Jerrod is laying on the living room couch, repeatedly tossing a basketball towards the ceiling.

“Picture this,” he says.

His mother, Sylvia, stirs a pot of macaroni and cheese in the kitchen. She’s tempted to tell him to stop tossing the ball around but bites her tongue. She hasn’t won any of her recent arguments with her 15-year-old son.

“Picture what?” she replies, turning off the stove fan so she can hear better.

“What if every time you stepped foot in your garden this summer, you didn’t see a single weed?” The basketball hits the ceiling, but just barely.

“Hard for me to imagine that, Jerrod, but I’m trying…” Sylvia scoops the macaroni into two bowls and braces herself for Jerrod’s forthcoming offer.

“Okay okay, but I think it’s possible mom…if you had someone to help.”

“I’m all ears.”

“Okay okay, but first, also picture this.” Jerrod sets the basketball down for a second and sits up. “Picture me this summer wearing a fresh new pair of forest green Air Force 1s.”

Sylvia hands Jerrod his bowl of macaroni and closes her eyes. “I’m trying to but I’m not sure what brand an Air Force 1 is. Is that Reebok?”

“Oh my god mom, no they’re Nike.”

“Alright, I see you now, Jerrod. You’re putting on your forest green Nikes. It’s 7 a.m. and you’re about to go weed my garden.”

“I would never…”

“I thought that was the whole deal, Jerrod.”

“Well yeah, but I won’t be gardening in my new shoes.”

“Oh, of course.”

“Of course? So, it’s a deal?”

“Not so fast. I’m not sure if the gardening duty is enough for me to justify the spend. How much are we talking here?” Sylvia sits down on the couch and turns on the TV.

“Only $120, maybe $140. Let me double check.”

Sylvia changes channels and glances over at her son, who is frantically Googling the prized sneakers to verify the price. She can tell he’s trying to think of something else to throw in the deal.

“Alright, I found them…$150.”

“Ooh, the price keeps going up. I dunno…” Sylvia turns the TV volume up and stays silent.

“What if I promise not to throw the ball in the house for the entire summer?”

“What if you promise, or what if you follow through on that promise?”

“Mom, you know what I mean. C’mon…”

“Okay okay, deal.”


“Yes. The weed pulling starts next week.”

Jerrod jumps off the couch in joy, almost spilling his dinner. “Thank you thank you thank you. I’ll grab your laptop so we can order them right now.”

Sylvia smiles and shakes her head as Jerrod runs to the other room to retrieve her laptop and credit card. When she first became a mother, she never would have guessed how many negotiations it would entail. Thankfully, this one was fun.