When the radio started the top of the hour news, Phillip started to worry. The kitchen was still empty save for himself. He carried the mug of tea back upstairs to see Jeanne’s bedroom door closed, and Gene dressing himself. “Morning,” he said.
“Morning,” Gene mumbled. “It was way too hot last night, huh?”
“It was just a little warm, yeah,” Phillip said. “You didn’t sleep well?”
“No,” Gene snorted. Phillip recognized the faint note of contempt in his voice. “I said it was hot.”
“I heard that,” Phillip said. “Sorry about that. I could bring a fan up…?”
“Nah,” Gene said. “Don’t worry. I’ll be okay.”
“All set already?” Phillip asked. “You haven’t even had breakfast yet.”
“‘m not hungry,” Gene said, returning to a mumbling tone. “Not feeling too well.”
Phillip came into the room and put his hand on the boy’s forehead. “You’re not feverish, I don’t think,” he said. “Kinda nauseous?”
“A little,” he replied.
“Feel like the room is swaying back and forth?”
“Yeah,” Gene said, his voice picking up.
“Lights going in and out?”
“Yeah, yeah, that’s it,” Gene said. “You know what’s wrong with me?”
“I do,” Phillip said. “You’re highly suggestible. Let’s go get some cereal, huh?”
“But I am,” Gene said. “I really am feeling sick.”

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