Grendel’s Mother vs. the Manager at ShopRite

When Grendel’s mother tries to buy 24 cans of tuna using her “Buy five, get the sixth free” coupon, the cashier informs her that the coupons are limited to one per visit. Grendel’s mother rips the cashier’s throat out and asks to see the manager. After weeks of grappling and much bloodshed, the manager concedes that Grendel’s mother can use three coupons in this visit. Grendel’s mother hands the manager his severed leg and apologizes for the confusion.

Grendel’s Mother vs. Grendel’s
Seventh-Grade Teacher

Enraged that Grendel will not be placed in honors math, Grendel’s mother has a parent-teacher conference with Mr. Isman.

MR. ISMAN: While Grendel is quite a bright young, um, pupil, we just don’t have enough room in the honors class for him, and we believe he will be adequately served by the standard seventh-grade track.

GRENDEL’S MOTHER: Braaak! Gnarsh!

She then explains that she will grasp one of the other students in the manner of a cudgel and start swinging, bludgeoning to death as many students as it takes until room opens up for her son. Mr. Isman requests a larger classroom.

Grendel’s Mother vs. Grendel

Grendel, on winter break, returns from college with his new girlfriend, a human girl, Joyceline, from the surface, who is majoring in psychology. Grendel’s mother sits sullenly at the kitchen table, hardly making conversation.

JOYCELINE: It must have been hard raising Grendel as a single mother, but you did such a great job.

GRENDEL’S MOTHER: Hmm? Oh, gnarsh.

Grendel excuses himself after dinner to help his mother with the dishes in the kitchen of her underwater lair, then asks her what the problem is. Grendel’s mother complains that Joyceline is not mereish, and that she won’t take their relationship seriously, since Grendel obviously isn’t looking to marry this girl. Grendel protests, but G.M. starts badgering him, asking how he’s going to bring up the children, assuming they’ll swim down to her lair to visit only once or twice a year. The two argue, break dishes, and gnash their teeth at each other for a while, finally agreeing to disagree. Tensions are still running high when they return to the dinner table and try to enjoy the baklava, which got waterlogged on the trip down. Weeks later, Grendel tells Joyceline he doesn’t think it will work out.

Grendel’s Mother vs. Tom Cruise

Grendel’s mother, an avid Oprah fan, is initially concerned about her longtime celebrity crush, Tom Cruise, when she sees his now-famous appearance on Oprah’s show. His engagement to Katie Holmes only exacerbates the situation, as G.M. is painfully reminded of Grendel’s father disappearing one night after going to the store for a six-pack of grog, then reappearing ten years later with a younger wife, demanding visiting rights. Tom’s comments on postpartum depression, however, send her over the edge. She remembers the months after giving birth to Grendel, and how she found herself overwhelmed at home. She had trouble sleeping, yet often felt tired. Some days she felt like she had lost something that she would never get back. In the middle of devouring a man’s intestines, she would just walk away, unheeding of the man’s pained screams. One Sunday, before her weekly battle with the Times crossword, she sits down and writes an incensed letter to Cruise, proposing that instead of talking at each other they actually sit down and discuss the issue like two adults, or at least meet and battle until one of them has been sufficiently mauled and beaten to death. Cruise replies with a form letter thanking her for her support, and a signed headshot.