"Brigid isn't going to put up -- what are you, afraid of women?" Uncle Bob demanded.
"Afraid of women?" said Greg. "Me?"
"Yes! Practically cowed."
Greg raised his eyebrows as he considered the question. "Well, yes, I am, now that you mention it."
He shrugged. "I can't help it, they're intimidating! I never know just what I'm supposed to do or say around them. Most of the time I end up fiddling with my notebook and saying something fatuous."
Bob put his hand over his eyes. "Greg," he said. "Greg, Greg, Greg, Greg, Greg. Greg!"
"Uncle Bob," Greg replied. "Uncle Bob, Uncle Bob, Uncle Bob, Uncle Bob, Uncle Bob. Uncle Bob!"
"This is no good. We've got to un-whip you, PDQ. Give you some spine! And I know just how to do it."
"No we don't," said Greg. "What we need to do is check out of this grimy hotel and go home while we can still escape with our lives."
"Why do you let that woman walk all over you?" Uncle Bob demanded. "Stand up to her!"
"Eh?" Greg said.
"You've got to show her who's boss!" Uncle Bob said, poking Greg's chest hard enough to leave a bruise.
"She already knows."
"Show no weakness! If you give her an inch, she'll take a mile!"
"She's welcome to it. What would I want with a mile?"
Uncle Bob put his hand over his eyes again, and gave a deep sigh. Finally he said, "Well I hate to do this to you, Gregger, but I'm not leaving Boston yet. I'm staying here at least another week, maybe more, so if you want to go back home you're going to have to walk."
"But Uncle Bob--!" Greg said.
"And I might add, your mother would be very disappointed in you, abandoning your closest living relative this way. I counted on you, depended on you, and you've let me down. So much for family ties! But if this is how you honor your late mother's memory, well, so be it."
Greg winced, and sighed. "Okay, look," he said. "I'll talk to Brigid and see what she has to say. But really--"
Uncle Bob lit up like a Christmas tree. "Well done, boy, well done! Your mother would be proud!"
"One would think you had a Ouija board, the way you seem to keep communing with her," Greg muttered, and headed for the hallway.
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