Nothing irritates me more than when my children treat me like I’m an idiot. When they, who have yet to figure out that dirty clothes go into something called a hamper not the floor, have the gall to talk to me in a superior tone I feel compelled to put them in their place (which should be at my feet worshiping me).
But, alas I needed my son’s help, so I put up with his condescension. As Clay is lecturing me on the finer points on remotely controlling someone’s laptop, (which you have to do to turn on their computer camera) while stuffing bullseye doughnuts in his mouth, I’m mentally making a To Do list and start to panic – sort of. From what he’s telling me I’m going to need a man on the inside. Basically, if I understand what’s he saying, someone is going to need to go into the County Cup, insert a flash drive into Martha’s laptop for approximately 15 seconds, remove the flash drive and then exit the premises, all without being seen. Unfortunately, I have no ninjas in my family or friend circle so I’m kind of doubting if I can pull this off.
My mom, who has been listening to all of this, pipes up and volunteers to do the deed. “That’s a big no can do mom. You don’t even know how to send an email that’s not in all caps. I’m guessing the flash drive would stroke you out. Plus, everyone in town knows you. How are you going to waltz into the Country Cup and pull this off without being seen?”
She pets her large and in charge blonde hair helmet, gives me a searing look that makes me feel like I’m back in high school and she’s just caught me breaking curfew, licks her lips, and says, “That’s why I’m just the person to do this. Everyone knows me. There’s not a room the good Lord has made that I don’t know how to work. I’ll just meander right into the back, ask if anybody has seen my purse because I think I left it there at lunch, and then distract that common as cornbread Martha Barnett and do that flash drive doohickey thing.”
“Got to hand it to you mom, that’s a good plan. The whole old lady lost my purse thing – genius. And I had totally forgotten that you can’t stand Martha.”
My mom quickly interrupts with, “She’s as bad as her mother, maybe worse. Going around putting on airs. You’d think she lived in Dallas or something.”
Before my mother could go off on one her tangents about the growing number of people being all gurgle and no guts (translation: boastful with nothing to back it up) I refocus the conversation to the flash drive. “Mom it doesn’t matter if you can work a room. There’s still the problem of you and the doohickey.”
At this point Clay gallantly jumps in to defend his grandmother, “Mom, if Grandma can plug in a toaster. She can insert a flash drive. I’ll even have her practice.”
My mom smiles and says, “So it sounds like we’ve got ourselves a little fun this evening.”
This is when my dad’s ears and mouth perk up. He had been silently reading the newspaper up to this point. “I’m a hearing this correctly? Are you planning on using your mother to illegally insert some sort of software that will allow you to remotely control another person’s computer? I can tell you right now that’s not going to happen. Your mother is not going to go to jail.”
I say nothing and just smile. My dad doesn’t have a chance of stopping my mom from doing anything. She knows just how to manipulate my father to get her own way. It took under 90 seconds for her to convince him that she needed to do this for the betterment of society. Hell, she made it sound like she’d even get a Civitan of the Year award for it. I think what really won him over was her assertion that no one would want to send an old lady to jail and that she would use a dementia defense. My dad backed down after that and then announced that he was going with us.
“You can’t Dad. We’re taking mom’s Camry and I’ve already got me, Clay, Mom, Nancy and Lisa going. That’s five people. You won’t fit.”
“Well, then I just follow you in my truck and take the dogs with me. You never know when a dog is going to come in handy.”
I sigh and getting aggravated say, “I know why don’t we just put lawn chairs in the back of your pick up and have a hillbilly jamboree outside the Country Cup. It’s not like that won’t attract attention.”
My mom, a little slow to pick up on sarcasm, joins in with, “Let’s pack snacks and make a night out of it!”
“Mom, no on the snacks. Well, maybe some snacks. What were you thinking?”
“I’ve got some of my homemade jalapeno puffs and they go great with tea lemonade.”
This distracts me. Usually, I’m not easily distracted unless you introduce food into the conversation and then I’m a goner. I force myself back to the topic at hand and, because I’m a dutiful daughter and I know there was no other way he would let my mom go, tell my dad having him as back up would be just grand.
It’s now 6:50 p.m. I’m stuffed in the back of my mom’s car, between Nancy and Lisa. Clay is in the front seat and my mom is driving. God help us all. How this woman has never had an accident in her 50 plus years of being behind the wheel of a car is proof that there is a higher power and an angel is riding shotgun in her Camry. From my peripheral vision it looks like Nancy is giving herself last rites. Clay yells over my mother, who is simultaneously flooring her car and honking, that’s he going to be riding back with grandpa.
When we mercifully arrive at the Country Cup Nancy and Lisa start counting cars in the parking lot and announce that it looks like everyone that is affiliated with the draft is presented and accounted for. I tell my mom she’s good to go. None of us were worried that she wouldn’t know which laptop was Martha’s. Lisa said it has a paisley monogrammed case. My mom puts the flash drive in her skirt pocket, checks her coral lipstick in the rearview mirror, smiles, gracefully exits the car and begins to saunter up to the Country Cup. As she’s opening the door of the Cup my dad gets out of his pickup and follows her in. I just shake my head. Of course, I should have known he was going to do that. Always the gentleman, he would never let my mom head into alleged danger without his assistance.
Clay, still in the front seat, has his laptop out and has joined up with the Cup’s wifi. He’s doing some rather aggressive clicking on his keyboard. It takes less than five minutes before he announces, “Grandma’s done it. I’ve got control of that lady no one likes computer.”
Nancy and Lisa are all smiles. I’m concerned my mom and dad haven’t left the Cup. What the hell are they doing in there? Then I hear Clay laugh. “Look Mom,” he says gesturing at his computer screen. “Grandma and Grandpa really do know how to work a room. Grandma’s even giving baseball advice.”
Sure enough, there was my mother, holding court and wishing everyone in the room “the best draft ever.” I can see my dad patting guys on the back and very discreetly maneuvering my mom out of the party room.
A couple of minutes later they’re back in the parking lot and you would think my mom had just won the Powerball. I have to tell her to act natural. My dad deadpans, “This is natural for your mother.”
He’s kind of right. So instead I tell her to shut up and get in the car. My dad insists on getting in the car also. He’s downright adamant about it. This means Nancy is forced to sit on my lap so my dad can squeeze in the back. Could we be anymore conspicuous? Six people crammed in an aging Camry, with one woman sitting on another woman’s lap. We look like a package of Jet Puff marshmallows shoved into a Dixie Cup.
Lisa tells Clay to raise up his laptop, just a smidge, so we can see what’s going on from the backseat. The draft contingent is making a prayer circle. They’ve all joined hands and are bowing their heads. This makes me laugh. Really, praying that everyone has a good summer Little League draft? WTF?
Martha begins beseeching “our heavenly father to smile down and lift up those who will be making difficult decisions this evening, to use his wisdom from above to direct everyone in making purposeful and meaningful selections that will glorify his name and to bless everyone in the room for the work they do to spread Jesus’s love through boys and baseball .”
Where’s a thunderbolt when you need one? I’m not the most religious person you’ll ever meet, but holy crap this sounds blasphemous. How do Little League draft picks glorify God? My mom, who considers herself highly religious, announces, “Well, with that prayer she had the devil snickering and getting her room ready in perdition. I think we all need to say a prayer to cancel out that prayer.”
“Later mom, let’s pray later,” I plead.
“No, we’re going to do one quick prayer.”
“You know, Mom, I don’t think that’s how prayer is supposed to work. This whole pray oneupmanship thing sounds wrong, like unholy and I don’t think you can cancel out someone else’s prayer with another prayer.”
My mother rolls her eyes while shaking her head and says, “I don’t know what pray oneupmanship even means but I have it on good authority (she’s now looking towards the heavens like she’s Facebook friends with Jesus) that you most certainly can pray over a prayer. So, everyone join let’s join hands.”
Knowing it was easier and faster to just go along with my mom than try to insert logic into the conversation I follow her instructions and we all join hands, to the best of our ability, and my mom rattles off, “Dear Father, please forgive those fools who waste your time praying about baby boys baseball and distract you from the bigger picture of caring for the sick, those suffering and the needy. Amen.”
As soon as the last amen is murmured, Clay eagerly shares, “Mom, mom, it’s started they’re doing that draft thing.”
At first it all seems a little humdrum every coach takes turn picking their A and B player. It wasn’t until they got to the C players that things got interesting. Martha’s boys Belton and Beaumont had yet to be taken in the draft. I’m going to guess that she figured one of her twins would be an A, the other a B and they would be drafted onto the same team. I checked my hypothesis with Lisa and Nancy and they both agreed. Nancy added, “It doesn’t matter if they’re A, B or Z player, you just wait, Martha’s twins will both end up on the super team.”
Shortly after Nancy says this we see Martha’s huge head fill up the laptop screen. Lisa screams and that makes my mom scream. “Calm down everyone,” Clay scolds. We’re using her laptop camera and she’s now sitting at her laptop that’s why all we see is her face.”
“Do you know what she’s doing?” I ask.
“Give me a second and I’ll tell you. She seems to be in an Excel spreadsheet of some kind and is reassigning letters of the alphabet to different names.”
This information gets Nancy all excited. “I knew it! I knew it! I knew it! She’s manipulating the draft by messing with the seeding. That’s how she makes sure her kids team always get the best players.”
Boring is what I’m thinking while I’m starting to get concerned that I’m numb from the waist down due to having a grown woman sitting on my lap. Then a cute guy walks over to Martha and asks her a question about the seeding. My dad says, “Uh oh, that’s the new youth minister at St. Pauls and he played college ball. The real deal. I’m talking NCAA Division 1. I think he’s figured out she’s cheating.”
The nice, youngish man asks, “Hey, how is Ian Vansickle an E player and how did he get on your children’s team? That kid should have been at least a B. He’s got an amazing arm.”
Martha stands up and is trying to use her Commissioner mumbo jumbo on him, but he’s not backing down. Uh oh, now it’s on! She’s going full crazy on him. Like she’s in his face with her chest pumped out. A move, until now, I had only seen men in wife beater shirts do. I tell Clay to prepare the live stream.
“Like put it up?”
“No, just be ready.”
I then tell Nancy and Lisa to get out their phones, pull up their social media links and be in fingers itching to type mode.
And then it happened. I had my justification for sharing Martha Barnett’s special brand of icky with the world. I have standards when it comes to revenge. For me to engage in any sort of payback a person has to greatly exceed the limits of everyday douchery. Garden variety unkindness I tolerate. Sadly, it’s part of the human condition. But when someone crosses that line into vicious with a side of vile I feel it’s my responsibility to act for the greater good.
When Martha went off on youth pastor I still wasn’t prepared to engage. It took her launching into a tirade about how this is “the Major League Little League we’re talking about not the Challenger division” and then she began to berate the very awesome division of Little League for kids with physical and mental disabilities. When that happened I said three words, “Ready, set, go!”
Martha and her dumb assery was being live streamed from her own computer (I was being very careful that nothing could be traced back to Clay’s laptop) and Nancy and Lisa were sharing the links on the social media. With the status update “OMG have you seen Martha Barnett on Youtube – shocking and so sad.”
Oh and what a tantrum Martha was having! A real three alarm hissy fit about someone questioning her power as Commissioner. Karma was on our side because she was perched perfectly in front of her laptop for the optimum camera angle. I let her go on for about 4 minutes, then told my son to drop the live feed, turn those last couple of minutes into a continuous loop for Youtube and for my mom to get us the hell out of the Country Cup.
It took longer than I would have liked because I thought we were going to need the jaws of life to extract my dad from the Camry’s backseat. As soon as he was out my mom floored it and we hauled back to my parent’s house. There Nancy and Lisa camped out in the dining room working all their social media contacts. I told them they had one hour to get the word out and then I was having Clay shut down the Youtube link (which he had set up through Nancy’s computer). I also told him to make sure he had erased or whatever you do so no one will figure out that Martha’s laptop had been cloned. My mom walked around feeding everyone and saying things like, “If I do end up serving hard time promise me you’ll bring me my Clairol.” (She’s talking about her hair dye affectionately referred to around these parts as Lone Star Blonde.)
This story has a happy ending because my team of family and friends hit a home freaking run with the bases loaded. Martha is the ex commissioner, my mother is not in jail, and Nancy and Lisa’s boys are enjoying their Little League season. Although, Lisa insists “the teams still don’t seem all that fair.” Sigh.