After ten minutes the timer buzzed.  “You can get up now, Andy,” his mom said from the kitchen.  “And if you’d like, you could come back and help me.”

Oh yes, Andy would go back into the kitchen.  But he wouldn’t be there to help.  And first he had to look at something.

When he stepped in his bedroom, it was much cleaner.  At least it looked cleaner.  Under the bunk bed was a mess where the triplets had jammed too many of their toys.  And they’d put his clothes back in his drawers.  But they’d just crammed them in.  And they hadn’t closed the drawers all the way.

But at least Andy could walk into his room without stepping on things.

The boys were sitting on the bottom bunk.  They were holding the few weapons they’d kept out.  “We talked to your tigers,” said Johnny.  “We told them that you’re bigger and that you’d taste better.  So they’re going to eat you tonight.”

Andy just smiled and ignored them.  He knew something they didn’t know.  He knew that after today he would have his own room.  Because he was now going to do the next THREE steps all at once.  That should be powerful enough to get what he wanted.

He read the next three pages in the booklet.

 

Step Six:   Cry.

 

Step Seven:   Scream and stomp your feet.

 

Step Eight:  Hold your breath.

 

“Good night.  Sleep tight.  Don’t let the tigers bite,” said Andy.  And he flipped off the light switch, stepped out of the room, and slammed the door shut.

He ignored the screaming triplets as he walked into the kitchen.

 

Andy rubbed his eyes, thought sad thoughts, and began to cry.  “Mo-m-m-m!”  Andy sobbed.  “I (sniff) want my (sniff) own room (sniff)!  Please (sniff sniff)!”  He cried his hardest.  He rubbed his eyes.  He wiped at his tears.  This was going to work.  Andy was sure of it.  After all, it worked all the time for the triplets.

His mother stopped setting the table.  She reached up in the cupboard above the fridge and pulled down a box of tissues.  She pulled out one tissue and handed it to Andy.  Then she returned to setting the table.

 

On to step seven.  Andy began to scream and stomp his feet.  “I WANT MY OWN ROOM!  I WANT MY OWN ROOM!”

“ANDY!  STOP THAT RIGHT NOW!” shouted his mom.

 

Andy did stop screaming.  And he stopped breathing.

“Finally, some peace and quiet,” said his mom as she continued setting the table.

Andy kept holding his breath.

His mom set out the knives.

Andy kept holding his breath.

His mom set out the spoons.

Andy fell on the floor and pretended to faint.

“Andy,” said his mom.  “If you’re tired, why don’t you go to your room and take a nap.”

Andy took a breath, stood up, and went back to his room.