No sooner had she finished talking than John stormed into the room, panting.
“Daddy is calling you for dinner,” he jumbled.
“What has come over him?” Patricia asked as he stormed back out of the room.
“I don’t know,” James replied.
They both arrived at the dining for dinner to meet dad, mum, John and Uncle Pat seated. Patricia felt like a stranger was at the table with the family. James outright hated Uncle Pat’s presence at the dining table. Dad said the prayer before meal as usual, and everyone began digging in.
“Everyone, I have good news,” dad said with a reclining smile, “maybe your Uncle should let you in on it.”
Their eyes were agape. Anything good from Uncle Pat was definitely bad for them. Patricia and James glanced at each other in dreadful anticipation.
“Well, I like when your dada puts it like that, but it’s nothing that serious. I am just so happy I will be spending more time with you my precious bubbles,” Uncle Pat said.
Patricia looked at her dad as if summoning meaning out of his face. James suddenly grew pale.
“What your Uncle means is that he will no longer be spending a month with us…”
Patricia’s spirit suddenly lifted, she almost smile at dad’s statement but couldn’t for fear of what was to come. John’s eyes became wet with anticipation.
“Because his stay has been extended to three months. His company called back and…”
Patricia grew terminably deaf, she just couldn’t hear the rest of what dad was rolling out. James instantly fell ill, while Uncle Pat wore an exposing smile. It looked like a resounding win for Uncle Pat, and he basked in it.
“Aren’t you happy, children?” dad repeated as they failed to answer the first time.
It took time for Patricia and James to notice they were being asked a question, but they had no words still.
“They are so happy they can’t even express it!” Uncle Pat exclaimed with a painful grin.
Patricia felt like striking his gritted teeth with a pestle and watch them fall off. James wanted to stab his Uncle in the neck and watch that annoying smile fade into intense worry.
After dinner, Patricia and James retired to the room.
“Patricia, we have to do something quick. I can’t survive with that absurdity for three months in this house. Now is the time to let the cat out of the bag on your plan,” James uttered in distress.
“You’re right on this one, James, things have really gone out of hand. Just look at the fat pig smile, so annoying! I felt like smashing those yellow teeth with a power saw and watch him bleed out of the cracks,” she sighed, “but we mustn’t let our emotions get the better of us, at least not yet, and not like this.”
John barged into the room smiling.
“Uncle Pat has promised to take us to the cinema and bouncing castles on weekends,” he uttered in unrestrained joy.
His siblings hissed.
“Are you that cheap?” Patricia asked John, “he’s buying you with movies and inflatable castles. Such a pity.”
“Look, if you don’t have anything to say then get out of the room,” James added.
John looked confused for a moment, then he found his smile, “You people are just jealous that it’s me he told.”
Patricia and James shared glances and then laughed so hard that their bellies hurt.
“John, if you don’t get out of my room I will jam the door on your little fingers and you will never hold a pen in your life again,” Patricia suddenly became stern.
John abruptly removed his fingers from the doorframe as if Patricia’s threat had come to life.
“Jealous… jealous…” he hushed as he left the room.
“What’s wrong with John, I thought he was on our side?” James asked morosely.
“He has always been the weak link. It’s like each time Uncle Pat rubs his head he loses his tentacles,” Patricia replied.
Patricia walked to her wardrobe and brought out a pitch-black cloak. She threw it at James.
“What’s this?” James asked with a face.
“It’s the plan!” Patricia scuffed.
“You’re joking right?”
Patricia didn’t reply, instead she looked as serious as she could ever be.
“No way!” James exclaimed, “You’re serious. What are we going to use a cloak for? Don’t tell me you’re a witch now with some supernatural powers you plan to use to scare Uncle Pat out of the house.”
“There’s no such thing, James, and you know it. You wouldn’t be so shocked if you slept less and paid more attention. You see, while you and little Johnny were busy snoring away, I took it upon myself to watch Uncle Pat as he slept.”
“Wait, you did what?” James asked puzzledly.
“Yes, James, you heard right. I watched Uncle Pat while he snored and turned and made noises.”
“I don’t believe you, there’s no way you won’t have been caught.”
“Tell me, James, who would have caught me? You?” she gestured, “Or is it little Johnny, or mum, or dad?”
“What if he opened his eyes, what if he saw you?” James stressed.
“Well he didn’t,” she replied, “because I studied him. First off, he’s fat. How many fat people do you think wake up at night? I knew he wasn’t going to wake or even as much as blink because fat people tend to sleep and eat too much. He turned a couple of times but was too lazy to open ‘em eyes. But that’s not the intriguing part.”
“Patricia, you got balls!” exclaimed James.
“Said the one with balls,” she chuckled, “now do you want to know what was so intriguing about our dear dear Uncle Pat or not?”
“Tell me,” James said, still looking puzzled.
“He was making noises, James, in his sleep! Not work noises or baby noises, sentences! At one point he was begging for his life, soon after he promising never to be naughty again. I think Uncle Pat is scared of something, I think he’s haunted, and we are going to use that weakness to drive him out of the house.”
“I’m not so sure about this, Patricia,” James fidgeted.
“Are you going to sissy out on me after we’ve come this far?” Patricia reprimanded, “Do you want him out of the house or not?”
“I do,” James uttered in discomfort, “but isn’t there another way? Maybe we put a rat in his box, maybe he’s scared of spiders, maybe–”
“Quiet!” Patricia commanded, “even John can come up with something better that the rubbish you just spewed out of your mouth. Obviously, you’re not ready for the plan. If you’re not ready by tomorrow night I’d do it alone. Good night.”