Updated: Jan 24, 2021
We hadn't seen our distant cousins Jean-Claude & Ludvic (10 and 12) and their parents in a couple of years. When they rung our door bell that evening, they never could have imagined what had gone on behind the scenes prior to their arrival. I had convinced my parents to tell them that I was away with some friends. You see I never quite liked their company (ok, I was and still am anti-social), especially those two little brats. So I decided to hide in my room for the evening.
True to his nature, the father , a loud, overly agitated, insanely hairy orangutan-looking man, proceeded to hug and kiss each of the members of our family three times as was his custom. "My you've grown so much come here give me a hug!" he said to each of my already terrorized brothers.
He and his wife Betsy were invited to sit down in the living room. Promptly, my dad offered them an apéritif cocktail in the hopes it would slowly but surely have the effects of calming the over exuberant father down (If it was up to me I would have slipped some Robitussion cough syrup in there too). Moments later, Lord behold, the entire house trembled, as Horace (the father) yelled in a barbaric tribal voice "where is the oldest one, what's his name, Paul??!!!" . "Oh he's away at summer camp up North, Horace he sends his regards" nervously replied my mother. "HOOOOO that's too bad he is .... well...he must have grown quite a bit since the last time I saw him!" replied the talking Sasquatch.
During this whole time, I sat silently hiding in my bedroom, (of course ear to the glass on the door so I could hear everything that was going on). Within a couple of hours I was getting quite hungry The kids were in the play room , adjacent to my bedroom, busy playing video games. I decided I couldn't wait any longer to eat so I put on some thick slippers, and quietly opened my door so they couldn't hear me and began throwing little pieces of wet toilet paper at my brothers to get their attention (the two cousins had their backs turned to me ). But it was in vain. My clueless brothers could have been hit on the head by a volleyball they probably wouldn't have realized what was going on. So, I decided to call them by walkie talkie (for those that don't know that was a "thing" back in the 80s). The 2 cousins started suspecting something fishy was going on and asked about these little pieces of rolled up toilet paper that were falling on their heads (hey my aim was never very good).. My younger brother finally heard his walkie talkie beeping and ran to the closet to go pick it up. I pleaded for him to bring me some food.
Ludvic, the older of the 2 cousins, asked my brother when he got back who he was talking to. My brother responded that he just liked to hum things to himself. The cousins were giving my brothers perplexed looks. My brother ran upstairs and went to whisper in my mother's ear that I was hungry. Nervous that this evening would turn into a debacle she nevertheless went to prepare some food and put it in a small tray. As my brother went down the stairs, trying to hide the tray, Jean-Claude saw him proceeding to slip the sandwiches under my bedroom door. "What....where are you putting those sandwiches" he questioned my brother. "Uuuumm... eeuuu.. our dog is in the room." "Dog? I didn't know you had a dog? He has his own bedroom?...he actually eats full sandwiches...??" asked the cousin, confused beyond belief. "Yeah he loves it". Moments later, done with the sandwiches and not realizing they could hear me doing this, I slid the tray back under the door for my brother to pick it up. Again, my cousins were completely stunned and wondered out loud how a dog knew when he was finished eating that he could slip the tray back under the door.
A couple of hours went by and the cousins got bored of the video games , and demanded to play ping pong in our garage, also adjacent to my bedroom. But Ludvic, the wise little brat that he was had made up his mind to investigate the noises in the room. Immediately, turning himself into a pet detective, the little bratty sleuth decided to try and open my bedroom door to find out what was lurking behind there. Not to be outdone and quite astute myself I saw this coming a mile away (there was no lock on my door) and so I pinned my bed and dresser against the door right before he began pushing up against it. The door opened a little, enough for him to figure out that there was no lock. And true to form, the door kept pushing back at him. Had the fool caught me red-handed? Would my whole family be embarassed once again by my juvenile antics? (Did I mention I was almost 16 at the time?)
Thanks be to God, my other brother Ralph came by and asked what was going on. "I want to see the dog you bought'' barked the cousin. "No you can't, he has a habit of biting children" and he quickly convinced my cousin to turn around and leave the premises.
I decided I had no choice left but to escape the house. I opened the back door in my bedroom that gave to the street. Little did I know what my punishment would be. Out of this door came about 6 or 7 garden spiders. Being a full-fledged arachnophobe , I yelled and began throwing heavy textbooks at them, retreated back inside and slammed the door shut. The cousins were getting jittery , wondering what kind of a nut house they were in. That may have been what triggered my cousin's epileptic attack moments later. Within seconds, he was on the ground, flipping around like a freshly-caught sardine. It was enough to set off massive pandemonium from his parents as well as my entire family. Total. Utter. Hysteria ensued. The ambulance was immediately called.
The emergency attendant on the phone advised my cousin's mother to put a pillow under the poor kid's head. In a state of panic she asked my mom where she could find a pillow. My mom, dumbstruck and shaken like a good martini, was unable to speak. So, naturally, Betsy ran to the nearest bedroom, which so happened to be mine. She shoved the door open and went searching for a pillow on my bed but there was no pillow to be found (I had earlier put it against the bottom of the door to hide the light in the room). Betsy then immediately proceeded to open the closet's sliding door, and sure enough, there I was, pillow in hand.