River, my ten-year-old, was cleaning under the couch and was getting frustrated, so I told her she’s doing a better job at it than the Princesses of Power and the Best Friends Squad would.
“Really?” she asked.
“Yep! Just think. Princess Plumeria would see the problems under that couch and be like, ‘I will plant potatoes and strawberries and GIANT PURPLE FLOWERS in this couch!’ Poof. Potatoes everywhere. And pretty flowers. But STILL a mess. And Mermista would be like, ‘Ugh, really, I’ve got this, I mean, if it has to be done, I guess,’ and would lift her arms like this and SPLASH, FLOOD THE COUCH with waves and dolphins and little wriggly jellyfish, but it would still be a mess, just a wet mess. And Frosta would be like, ‘Stand back, princesses!’ ZAP! and the couch would be FROZEN.”
River: “Oh no! It would freeze your BUTT if you sat on it!”
Me: “Yep. It sure would. Not a good solution. And Bow would shoot an arrow at the couch…”
River: “And the couch would be covered in green goo!”
Me: “Yep. And Glimmer would be like SPARKLE SPARKLE SPARKLE! TAKE THAT EVIL COUCH! AAAAA! SPARKLE SPARKLE!!!! and it would be the shiniest messy couch in the universe. Even the dirt would be shiny.”
River: “Ew! Shiny dirt!”
Me: “And Adora would swing her sword and shout FOR THE HONOR OF GRAYSKULL and she’d be like, I’m gonna SHE-RA HEAL THIS COUCH!!! except Chop, slash, chop, she’d cut the couch in two!”
River: “Then there’d be TWO dirty couches!”
Me: “Yep. And then Catra shows up and she’s like, ‘Heyyyy Adora,’ and she tries to take care of the couch but she goes Scratch, Scratch, Scratch, and now the couch is all cut up…”
Me: “And Catra goes ‘ARRRRRGHHHHH THIS IS SO FRUSTRATING, here, Scorpia, you do it.’ And Scorpia is like, ‘Yes! I’m on it! I’ve got to do this for Catra! Clack! Clack! Wow, this is really hard when you’re a scorpion princess and you don’t have hands, clack! clack! Don’t worry, Catra, I’ve got this, anything for my Catra, clack! clack!'”
River: “Catra’s so mean.”
Me: “Yeah, she’s a REALLY bad friend.”
River: “But what about Entrapta? She has moving hair!”
Me: “Oh yeah, so Princess Entrapta designs a bunch of tiny robots that pick up all the crumpled papers and half-eaten cookies and then she hacks the code on the vacuum cleaner and names the vacuum cleaner Emily and it vacuums up all the dust while Entrapta hangs upside down from the ceiling watching and enjoys a plate of tiny food. And she monitors how long the job takes and correlates all the data and says things like, “For SCIENCE!” and is like, “Faaaaaaascinating.” And then the couch is clean and spotless and Entrapta’s already distracted and busy programming the fireplace to open portals to other planets. Entrapta’s got this. She’s a scientist. But you’re literally doing better with that couch than ANYone else on the Best Friends Squad.”
Me: “So. What did we learn from this?”
River: “Learn all the science!”
Me: “You got it, River-bear.”
Stant Litore writes fiction about gladiators on dinosaurback, Old Testament prophets battling the hungry dead, geneticists growing biological starships, and time-traveling hijabi bisexual defenders of humanity from the future, as well as books about ancient Greek and sacred texts. He also teaches intensive crash courses for writers on character development and worldbuilding. You can find all of that on this website.
Young River is awesomeness incarnate. She likes She-Ra, mathematics, mysteries, and rockclimbing.