When Andy opened his bedroom door and stepped back in, the triplets started singing.

“The tigers are going to eat you.

The tigers are going to eat you.”

“We’ll see about that,” said Andy.  He knelt down on his bed and picked up his largest white tiger.  He whispered in the tiger’s ear.

Then he put the tiger up to his ear and pretend to listen.  And then he set the tiger back down on his bed.

“My tiger says you’re lying,” Andy said.  “He says he would never eat me.  And he says you didn’t talk to the tigers.  Which I already knew because you can’t talk to my tigers.  They only talk to me.  And he says they’re going to eat you tonight even if you’re awake.  And you can’t stop them.”

Donny started to whimper.  The three boys huddled close together.

“I think we’ll sleep with Mom and Dad tonight,” said Johnny.  Andy thought that was a good idea.  They should sleep with Mom and Dad every night.

 

Andy turned to the next page in the booklet

“Step Nine:  Threaten.”

 

Andy went back to the kitchen.  “Mom,” he said.  “If you don’t give me my own room I’m going to run away from home.”

His mother looked up from cutting carrots and smiled a sad smile.  “If you must, you must,” she said, “but I wish you wouldn’t.  We love you too much and would miss you terribly.  Would you like me to help you pack?”

Andy grimaced, clapped his hands to his head, and turned and went back to his room.  He didn’t want his mom to help pack.  He didn’t really want to run away.  It was just a threat.  And it didn’t work.

When he entered his room, the triplets were sitting quietly on his bed.

Andy sat down at his desk.

“Andy?” said Johnny quietly.

Andy turned and looked at them.

“We cleaned up your clothes, Andy,” said Donny.

“Yeah, we cleaned them up really good, didn’t we?” said Ronny.

“And we love you,” said Donny.

“Yeah, and we’re your brothers, so you have to love us,” said Ronny.  “And you would miss us if we were gone.”

“So tell your tigers not to eat us,” said Johnny.  “Please?”