Seven Dreams Involving "Super Nanny" Jo Frost
by: Max Burbank
I AM ON TV
The crew of Super Nanny is filming at my house. I'm not sure I understand why, as my daughters are a model of behavior. They are offering the soundmen tea while my wife looks on with pride. I am trying to fix our toilet, lying on my back underneath it, but none of the tools seem designed for what I am trying to do. I notice that the crew is filming me. They make me nervous. There seems to be an enormous amount of very small, intricate and ancient ductwork involved in the workings of our toilet. I begin using tiny clamps and a series of small hanging magnifying lenses, but I can't be sure I am doing it right. I begin to think perhaps I should stop and call a plumber, but with the crew filming me I am too embarrassed to admit defeat. I ask them if they shouldn't be filming my children but they tell me this footage is for the very important "B roll". At last I am finished. Now the entire crew is crammed into my bathroom. Two cameramen, a boom guy, the director. I ask when Super nanny Jo Frost will be arriving. "Oh, she's on her way. She should be here pretty soon." Says the sound guy and a few of the crew stifle laughter. "You probably need to test that out, see if it works." I pretend not to have heard him, start packing up my tools. He is adamant and insists I test the toilet. Feeling sick, I slowly lower my trousers and sit on the toilet. The flesh on my thighs is very white and rises in goose bumps. "I meant you should flush it," says the director, "But this works too." I can hear the camera rolling. "Super Nanny Jo Frost is gonna love this," The boom guy tells me. "She has a real thing for this kind of footage. This is the kind of footage she can't get enough of."
OUT OF CONTROL
Super Nanny Jo Frost has come to my home because my children are out of control. She stands in my poorly lit hallway staring at me. Did I ask her to come here? I don't know. The children are everywhere, filthy, frenzied, partially clothed, swarming like rats. Can all these children be mine? How did it happen? I don't think I even have a wife. I am like a crazy cat woman except, instead of cats, I have children. Super Nanny picks one naked, squalling child up by the nape of the neck. It howls and flails. I tell her its name is "Eustace". She asks me how old he is, but I don't know and all I can do is shrug and grin stupidly and sweat. He's covered in dirt and grease, you can clearly see his ribs and he seems to be completely feral. I try really hard to remember a single thing about him beyond his name, and tell her he likes Twinkies, being left at the bus station and The Weather Channel.
"That's not enough," Super nanny Jo Frost tells me. "That's not nearly enough."
NOT MY FAULT
The Andersons are an active couple living outside of Buffalo, New York. Sven and Barbara Jean Anderson waited sixteen years into their marriage before having children, and now are at the mercy of their three girls. Audra, a five-and-a-half-year-old, dominates the household with her tantrums, demands, violent outbursts and intermittent amateur cello practice. The three-year-old identical twins Laura and Owly cry all the time and communicate only with each other in a secret twin language that sounds like mice being killed with a hammer. Complicating things is father Sven, whose job as an eighteenth-century harpooner on a whaling vessel takes him out of town for years at a time.
"He's so distant with the girls!" Barbara Jean tells Super nanny Jo Frost. "He exercises no control at all." Sven looks haunted and rattles carved ivory balls in his hand.
"And what do you bring to the mix?" Super Nanny asks me. I try to tell her I do not even know these people, and I don't, but it seems unlikely, crammed as we are into their breakfast nook. Sven and Barbara Jean stare at me. Super Nanny Jo Frost stares at me.
In the kitchen, Audra plays Chopin's Cello Sonata in G over Owly's burning remains.
"Did you do that?" Super Nanny asks her. "Did you set your sister on fire?" No one asks where Laura is. All eyes are on me.
THE NAUGHTY STEP
I am sitting on the naughty step. I don't now what my offense was, or how it's appropriate for me to be in a time out, as in the dream I am a grown man. Super Nanny Jo Frost stands at the bottom of the stairway and asks if I am ready to come off the naughty step. I tell her I don't know what I've done, but she says I do. I tell her that I am forty-five years old, that I have a job, children of my own. She just stares at me sternly, and it is then I realize I am not wearing a shirt, and only shorts that are way too small for me, and made of some sort of bathing suit material, though they are not a bathing suit. She asks me if I am sorry I did the bad thing and again I tell her I don't know what I've done. Super Nanny Jo Frost laughs. She is very tall, so tall that even though I am halfway up the steps and she is at the bottom, I have to look up to see her face. "All little boys do the bad thing," She tells me. "There is not one little boy who does not. It is in here nature. A little boy could not keep from doing the bad thing any more than they could keep from breathing." I realize I am holding a C clamp, and while I still do not understand what 'the bad thing is' I'm fairly certain you can't do it with out a C clamp, so I offer it to her. Then without transition we are together on the deck of an ocean liner. She tells me we will soon dock in Cabo San Lucas, where a doctor she knows will "Install a shunt" that will "drain my black liquids".
I feel ill.
SO MANY DRAWERS
My wife returns from a business trip and discovers I have lost the children.
"I never should have trusted you," she says "You can't keep track of anything."
We look all over the house. There are Post-It notes everywhere, reminding me of things I am supposed to do. "Clean the Catbox!" "Do not wear the same undershirt to work two days in a row." "Get Sour Cream." "While I am gone, do NOT send the children to school without scraping them!"
I am thinking about calling the police when I hear my wife shouting she has found them. I find her in the basement, standing before and enormous chest of drawers shaped like Super Nanny Jo Frost.
"Honestly." my wife says, grinning at me the way she does when I can't find my keys. She pulls open a drawer. It is filled with what appear to be dead, stuffed tropical birds.
I tell her those are not the children.
"Not yours, maybe." she replies.
I see a Doctor on account of a terrible headache. He straps me into an ancient medical chair and begins to probe vigorously in my ear with an ornate pair of tweezers. After a moment he pulls something out and says, "I thought this might be the problem."
In the tweezers is a tiny, perfect Super Nanny Jo Frost. Her chest has been crushed. She appears to be dead.
"It's super hard to get them out alive," the doctor says with a sickly, guilty grin.
He does not charge me, but asks that I keep the visit 'under my hat'.
In some kind of post-apocalyptic future, I am tremendously old and living with my extended clan in an enormous, fossilized skeleton of a giant Super Nanny Jo Frost. I am feeble and delicate, I can barely move at all. I am lying in some sort of very comfortable nest, surrounded by, perhaps made of my fine white old man's hair and beard. Tubes run from me to bags of liquid hanging everywhere, but I am very comfortable. A procession approaches me, led by a sort of fairy-like teenage girl with antennae. She is holding a swaddled infant, which at the moment I can't see at all because of the blankets. She addresses me as great grandfather, but I understand she is my distant descendant. She tells me they have journeyed for three days from the pelvis without sleeping to show me the baby, this baby, who is perfect, everything we have worked for. She pulls back the blanket. The baby's' head looks like a big flesh-colored, sleeping bug. Somehow it's not disgusting, but it certainly doesn't look like I thought it would. I guess I make kind of a disappointed face, because everybody starts crying.
"You old shit!" The girl with the baby screams at me, "You stupid bag of old sausage!"
The baby starts to cry, a thin, awful accusatory sound. Now everyone is mad at me because I woke the baby up. They all leave, though I beg them to stay, tell them the baby is really cute, which it definitely is not.
Eventually the lights go out. I can hardly see anything. I need to go to the bathroom. I call, but no one comes.
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