“Hey Lainey, look! You thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’?”
Lainey looked up and grinned.
“You really are evil. Sure, why not.”
Mark checked to make sure his mom and aunt were still out back talking to the neighbour and put on the masks. Mark chose the devil mask, leaving Lainey with the scream mask. He perched his on his head and opened the screen door and called out.
“Hey, Tommy, come in here and look at what we’ve got.”
He closed the door and motioned for Lainey to hide. Tommy came running in and they jumped out.
Tommy let out a blood-curdling scream and their mother came running in.
“What’s going on? Who’s hurt?”
Mark and Lainey were rolling on the floor laughing. Tommy was staring daggers at them.
“C’mon you two knock it off. Can’t I leave you kids alone for even a minute?”
She went back out shaking her head.
Tommy put his hands on his hips, all righteous indignation. Sneering, he pointed a finger at them.
“Buggo! Buggo! Buggo!”
He stomped through the screen door and slammed it hard.
“Well that was fun. What’s with this buggo thing? You ever heard him say that before?”
“Nope. He’s not used to all the ants and grasshoppers and stuff here. We don’t have all that at home. I think he’s calling us bugs.”
Lainey shrugged and went back to watching television. Mark decided that wasn’t such a bad idea.
Over dinner that night Laura noticed Tommy wasn’t talking to his siblings. She gave her sister a look and was met with a shrug.
“Listen you two, I think you’ve been teasing your brother too much. I want you to take him into town tomorrow and buy him some ice cream. Try to be nice for a change. We’re only here for a few more days. Can you do that for me?”
Lainey and Mark nodded solemnly but exchanged knowing looks as soon as they weren’t being watched.
Have you got the tent ready for tonight? You might want to sleep with the flap open, it’s going to be warm.”
“Yeah, it’s fine mom. We’ll be alright.”
“Maybe your brother could spend the night out there too.”
Tommy began shaking his head and crossed his arms over his chest.
“Oh, alright then, Tommy, it was just an idea.”
Mark and Lainey exchanged relieved glances.
A few board games and some family home movies and it was time for bed. Tommy went without his usual fussing and Mark and Lainey grabbed a flashlight and went out to their tent.
An hour later Tommy got up and went to the window and looked down into the yard. He crept out of his room, went downstairs and let himself out the back door quietly. Rounding the corner of the house he found the old coffee can he had hidden under the porch and dragged it out. He peeled back the plastic lid and peeked inside, jiggling the can a bit. Satisfied, he snuck up to the tent and peered in. Mark and Lainey were sound asleep.
He slowly unzipped the mesh and took the lid off the coffee can and dumped the tarantulas he had collected onto their sleeping bags, zipped the flap back up and went back up to his bed.
He lay in the dark for what seemed like an eternity until the screaming and pandemonium commenced. He grinned and rolled over to go to sleep.
“Buggo”, he whispered and closed his eyes.