"Awful!" Mom yelled.
I nodded, smug. "I thought you might like it."
Mom got into a stare contest with herself. She blinked first. "Did you have to give me those bags under my eyes? And I look so old. And sad."
Mom sighed, sad. "I suppose I am sad."
"It's based on Picasso's portrait of Gertrude Stein. Mine is better, though."
I propped the painting on the cat's scratching post.
"Don't put it there! Do you think I want to look at myself all day?"
"Maybe Mewy wants to look at it? No? Okay, where do--"
"Shh. Did you hear that? That's Penny. She must be home for lunch..."
Penny was Mom's new neighbor. A lawyer, she had lured my mom into a maze of circular reasoning in order to get her to walk her two dogs when she was at work.
"She left me a long list yesterday of things she wants me to do. Can you believe that? Am I her servant now?"
"Just tell her you--"
"Oh! And she left me a ten dollar bill on the kitchen counter! I told her I'm just being neighborly! And I don't want her money. Can you believe this? How do I get into these situations? I just wanted to be a good neighbor... She has all these locks on her door and wants me to lock everything up after I leave and put the leashes and everything else just as I found it. I think she has OCD. But this list she has for me, you should see it, Greg. It goes on and on! So I just hope she finds the poop I put in her trash."
"You pooped in her trash? Wow, things are escalating fast..."
"I picked up her dogs' poop and I made sure to cut the bags open and empty the poop in her trash so she could see that I had picked up the poop. She was really insistent on that point. So now she'll see I did it."
"Ugh. I guess things could be worse."
"And she keeps her lights on all night. Every light in the house, and her porch light! But I can't sleep because the light comes into my bedroom."
"Can't you tell her it'd be nice to have more darkness?"
"Oh, I couldn't. I'll just have to learn how to sleep with the light burning in my eyeballs."
"Maybe get some thick drapes, then? I'm just spit-ballin' here."
Mom turned her attention back to herself. "Oh, Greg, why are my hands so small?"
"I don't know. Maybe you should run for president?"