Ultra Short Story | Babysit

[ est. reading time: 1’32”]

I have been babysitting Sarah and Pete since they were in diapers and now we were watching some dumb reality show. They’re getting too old for a sitter, I’m too old to be a sitter. I don’t really need the money, but I’ve grown so attached to them over the years that I can’t find a real reason stop. On screen we watch some spoiled Barbie girl crying she got the wrong color car for her sweet sixteen. The dad just stands there, like a neutered dog wishing he could lick the balls he no longer has. The mom has this spaced out look like she’s on some pharmaceutical while the kid brother steals the keys and drives off. The others don’t even notice. Sure, I know these things are scripted and all, but can you imagine having to live with these people? I’d rather scratch out my eyeballs.
I get up, ‘want something from the kitchen?’ Deaf ears. I ask again and think I hear them say something about Doritos. I throw in some carrots in the hope they will eat them. Vitamin A is important for good skin and what broken out teenager doesn’t need some help in that department? Back in the living room I notice they have changed the channel. As soon as they realize I’ve returned they flip it back. But not quick enough. Foreign sounding words as I see a man kneeling in an orange prison suit, his executioner is dressed in black. Face covered as his knife catches the last rays of the dying desert sun, setting symbolically as another human being is about to lose. Head. Life. Everything.
The obnoxious teenage girl is now hysterically hugging her dad as he promises her another car with all optional extras possible. In blue. I think I’m gonna be sick.

QUOTE on justice:

“The primitive idea of justice is partly legalized revenge and partly expiation by sacrifice. It works out from both sides in the notion that two blacks make a white, and that when a wrong has been done, it should be paid for by an equivalent suffering. It seems to the Philistine majority a matter of course that this compensating suffering should be inflicted on the wrongdoer for the sake of its deterrent effect on other would-be wrongdoers; but a moment’s reflection will shew that this utilitarian application corrupts the whole transaction. For example, the shedding of blood cannot be balanced by the shedding of guilty blood. Sacrificing a criminal to propitiate God for the murder of one of his righteous servants is like sacrificing a mangy sheep or an ox with the rinderpest: it calls down divine wrath instead of appeasing it. In doing it we offer God as a sacrifice the gratification of our own revenge and the protection of our own lives without cost to ourselves; and cost to ourselves is the essence of sacrifice and expiation.”

George Bernard Shaw,
from Androcles and the Lion