleaned up. Emily, get a bucket of warm water and a towel and start trying to get the caramel off of the stove.”
“Where do you keep the mop?”
“It’s in the basement.” Kris pointed to the dark door.
“Go get the mop, Mark.”
Mark groaned and headed for the stairs. The light switch was at the bottom, and he was beginning to feel panicked in the darkness.
“It’s just a basement…just a basement….JUST LIKE THE ONE IN THE MOVIE!” Mark gulped. It was then that he heard a strange humming noise. Trembling, he groped along the wall, looking for the light switch. The noise continued and Mark totally lost his nerve. “ALIENS!” He shrieked, racing back up the stairs as fast as his legs could carry him.
“What’s wrong, Mark?” Kris asked, as he burst through the door, panting.
“Monsters! Aliens!” Mark gasped. “Down in the basement! Humming!”
Kris turned pale. “Oh no! The treadmill!”
“Treadmill?” Emily asked. “Did you try to use the treadmill, Kris?!”
“Uh….” Kris tried to look innocent. “I mainly just fell off of it.”
“Is that where that bruise on your face came from?” Emily asked, pointing to the large purple bruise on Kris’s cheek.
“Wait…” Mark’s face flushed. “You mean….those noises were just the treadmill? Not invaders from Planet Blood?”
Marla looked like she was about to cry. She held up her hands and opened her mouth, but no sound came out.
Just then everyone heard the sound that they dreaded most. A key being put into a lock. The front door opening. Bruce’s voice, “We’re home!”
“OH NO!” Emily shrieked, rubbing the stove with fresh vigor.
“They’re home early!” Mark yelped. “And I left the movie running!”
Mark raced for the living room, but it was too late. Bruce stood with the TV remote in hand, glaring at his son.
“Mark, would you explain to me what this is on the TV?”
“Uh….” Mark giggled nervously. “I can explain!”
“I sure hope so.”
Mary looked around, her forehead wrinkled in concern. “What’s that smell? It’s like…burnt sugar!”
A few minutes later, three disheartened children and one miserable babysitter sat on the couch, waiting for the lecture.
“First of all, I’d like to know what happened here.” Bruce said, glancing at his children.
“I’m sorry, sir.” Marla said, standing up. “It’s my fault. I should have kept the children in line.”
“It’s not all your fault.” Mary said quietly. “Our children are old enough to know how to behave.”
“Yes.” Bruce nodded. “You can go home, Marla. I am sincerely sorry that the kids didn’t listen to you.”
Marla left and Mark and Emily glanced at each other.
We’re dead. Mark moaned to himself.
Bruce cleared his throat. “Kids? Care to explain what happened here tonight?”
“What did happen?” Mary asked.
“Kris ran on the treadmill!” Emily said quickly.
Kris gasped and looked betrayed. “Emily tried to make caramel without Marla and it spilled EVERYWHERE.”
The room erupted and everyone started screaming and arguing.
“QUIET!” Bruce yelled above the noise. Once everything settled down, Mary and Bruce dropped into chairs. Mary put her head between her hands and sighed.
“Kids….before we left earlier, you told us that you wanted to stay home alone – that you didn’t need a babysitter! But tonight you have proven to us that you can’t be trusted with more responsibility! Why would you all behave like that?”
Emily raised her tear filled eyes. “Mom…Dad…I’m really sorry. I was wrong. I promise to take any punishment you give me, without complaining.”
Mary stood up and hugged Emily. Bruce looked at the two kids who still sat on the couch, eyes glued to the floor.
Mark sighed and stood up. “I’m sorry, too. I shouldn’t have watched that movie. But hey! Couldn’t the nightmares that I’m sure to have for the next ten years be punishment enough?” He smiled hopefully.
Kris blinked. “Well guys, I don’t know what to say. I am really sorry for running on the treadmill. My face hurts like crazy…”
Despite his best efforts, a smile crossed Bruce’s face. “Well kids, it’s safe to say that we won’t be leaving you unattended again for a while.”
The kids managed weak smiles.
“Now let’s talk about your punishments!”
(Note: you can read other Adventures of a Wildly Fun Family here. 🙂 )