To be or not to be, that is probably the answer


We sit at the table to attempt homework.

The table lies in a wasteland, a sea of scrumbled papers, snapped pencils, broken nibs and chewed erasers.

At approximately three minute intervals one of them leaps off the chair, dives down the corridor and escapes out into the garden on a cat retrieving mission. He is oblivious to the rain, barefoot and determined. The hallway is covered with human and pet prints, of the kitty litter variety that harden to cement in minutes. The cat is also resolute, anything to remain outside in the rain so as to avoid the nightmare of homework time. I'm tempted to join him, the cat that is to say.

“You can be?” asks the little one.
“I can? What can I be?”
“You can be my Hamburger Helper.”
“HAMBURBER HELPER!” he bellows for my benefit.
“What is a hamburger helper?”
“You don know?”
“No I don't? I've seen it in the shops but I don't really know what it's for?”
“Dey are beed sell dem in the shops?”
“I am not see dem. Where dey are?”
“Um….on the aisle with cake mixes I think.”
“What is it be?”
“What is what dear?”
“Cake mixes?”
“Er….well it's sort of dried…..cake… mix it will eggs and stuff and bake a cake.”
“I am not want cake mixes, I am want Hamburger Helper.”
“Coz I am need dah help.”
“How is Hamburger Helper going to help you? You don't eat hamburgers.”
“Oh what?”
“I fink I am meaning Homework Helper.”

I don't think that comes in a box.

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