Do you know what your kids are up to?
All Words: 1456
"Let me sleep," Ruby muttered, turning over and pulling the blanket snugly below her chin. "Stop ringing."
But it wasn't the alarm ringing. As the mists of sleep cleared slowly, Ruby realised it was the radio. Why was an alarm-like sound going on, on the radio? Who had put the radio on, anyway? She blinked rapidly and sat up so the blanket fell to the floor.
"Wakey wakey." Her husband Joe grinned and waved the radio at her.
"Why you waking me with that noise at dawn? Why is it sounding like an alarm?"
"Because it is an alarm, my dear wife. It's a snow-alert and schools are closed today."
"Wow! That means I'll be off work, too. We can have a lovely day, Rosemary, Angela and I."
"You can. I, in the meantime, must trudge off, snow or no snow."
"Wait, wait, I'll make you some breakfast."
"It's okay, I'll eat in the cafeteria. Bye, dear. Bye, girls, you be good now!"
"Why doesn't Daddy ever tell Mommy to be good? Why is it only us that have to be good?"
"Because Mommy is never naughty."
"Or ..." Ruby cut into the twins' conversation. "Or maybe, Daddy likes Mommy to be naughty. Now come and have some breakfast, and then we'll go play in the snow."
An hour later, they had half a snowman, and nobody could reach high enough to put his head on. Even when Rosemary climbed on Ruby's shoulders, she couldn't reach.
"That's one tall snowman we got. Listen girls, I'll go in for a bit and check my email. You stay in the yard, okay?"
The doorbell brought Ruby back to the present.
"Linda! Oh my goodness, I thought it was the girls. Listen, Linda, I got an acceptance by email just now. They've asked for some tweaks on the story, I just finished that and sent it off."
"Great! Good use of a snow day, to get some freelance writing in."
"Yeah. Meant to spend the whole of it outside with the girls, though. I thought the doorbell was them, asking for food. You want coffee?"
"Can I say no to your divine coffee? What do you do, to get it to taste like that?"
"Ah. You really wanna know?"
"If you're in the mood to tell me!"
"Okay, then, but pinkie-swear you won't tell anyone."
"It's just a teeny, eeny bit of cinnamon I add in it. Just enough so you feel the difference without actually tasting it."
"Really. Hey, the girls must be hungry by now. I think I'll call them in. They've been making that snowman long enough."
"Your girls are making the snowman?"
"Yes, listen, you liked that coffee well enough till I told you it had cinnamon in it. I shouldn't have told you."
"No, no, the coffee is fine."
"Then why did your face go all funny?"
"Did my face go funny? No, no, it's fine."
"Yeah, I told you that the coffee had cinnamon in it and that I'd call the girls in and your face went funny."
"No, no, it's all fine."
"Listen, you squirmed and your face went funny. If it's not to do with the coffee, it's to do with the girls coming in. There's nothing wrong with the girls, is there?"
Ruby hastened to the door, yanked it open and yelled "GIRLS!" only to be met by two running figures who almost knocked her down.
"Hallo, Mom. Hallo, Aunt Linda. Mom, can we eat now? We're hungry."
"Hi and bye, twinnies. See you, Ruby, thanks for the coffee."
"Aunt Linda, see our snow statue ..."
"I saw it on my way in, girls! Bye now!"
"Snow statue? Snowman, she means," Ruby thought. And "Thank goodness for leftover pizza, for when editors respond suddenly and you have to cook up a snack."
The girls safely fed, their nap-time story duly told (Snow White, in honour of the day) Ruby set the table and started to prepare dinner. She was shelling peas when she heard the key in the lock. Joe, back home!
They exchanged a quick kiss and then her husband sniffed the air. "You've made lasagna, the way my Mom made it?"
"Well, I had extra time to cook, today, so I thought ..."
Joe gazed at the plates on the table. "My favourite food. Today of all days." He shook his head.
"Honey, what's the matter?"
"You made lasagna the way Mom made it, today of all days, when we can't eat it."
"Why can't we eat it? Joe, don't look at me like that! What's happened? Joe? Joe!"
"First, you tell me something. Tell me what you were doing that you left the girls unsupervised so long."
"Joe! I was just in here, tweaking my story -- it's been accepted! But what happened? Why are you looking at me like that?"
"Tweaking your story? So what part of the snow statue did you see?"
"Snow statue? You and Linda are both nuts. It's a snowman, honey, a snowman."
"Not any longer, it isn't, thanks to those twins of yours."
"Ruby, Ruby, wait, don't open that door."
"Why not? Listen, has the whole world gone crazy? Linda looked all funny and now you're saying we can't eat lasagna and looking like I'm a bad mother leaving my kids out in the cold. For your information they're safely in their room, having a nap."
"Don't get hysterical."
"And now you're laughing. First you look like you're going to burst into tears, then you look like I'm the world's worst mother, and now you lie about on the couch, laughing your teeth out. What he heck .. HEY, get off me."
"Listen. Before you go out that door, there's something you must know."
"Something I must know, is there? Well you better start telling me."
"Okay. There are people out there."
"People? I don't hear anyone."
"That's because they're being very quiet. The snow, fortunately, muffles their footsteps."
"What are people doing out there in the cold -- out in MY YARD?"
"It's a TV crew."
"Yes. Your twins made a snow statue. Never knew how good they were at art, did you, seeing as they're only eight years old? But they're pretty darn good."
"A snow statue?"
"Yeah, they got the idea from an art book they saw in school. So hold your breath now. Calm down, Ruby."
"I'm calm, I'm calm, I'm as calm as a mountain breeze on a balmy summer day. Now tell me already, or let GO of me and let me see."
"Your twins made a snow statue of a naked woman."
"It's pretty artistic. They've called it Nude Snow White."
"WHAT? Let GO of me."
"The TV crew has interviewed them. Linda's with them now. She saw the statue and called the channel. It's pretty life-like. And it's big."
"You let GO of me."
"I can't. The TV crew has a camera pointed right at our door, to catch your expression. I had to warn you. But they're going to take us to La Belle Francaise for dinner tonight, in return for this story. That's why I was sad about the lasagna."
"Our little girls are becoming porn-queens and you're interested in lasagna?"
"Honey, it's art. Honey -- oops -- honey. Ruby, wait!"
"You get those cameras out of my face, I'm going to -- oh -- oh -- did my little girls make that? That is so beautiful!"
"Yeah. And our TV channel wants to encourage your little girls in their art. We interviewed them earlier and made sure it was all their own work. Apparently when you were with them this was a headless snowman."
"Sure was. My goodness, they made this?"
"Yes, Ma'am. And that's why you're taking them to dinner at La Belle Francaise tonight. And ... Ma'am ... could you call the twins, please?"
"They're napping, but I guess a TV crew in the yard is an exception. I'll wake them up."
"No need. I already did."
"Mom! Mom! This lady told us not to tell you we met her, it's a secret, and she really liked our naked Snow White, and she took pictures! And it's going to be on TV."
"And ..." the lady put her hand in her purse and handed something to each of the twins. "The lady wants you two to hold these pieces of paper very carefully now. They're scholarship certificates, to art school, from our channel. We love to encourage kids in whatever they're talented in!"
"But can we have a last word from the father, before we wrap this?"
"If we don't go to that restaurant soon, I'm going to eat the lasagna and then I won't be hungry for that French dinner, that's what!"
"It's a wrap!"