REPORT: Oh no, mom wielding family cruise vacation pamphlet
The three Larkin siblings would like to to warn everyone that things are NOT looking good. The situation began normally but unfortunately took a sharp and ominous turn, leaving the trio lost and adrift in an escalating feeling of panic and dread.
According to reports, Hazel (20), Annie (22), and Nick (17) arrived at their parents' house in Markham, Ontario for dinner last night around 6 pm. They were so busy setting the table, chatting with their dad Phil, laughing and joking around that they nearly missed an unprecedented and deeply troubling development at approximately 6:42 pm.
Just as everyone was preparing to sit down to eat, the family matriarch Margaret, 54, emerged from her small office beside the kitchen wielding a colourful pamphlet for Eternal Family Cruise Vacations, her reading glasses perched halfway down her nose.
"It – it was in her left hand," recounts Nick. "And the most bone-chilling part was she didn't acknowledge it for like 20 minutes. It just lay there beside her plate. Waiting. Watching us."
"I knew it was a bad sign when she carried it into the dining room and gave the thing its own place at the table," explains Annie. "That means it's not going to be just a quick mention. It's going to be A Whole Thing."
After some discussion of Hazel's new dog, Puptown Funk, the new colour scheme of the upstairs bathroom, the cost of the new colour scheme of the upstairs bathroom, and the total and utter garbage that was the old colour scheme of the upstairs bathroom, Margaret casually lifted the cruise ship pamphlet while asking the table what everyone's plans were for the last three weeks of February 2020.
A heavy silence descended.
"None of us said anything. But the truth is, I think everyone's calendar is pretty wide open that month," confessed Nick.
"The Bejeweled Princess," Margaret breathed dreamily, pointing at the ship on the front of the brochure, a faraway look in her eyes.
"So they have different Theme Nights at each of their 346 buffet stations!" Margaret abruptly exclaimed. "Totally '80s is one! And then after dinner you kids can do karaoke with the characters from Madagascar 2 while I go to the spa! Phil, you can sit around on some sort of chair!"
"Margaret," said Phil sternly. But it was already too late. Margaret eagerly opened the thick, 48-page brochure to reveal entire sections of text that had been underlined, highlighted, and circled.
"On the top of this one page, I saw she'd written my name in huge, capital ballpoint letters," shares Hazel. And underlined it like, seven times. So I leaned over to see what it was. Turns out, this cruise ship has a squash court."
Asked why that might be of particular interest to her, Hazel sighs. "I – I took tennis lessons for a year when I was eight. I hated it so I stopped. But in that time I won a competition. I took home this tiny, dinky trophy. They spelled my name wrong on it. But Mom lost her mind with excitement."
"Squash is a vaguely similar sport, though it's important to stress how different of a sport it is," Hazel adds.
At press time, the Larkin family was still trapped in a tense standoff at the dinner table, listening to Margaret list the "daily cultural excursions" onto various Caribbean islands. "You can get fun hair!!!!!!!" she reportedly exclaimed at multiple points during the meal.
The situation is being closely monitored.
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