“It was an accident.” Oliver shrugged his shoulders.
Cameron nodded in agreement. “Honest, it was. We would never do anything to break anything in the house.”
“Well,” Wayne sighed, “I wouldn’t.”
Cameron and Oliver glared at their brother.
Betty closed her eyes lightly and tried to calmly count to ten as her three boys argued in the background. She had no doubts that it was an accident, but she couldn’t stand it when they tried to blame each other or brush off the crime as though nothing had happened.
Sure, it was just the priceless vase that Betty’s grandmother had given her when she got married. The vase was only passed down for five generations before her.
Betty opened her eyes and looked up at the ceiling. “Why…? Why did it have to break on my watch…?”
Betty looked back down and all three of her boys stood side by side staring up at her puzzled. “Nothing,” she muttered. Louder, she added, “What exactly happened?”
“We were having a pillow fight.” Cameron sang like a canary. Both his brothers elbowed him from either side. “Ow!”
Betty pinched the bridge of her nose and grunted.
“It was a harmless pillow fight.” Oliver said.
“Yeah, there weren’t even any pillows involved. We were just using the cases. We know how upset you get when we have pillow fights in the house.” Wayne explained.
Betty glared at the boys. They were having a pillow fight without the pillows? Well, if that wasn’t a lie then she didn’t know what was.
“You know what? Accidents happen.” Betty said. “I can’t fault anyone for having an accident. There’s nothing we can really do about it.”
The boys’ faces perked up. They exchanged smiles as though they thought they were actually going to get away with their misdeed.
“All I ask is that you clean it up afterwards.” Betty said.
“Of course, Mom!” Wayne agreed right away.
“But, there’s just one thing that I can’t tolerate…” Betty continued.
Her sons froze in their tracks as they were just about to grab the broom and dustpan. They slowly turned around; slight horror on their faces as they wondered just what was up their mother’s sleeve.
“I can’t tolerate lying.” She said and watched as all three boys averted their gaze to the ground. “You know the rules, boys. No pillow fights in the house. I expect all three of you to clean this up right away and then…” Betty paused to think of a suitable punishment.
“No TV for the rest of the day and I want you all to play by yourselves.” She finally declared.
All three boys’ jaws dropped. Just as they were about to protest, Betty held up a hand and turned the other way.
“I don’t want to hear it,” she said. “Just clean it up and then disband for the rest of the day. If I hear the television, then the punishment extends to tomorrow. That’ll be all.”
Betty walked away hearing the boys groan. As soon as she was around the corner, she let out a deep sigh. She didn’t enjoy punishing her sons, but she always felt satisfied once they learned their lesson.
Now she just had to see whether other not she ended up punishing herself… without each other and with no TV, the boys were bound to get bored.
Betty looked up at the clock. It was only three in the afternoon. She may be in for a long night.