The cat's gone belly up and everyone is feeling a little strange after a festive dessert. Where is your brother when you need him?
Mum is staring at Dad. I'm staring at Mum. And Dad is staring at Noddy, next door's cat, which is on the table digesting the remains of the chocolate log my brother Dan sent down especially for the occasion.
"You don't think that chocolate log tasted funny do you?" says Dad.
"What do you mean?"
"I don't know. God, look at the colours on those curtains."
"There aren't any curtains, darling, we're in the kitchen."
"Of course we are. Does anyone fancy watching 2001: A Space Odyssey?"
Dad trundles into the living room. Mum picks up the plates and dumps them into the sink.
"God," she murmurs. "Sometimes I just wish I could give it all up."
"Give what up?"
"This - working for the man."
"Well, strictly speaking, Mum, you're working for "a" man."
"I know but I'd like to travel to Ireland in a gypsy caravan."
"Maybe with Dad. It would be sort of free and easy. Love doesn't have to be a one-man one-woman thing you know."
I examine a crumb of Dan's chocolate log between thumb and forefinger.
"Do you know where Gran is?"
"Not sure. She was on the landing last time I looked."
"On the landing. Doing what?"
"Lying on the floor. She said she just wanted to be still for a moment."
I raise the cake to my nose.
"Dan didn't say what recipe he was using for this chocolate log did he?"
"I don't think so. It's a special recipe that his friend Dreddy Dave recommended."
"It's just it's got a pungent smell to it."
"Whatever. Now would you mind shutting up? To be honest all your negativity is really bumming me out."
By this stage, next door's cat is lying belly up on the chopping board, snoring gently. I'm going to kill my brother next time I see him.
Love Kate x.