Eric Baysinger – Mother Earth Has Grounded Us – Pandemic

“Mother Earth Has Grounded Us”
by Eric Baysinger

        “But I said I’m sorry!”

          “I recognize that you’re sorry, but that’s not good enough.”

          “But whadda I hafta do?”

          “I’ve decided you need to stay home and think about what you’ve done.”

          “Well, but, for how long?”

          “I think about three months.”

          “THREE MONTHS?!?”

          “March to April, April to May, May to June.”

          “But…but…but that’s FOREVER!”

          “It’ll go by quickly. You’ll see.”

          “No, it won’t! What about school? What about work? What about all my FRIENDS?”

          “They’re all grounded too, so you see, you’re no exception.”

          “This isn’t FAIR!”

          “I know, honey, but this is the way things are going to be for a while.”

          “What am I supposed to do all day, Mom?”

          “Well, you can clean your room for starters.”


          “It’s really dirty in there. You’ve got a big oil spill right there in the Caribbean and another… c’mere… another one there in North Dakota. You can spend a lot of time cleaning those up.”

          “I didn’t do those.”

          “Well, who did then? I didn’t put oil out on the ground. I warned you about pipelines, honey.”

          “Yeah, but…”

          “Don’t kick at it, honey. You’ll just grind it into the carpet. We’ll get some Dawn and water later, plus a scrub brush.”

          “This sucks.”

          “Attitude is everything, baby. This doesn’t have to stink. You’ll see. You stay home and a whole lot of nice things will happen.”

          “Like what?”

          “The air will be cleaner and animals can roam around easier. You’ll like watching them, won’t you?”


          “Bunnies and pigs and monkeys. Lots of them. It’ll be quieter too and while you’re indoors you can write or paint. You can learn instruments and I’ll teach you lots of things.”

          “Like school?”

          “Sort of, uh huh. We can do math and gym class. You can run around a lot outside. Just stay in our yard.”

          “I suppose.”

          “Great. I’m really proud of how you’re taking this. Someday you’ll be a grown up and you can take care of this whole Earth by yourself! Won’t that be nice?”

          “You mean someday when I have kids?”

          “Well, we’ll talk about overpopulation later. It’s a crowded world and you need to learn to share it better.”

          “Later like tonight?”

          “Later like puberty, but right now come help me. We’re going to make some bread!”

          “Why don’t you just buy it like usual?”

          “I’m pretty old, honey. It’s better for both of us if we stay home as much as we can. You understand?”


          “That’s okay. We have lots of time to figure this out. Now come on and you can help me sift the flour.”

          “I love you, Mom.”

          “Aw, aren’t you sweet? I love you too, honey. Go wash your hands and remember to cough into your sleeve, all right?”


          “After that we’ll get started and I’m going to pour you a nice glass of lemonade. You feel pretty feverish.”


Eric Baysinger is an Iowan transplanted to Pittsburgh. He has written four novels: Nine Attempts, Brother-out-law, Beck and Caul, Spring 1919, and Your Middle Finger’s Sense of I.  He is currently working on number five, Mage in Motion.