Where Is Your Mother?

Overheard in the Police Station on Shelter Island

“How many does that make now, Greg?”

Thirty Seven. Thirty seven Island mothers in hiding till school opens. Their kids are all running wild all over the place. The Dads are semi-comatose walking around their houses babbling, ‘Where is your mother?’ all day. It’s a mess.”

“Any chance they got off Island, Bob?”

“None. We’ve had guys at the ferries checking all the off bound cars for the past two weeks. All the private boats are accounted for and we’ve published a warning that any Islander caught aiding and abetting an Island mother to escape will have to take care of her children till school opens.” [expand]

“Kinda stiff punishment ain’t it?”

“Yeah, but we gotta take a tough stand. This is getting worse every year. Island kids don’t have a big fancy Youth Center, no movies, no book and cafe stores, they have absolutely nothing to do and if they get off Island to have any fun, they have to make the last ferry at 2 a.m. or they sleep in the parking lots till 6 a.m. It’s tough being a teen on Shelter Island. The only fun they have is torturing their bratty younger siblings and their parents. Parents do the best they can. Some turn to alcohol and drugs, some hide in the woods till Labor Day.”

“Hey, Bob—did anyone think of checking the deer blinds?”

“Yeah. We think lots of them are there, but we can’t seem to catch them. We used hundreds of melted down Hersey’s bars to make chocolate licks to draw them out, but they just disappeared. We chained a couple of young handsome tourists to some trees with alarm bells on them, but in the morning, all that was left of them was their shoelaces and a lovely thank you note. We think we may have thought up one idea that might work, but it’s very expensive.”

“What ever it is, we should do it. I’m tired of corralling these kids all the time.”

“All the Island husbands had a meeting to discuss what women like more than chocolate and sex. Suddenly, like the gleam of the sun off of a fishing line that just went tight, it dawned on everybody. Shopping. Labor Days Sales…shopping. It’s our only hope. The Town Board is debating approving a $500 Tanger Mall debit card, plus bus transportation, plus package carrying, and purse holding assistance, for every mother who turns herself in. We’re ready to shower the Island with fliers. The biggest surprise—even the kids are willing to pitch in. They’re all so sick of foraging for food in empty cupboards, they’re offering to clean the houses if the mothers come back. How’s that for a kicker?”

“Holy moly! I never thought I’d hear that. We’re not going to punish the moms at all—you know, for abandoning their posts?”

“Not necessary, returning home to take care of their bratty, unappreciative, smart ass kids is punishment enough for anyone.”

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