The army is advancing, headed toward my street. From the look of it, they'll be here in T-minus two minutes, spreading out, covering the left flank (Mrs. Hoolihan's yard) and the right (Mr. Ledbetter's). I'm busted. They've already seen me, water hose in hand, trying to coax a few last-minute blooms out of the periwinkle before first frost.
At this point, the only way I can avoid the Cub Scouts selling popcorn to the east and the chorus students (including my own Precious!) peddling catalogs for everything from chocolate turtles to Newsweek to sorta-silver necklaces to the west, is to lay down in the shrubbery and pretend to be dead.
Even then, the persistent school/Scout sales team, none over 5 feet tall, will probably poke at my "body" just to make sure.
Can I really stand the chubby Cub Scout from down the street telling the others, "Snap! She's not even cold yet; wish we'd gotten here a few minutes sooner. From the size of her, I'd guess she was good for at least a coupla pounds of Coconut Almond Treasures."
Would the Princess look dejected and only muster a lame, "She was alive when she made my lunch four hours ago"?
The Scouts are selling popcorn and candy at prices that would shame the neighborhood crack dealer. The popcorn's sold in "holiday embossed tins" that are roughly the size of a doghouse.
A flier left in the door earlier in the day advised, "It's time to order your holiday popcorn!" The wise men brought gold, frankincense and myrrh, not butter-toffee, confetti and bedda chedda.
Whatever. I can easily say no to strangers, even the ones in uniform. And I can even say no to my mom-friends who have torpedoed more than a few girls' nights out by covering the table - and displacing my yummy pear martini - with an array of overpriced gift wrap samples for their kids' school fundraiser.
But saying no to the Princess is, naturally, much harder.
There are four catalogs to choose from, she chirps while fanning them out on the coffee table one night.
"Isn't-it-time-you-said-Yes-to-aromatic-oils," she begins in a stilted monotone and I hold up my hand to stop her before she can add "Sir-or-Madam."
"I don't need any."
But she has been trained, Navy SEAL style, apparently. Failure is not an option.
"Dreidel salt and pepper shakers?"
"We're not Jewish."
"Caramel mittens and chocolate kittens?"
"If I sell $500 worth of merchandise, I get a cool hamburger phone just like in 'Juno.'"
Great. My daughter's role model is a pregnant teenager who talks into a sesame seed bun. Naturally I caved. What else could I do? She's in the Army now.