(Strip Number 7216, Original Publication Date, 11 May 1986)
Panel 1: We find ourselves in Mrs Baird's backyard today watching Thelma supervise Mike as he happily does her weeding.
Panel 2: He then happily rakes all the dead grass and other litter left over from last winter.
Panel 3: The strip proper begins when he comes back in the house and Elly asks him where he's been all morning.
Panel 4: He says that he's been next door helping Mrs Baird.
Panel 5: He tells Elly about the weeding and raking we saw in the throw-away panels.
Panel 6: He goes on to talk about putting the screens in her patio doors and cleaning the windows to her greenhouse.
Panel 7: He concludes by talking about how he put some firewood into a shed and swept the stairs.
Panel 8: Elly thinks that this is quite wonderful and asks why he doesn't do that here.
Panel 9: When he exclaims "HERE?.....But MOM!!! That's WORK!!!!!," she gets all kinds of confused.
Summary: This is because she doesn't remember something we're going to see tomorrow about how she turns everything into a punishment for his being a kid. Homework? PUNISHMENT!!! Chores? PUNISHMENT!!! Trumpet Practice? PUNISHMENT!!! Going outside to play? PUNISHMENT!!!
Simply put, he helps people like he perceives as not being out to destroy him because they never had the ability to enjoy life even when they were his age and hate that he has it. Since John and Elly run around wailing about how awful it is that he has free will and can laugh, they get nothing from him.