Danger –You hear your mother on the warpath. She’s throwing your runners down the hallway and screaming for you to take your washing from the laundry and your filthy sports bag off the dining table. Take this is as a sign that pretty soon she will appear at your bedroom door. Survey the scene. You may think it looks tidy, but you don’t have your mother’s eye. Kick any offending belongings under your bed. Place the used cups, plates and cutlery in your desk drawer before she can declare your room a biohazard area.
Response – Go and collect said belongings. If you remember, a ‘thanks, mum’ said in a genuine tone may momentarily disorientate her and stave her off. Head back to your room and close the door. Place homework props on the desk in case she comes to check.
Send for help – Snapchat your friends the photo you secretly took of your mother with three double chins. Caption it ‘Mum’s on a cleaning frenzy! Plz send help. ’ This may also act as an alert for your siblings. Feel chuffed at this community service announcement.
Airway – Inhale. While you may not smell anything, remember your mother is a super smeller and can sniff out crumbs of food fermenting under your bed. Pre-emptively open the window and light the aromatherapy candle she gave you, before she is able to yell through coughs, ‘For God’s sake – what stinks in here?’
Breathing – Take a deep breath as she heads past your room to your sister’s room. Lie back down on your bed, snigger, and think you’re off the hook. Sit back up, take short rapid breaths, when you think you hear her call your name. Flail around, grab the sock, towel, and tissues off the floor that you didn’t notice before. Freeze, preparing to leap to the desk where the homework is.
Compression – Say shit under your breath when you realize you forgot to put the washing away which is now in an unfolded heap on the beanbag. Grab the washing and shove it into your wardrobe. If required use a foot to push the clothes into the bottom drawer.
Defibrillation – You know you will have succeeded when your mother comes to inspect your room and says she’s shocked to see you doing your homework. Tap your pen on your head, look up for a moment, smile, and tell her you’re making good progress on your science prac report. After the door closes, send a selfie via Snapchat to your friends and siblings. Caption it ‘Danger averted.’
Michelle lives and writes in Geelong, Australia where she works as an Outreach Maternal and Child Health Nurse. She has been published by Bear Creek Gazette, Fudoki, Pure Slush ‘Birth’ and ‘Growing Up’ Anthologies 2021.