Daphne came over after work was over and saw Fred sitting on the couch in the living room.
"Hi, Uncle Fred. How was the flight from Washington?" Daphne asked.
"Horrible," he answered.
"Where's Mom?" Daphne asked.
"Upstairs, finishing my room."
"Okay. Thanks," Daphne said.
She went to the guest room.
"Hi, Mom," Daphne said.
"Hi, Daphne, sweetheart," Kylie said.
"Hi, Heather," Daphne said to her older sister.
"I just spoke to Uncle Fred and asked him about the flight from Washington. He said it was horrible," Daphne said.
"That's not good. We'll hear about it later," Kylie said, almost finished with the dusting.
The phone rang.
"I'll get it!" Fred heard Heather scream.
"Mom, Claudia and I went to visit Grandpa on our lunch break today," Daphne said.
"You did? How is he?" Kylie asked.
"Not good at all," Daphne said.
"We better not tell Uncle Fred this," Kylie said.
Fred was listening to the conversation. Heather told Kylie that Hank was on the phone, telling Daphne that he would be home late again.
"Again? I'll pick the kids up again Mom, is that all right if we stay over for dinner again tonight?" Daphne asked.
"You can try, but I don't think it'll help his mood and all," Kylie said.
"How do you know what his mood is?" Daphne asked.
"When Heather brought him home from the airport a couple minutes ago, Uncle Fred started attacking the kitchen downstairs," Kylie said.
"I didn't see the kitchen. Should I put the kitchen back together?" Daphne asked.
"Please do. I don't want to have dinner in a messy place tonight. Heather, go help your sister," Kylie said.
"Okay, Mom. What are we going to do about Uncle Fred?" Heather asked.
"I don't hear anything from him right now, so just leave him alone."
"Okay, we will," Heather said as the two of them walked downstairs.
As they entered the living room, Daphne decided to ask Fred a question about the kitchen.
"Go ahead, Heather. I want to talk to Uncle Fred for a minute or so," Daphne said.
"Okay. I'll go start on the mess."
Daphne went to one of the chairs that faced Fred.
"Uncle Fred, can we talk for a minute?" Daphne asked.
"Why is the kitchen a mess?" Daphne asked her great - uncle.
"I think my brother died in a coma," he said, tears coming down again.
"Uncle Fred, you're wrong about that right now. Claudia and I went to see him on our lunch breaks today. He doesn't look very good at the moment. For right now, we have no idea if he'll be with us for Christmas or not," Daphne said.
"He has to be here for Christmas! Like I said before, if he dies, I die. I can't live without Freddy, Daphne. Who will solve my problems when I have one? My brother, that's who. He's been solving them since we were children," Fred told his niece.
"Uncle Fred, listen to yourself. You just committed suicide on what you just said. We don't want that. You have people that love you. You know that," Daphne said.
"I don't!" he said.
"I'll be back, Uncle Fred."
Daphne got up from the chair in the living room and talked to Heather for a minute.
"Heather, would you mind doing the kitchen yourself?I have to talk to Uncle Fred. He needs help. He's kind of acting like he's going to kill himself," Daphne said.
"You mean suicide? No way! What did he tell you?" Heather asked her sister.
"He was saying that if Grandpa dies, he dies."
"That does sound like suicide," Heather agreed.
"I'll have to talk to Hank about this. He's a bartender. He listens to stories every night he works at the bar. He might have an idea," Daphne suggested.
"Great idea, Daphne. I love your idea. I'll keep an ear open myself. You know I'm a hairdresser," Heather reminded her.
"Please do, Heather. Have your customers give you advice on him."
end ch 4