If you know Uncle Jeff, you will understand why the kids love him. He's outgoing and will do things that their parents would never dream of. But Mum and Dad think he's irresponsible. Mum hopes that Jessica, his new girlfriend, will calm him down. But the reality is rather different.
Stand by for lots of fun when Jeff is out-Jeffed.
Story by Bertie.
Read by Natasha.
Proofread by Jana Elizabeth.
How to Out-Jeff Uncle Jeff -
Hello, This is Natasha, and I’m here with a story about somebody we haven’t heard from in a while. Whenever he turns up, he’s really popular on Storynory. He is known as the Wicked Uncle. He isn’t really that wicked - but his relations see him as being the irresponsible member of the family. The kids of course love him. His name is Uncle Jeff.
There was a new family film out called The Doogles. When I say 'new' I don't exactly mean that the idea was new because The Doogles had been on TV back in the Dark Ages when Dad was a kid. It was his favourite programme and when it was on TV he fought with his younger brother Jeff who wanted to watch The Flowerpot Men on the other channel.
Jeremy and Jemima had no desire to go and see the revived, revamped and resurrected Doogles at the cinema even if it was in 3D and the review in the Daily Telegraph had given it 4 stars for 'rip-roarious family entertainment'.
Dad was still sulking when Uncle Jeff rang and said:
"How about Jessica and I take the kids to see The Doogles?"
And the children jumped up and down saying: "Yeah! Lets go to the movies with Uncle Jeff and his new girlfriend!"
Even Mum thought it was a good idea because she had warmed to Jessica when they had met. She seemed different from all the other women who had held the title of 'Jeff's latest girlfriend'. She had lasted more than six weeks which was quite possibly a record. She had brains and a career - in fact she was a junior doctor at the hospital and would soon graduate to being a surgeon. And unlike all the others, she wore sensible shoes, which in Mum's book made her marriage material. The only thing wrong with her was that her name began with J and there were already far too many J's in the family.
"Yes," thought Mum. "Let Jeff and Jessica take Jeremy and Jemima out and see what it feels like being a family. Perhaps they will get in the habit and soon we shall be hearing wedding bells."
It was always exciting when Uncle Jeff came round. The kids were keen to see which of his flashy motors he would arrive in. Would it be the vintage Porsche or the new one? Or perhaps the pink Lamborghini or maybe the white Rolls Royce?
But it wasn't any of those. It was something they had not seen before.
"Oh cool!" exclaimed Jeremy.
"What's that?" asked Mum as they stood at the window and watched Jeff's wheels crunch up the drive.
"That is a muscle car," said Jeremy with satisfaction. It was bright red with a white streak down the side and a huge bonnet. "There aren't many of them in this country." This remark seemed confirmed by the fact that Jeff was sitting behind the steering wheel on the left hand side which meant the car had been imported from one of those places where people drive on the wrong side of the road.
''I'm not surprised they don't sell well here," said Dad who drove the world's most boring car - one so totally sensible that Jeremy and Jemima preferred to take the bus to school rather than risk being seen in it.
Jessica swung her legs out of the muscle car and set her little dog on the ground. "Go on Smoochies," she said, "better now than later." He ran off into a flower bed to do his business. Dad scowled.
It wasn't long before Jeremy and Jemima were seated in the back and Jeff was pulling out of the drive in first gear. There was a loud crunch and a sudden bump.
"Did we go over a pothole?" asked Jeff. But he knew that was impossible because his brother's drive was as immaculate as a cricket pitch. He got out to take a look and - wow - he had never seen anything like it. The front left wheel had simply fallen off. A big cylinder was lying next to it on the ground.
"I think the axle has snapped," he said scratching his head. Everyone got out and Dad came over trying not to look satisfied and not succeeding.
"Looks like your car pulled a muscle Jeff," he said smugly.
"We'll be late for the cinema," said Jemima sadly.
"You could go in my car," offered Dad.
"Thanks, I think that's the only option," agreed Jeff.
"But if you don't mind," added Dad, "I'd prefer it if Jessica drives, because statistically speaking, women have fewer accidents than men."
"Sure thing," said Jeff without batting an eyelid, and Dad tossed the keys to his brother’s girlfriend.
Jessica drove into town and pulled up just outside the cinema.
"Are you allowed to park here?" asked Jeremy looking at the thick yellow line painted along side the curb.
"Sure, it's Saturday afternoon," said Jessica. Before they went up the steps of the cinema, she tucked Smoochies inside her coat. If anyone had noticed, they might have thought she was cradling a baby inside there. Jeff headed for the ticket seller, but his girlfriend turned to the kids and said: "Quick, follow me." And she darted into the the tunnel that led to the giant cinema screens. She beckoned for the kids to follow her. Nobody was on duty checking the tickets. Jessica grabbed a giant bag of chocolate covered nuts and raisins off a trolley. The kids followed her and Jeff had little option but to come after. She marched steadily towards the door to the screen. When Jeff caught up with her he said:
"Er, Jess, what are you doing? I haven't paid yet."
"It's much more fun to sneak in," she said. "Didn't you do it when you were a kid?"
For the first time ever, the children saw Jeff look slightly less than completely cool. In fact, he distinctly blushed. He said in a hushed voice:
"This is going too far. I really can't afford to do anything dishonest. My reputation in business is at stake."
"What.. for slipping into the movies? It's not like you to be such an old stick-in-the-mud," replied his girlfriend. Which film shall we see? How about this one?"
The poster depicted three men with muscles, chains, knives, guns, and sabers under the title: "Friday Night Massacre."
"Er no," said Jeff. "We've brought my niece and nephew to see The Doogles."
They watched the Doogles for free and ate the stolen chocolate nuts, but even in the dark, Jemima could sense that Jeff was distinctly uncomfortable. He nobly suffered Smoochie licking his face throughout the film, but he more or less ignored Jessica.
Jemima knew what he would say when the film was finished:
"Whatever you do, please don't tell your Mum and Dad."
"What? Do we look like we're that stupid?" said Jeremy.
"And don't follow this example," said Jeff. "Jessica is a very naughty girl."
As they left the warm close air of the cinema and stepped out into the cold, they all noticed something that meant trouble. Dad's boring car was wearing a big yellow boot. Notices had been plastered to the side window and the windscreen saying: "Do not attempt to move this car. It has been immobilized by parking services."
Jessica said: "There’s this film I saw on YouTube. A woman in America had one of those nasty things, and she just drove off. The wheel clamp snapped and she was entirely free. Everyone in the cark park cheered their heads off."
"Don't even think about it," said Jeff. He took out his mobile phone. Parking Services would take at least an hour to return and unlock the car and he would have to pay a fine of £350.
"That's quite an expensive trip to the cinema," he mumbled.
Fortunately, Jeff's club was not far away. It was one of a row of posh stone buildings with flag poles sticking out of them. All of them were gentlemen's clubs; though these days they admitted ladies too. He walked the kids and Jessica over there and signed them in. Jeremy had to borrow a tie from the club because there was a smart dress code. Jessica had to hide Smoochie inside her handbag because dogs were totally against the rules. They sat down in the library and Jeff asked the waiter to charge any snacks and drinks they might order to his account. He went back to wait by the car for the parking mafia.
The only sounds inside the library of the club were the ticking of a grandfather clock and the snoring of an old man. The sleeper had a copy of The Times over his face. The kids drank cola and fizzy orange which they weren't allowed at home. Jessica let Smoochie drink sweet tea out of a saucer, and then drummed her long painted nails on the leather arm of the chair. She was thinking. Eventually she said:
"You know, although I've reached the grand age of 27, I don't feel that I will ever be too old to play Hide and Seek inside a stuffy old club."
"Alright," said Jeremy, "give us twenty."
He hid behind the heavy curtains by the window while his sister dived behind an armchair in the corner. Jessica took about two minutes to find both of them. Now it was Jeremy's turn to seek. After he opened his eyes he searched in every corner of the library including underneath the chair of the slumbering old boy. He realised that Jessica and Jemima must have left the room.
He went to look for them in the cloakroom and then in the restaurant.
"Can I help you?" asked the head waiter.
"Have you seen a woman and a girl hiding in here?" asked Jeremy. The waiter looked thoughtful and said: "We don't get a lot of ladies hiding in here. What do they look like?"
"The woman is kind of pretty - or my Uncle Jeff thinks so because she's his latest girlfriend - and the girl - well she's my sister and she can't help looking like the way she does."
"If I see any ladies fitting that description I will let them know you are looking for them."
"They will probably be behind or underneath something," said Jeremy, "because we are playing hide and seek until our car is unclamped."
"I will bear that in mind," said the waiter.
Jeremy went back to the library where he found Jeff waiting in a chair.
"The car's free but where have the girls got to?" said his uncle.
"I dunno", said Jeremy. "They're hiding."
"Typical,"' said Jeff, a little annoyed. He got up and they restarted the search. This time, when they met the head waiter, he said: "Did you see the ladies? They are on their way back to the library."
"Where were they?" asked Jeremy.
"I found them in a broom cupboard, Sir," said the waiter. "I believe they were hiding inside it and locked themselves in."
"Oh dear," said Jeff. "Most unfortunate." Jeremy thought he looked pretty tense and annoyed - almost like Dad would have done.
On the way out Jessica and the kids were sniggering: "What's so funny now?" asked Jeff.
"Well you see," said Jessica, "when we were stuck in that cupboard, Smoochie peed on the floor and the waiter probably thinks it was one of us."
"What!" exclaimed Jeff. "You'll get me thrown out of the club."
"Well it doesn't suit you anyway," said Jessica. "It's boring and stuffy and they don't like dogs."
Smoochie growled at the doorman on the way out and Jeff said: "Excuse me, spot of tummy rot."
At least they could now head back home. Jeff's phone already showed three missed calls from Mum, presumably worrying about their whereabouts. They got back into Dad's car and Jessica drove off. When they reached the bypass she put her foot down and they hit 90 mph.
"Phew steady on," said Jeff.
She sped around the big roundabout with only one finger on the steering wheel and CRRRUNCH! They slammed into the back of a white van. It was a very good thing they were all wearing seat belts apart from Smoochie who was thrown out of an open window and landed in a hedge. He was shaken but no bones broken.
Jessica jumped out of the car and shouted at the van driver: "What do you think you were doing parking in the middle of a roundabout?"
"Er.. waiting at a red light," explained the bemused driver. They inspected the damage. The van had a big dent in the back but could still be driven. Dad's car was much worse off. Bits of it were all over the road and the front looked like a concertina. Jeff sighed: "I had better call the insurance company," he said.
It was a long wait for the breakdown assistance to arrive but it was almost worth it to see what was left of Dad's boring old car lifted onto the back of a lorry.
"Any chance of a lift?" asked Jeff.
"Sure mate," said the lorry driver.
At quarter past eleven an anxious Mum and Dad heard the sound of a big engine turning over in front of the house. A beacon light was flashing. They looked out of the window and saw two children, two adults and a small dog clamber down from the cab of the lorry.
"Are those my kids?" asked Mum. "Hitching a lift home from the cinema in a lorry?"
"They are indeed," sighed Dad. "And there is my brother and his girlfriend. And that is, or was, my car on the back of the truck."
For the first time it struck Mum that her children had been in mortal danger: “My babies! They could have died!” she exclaimed.
Dad was more concerned about his car. There was nothing boring about it now. After an afternoon in the hands of Jessica and Jeff it looked like a casualty in a drag race. In fact, it looked like the scrap metal merchant would be the only person who would want it now.
And for once Uncle Jeff could feel that it was rather unfair that his name was linked to yet another disaster, because he had done nothing wrong, while his own girlfriend had out-jeffed him.
“Perhaps she will soon be just another name in his address book,” thought Mum, putting aside her dream of a posh wedding and some nephews and nieces.
And Jeff was thinking: “I can hardly sack a girl for not being boring enough,”... but then, perhaps he was getting old. He didn’t like that feeling at all. Is Uncle Jeff finally settling down? We shall have to wait and see.
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