I must say that action at home lately has been almost
as exciting as action at my detective office. Since Heilley came to live with
us, something is always happening. The weird part is that it often has to do
with food. For instance, there was the time that she raided my private apple
stash and came down with the itchy scratchies... but that's another story.
One evening, I had gotten home from the office
and had just hung up my coat when Heilley swaggered in.
"So how many Cheat! players bit the dust today?"
She smirked. "Lots of 'em, as usual! I'm going
to get into that Hall of Fame yet, you'll see!"
I blinked as she walked past me. "They have
a Hall of Fame for Cheat! players?" She didn't bother responding, and I turned
around just in time to see her pull a milk chocolate kyrii out of her hair.
"Hey! That's chocolate and it isn't melted? How do you do that?"
She gave me one of those insufferably smug looks.
"It's called layers, MonoKeras hon, something you wouldn't understand." With
that she proceeded to eat her candy.
"Oh yeah, right. So now you're buying candy
with your winnings and making yourself fat on chocolate."
"Me? I didn't buy this."
"Don't tell me you stole it."
She looked hurt, but you can't believe her hurt
looks. "Of course not! Somebody gave it to me."
She shrugged. "I dunno. Some stranger I never
saw before. Said they loved my story in the Times and thought I'd like it."
"What??? Some stranger? Are you really that
dumb? No telling what could be in there!"
She licked the brown off one of her paws. "It
was a lot of milk chocolate in there, what else? Tasted good, too! Now to go
see what's for supper!"
I groaned as she scurried into the kitchen.
Sometimes I don't think she takes things seriously enough. As annoying as the
incident was, though, it was eclipsed by other happenings. After all, Kallisari
and I have lots of things that we can do together, and it's our own private
world, thank you very much.
The next morning at breakfast Heilley seemed
a bit quieter than usual, but I never thought anything of it. I was too busy
worrying about my own cases, two of which were in a tricky negotiation type
stage. That night, I was so relieved to simply get back to a safe home that
I again didn't bother to notice that Heilley was climbing up into her kitchen
chair a bit slower than normal.
The morning after that, Heilley announced that
she didn't feel well. For Heilley to admit even that much, she must have felt
very bad indeed. She never likes to admit to weakness. Our owner told her to
go lay down for a while and she dragged herself upstairs to her room.
"Maybe she'll feel better this evening," he
remarked hopefully. "If not, she's going to see a doctor. She isn't acting right."
I shrugged. "I think she's been eating too much.
Notice how fat she is?"
"You would be, too, if you'd been drinking the
milk she has been lately," blchocobo said. "I had two gallons in there, and
they're both empty. I'm going to buy another today."
Our owner rolled his eyes. "Okay, so she worries
about her weight. That's no call to pick on her about it just because she doesn't
feel well. Anyhow, I've got my own work to tend to, so I'll see all of you back
here this evening."
I stared at the wall as something niggled at
the back of my mind. "Milk..."
I blinked. "Oh nothing," I told blchocobo. "Just
thinking. Well I better get moving too..."
After a goodbye kiss and hug from Kallisari,
I was on my way to another exciting and dangerous day at my detective office.
Yeah, right. Don't let anyone kid you--it's boring most of the time, and it's
a lot of dry hunting through records that most people don't know about. Of course
it can get exciting, but...
When I got back home that evening, I greeted
Kallisari and immediately asked about Heilley.
Kallisari shook her head. "She's no better.
If anything, she's worse."
"Has she been drinking any more milk?"
"Has she?? That's all I've taken up to her today.
She's gone through a whole gallon!"
That was enough. "Come on," I said. "We're going
to get to the bottom of this."
Kallisari followed me to Heilley's room and
stood behind me as I walked in. Heilley was tucked up in bed, with only her
head sticking out from under the covers. She opened her eyes as I came in.
"Hi yourself." I looked at her critically. "Getting
a bit puffy around the eyelids there, girl."
"Not feeling good at all, are you."
She sighed. "What was your first clue," she
I yanked the covers off her. The huge lump of
bedcovers proved to be caused by the huge lump of Heilley. "How about the fact
that you're blowing up like a bouncy ball?"
She glanced down at herself and shuddered. "Yuck!"
The last shreds of her toughness disappeared in a sudden attack of tears. "What's
wrong with me! I hate looking like this! And I feel rotten!"
I whipped out a couple of wands. "Be still and
let me look," I barked. Heilley froze and let me do my examination. She didn't
even flinch as the green fires wrapped her swollen belly and entered her body.
After a minute or so, I gave it up. "Okay, it's
obvious what is wrong, but I don't know why."
"Wh-what's that mean?"
"I mean you've had about three gallons of milk,
and it's all still in there. I've seen fluid retention before, but this is silly.
Something is stopping things up!"
"Sounds like she needs that doctor's visit after
all," our owner remarked.
I spun around to find him in the doorway. "Uh,
Heilley looked scared. "Okay." She struggled
to sit up, and finally collapsed back onto the pillow, crying. "I'm too fat!
I'll never get there!"
"Ooooh yes you will," our owner replied soothingly.
He reached down and pulled her up into his arms. It was lucky for Heilley's
ego that she couldn't see the expression on his face as he realised how heavy
We left Kallisari and blchocobo to keep the
food warm while I followed our owner and Heilley to the clinic. He was breathing
pretty heavily by the time we got there, but all in all I think he did a good
job. As heavy as she must have been, I'd not have made it without magical aid.
He didn't have much time to recover his breath, though. One look at Heilley's
swollen belly got us into the examining room immediately.
Heilley was still sobbing a bit as she got poked
and prodded by the Gelert doctor. Finally, he straightened up and sighed. "What
has she been eating lately?"
Our owner shrugged. "Nothing unusual," he replied.
"Except lots of milk."
"And milk chocolate," I added.
The doctor spun to look at me. "What did you
I blinked. "Uh... milk chocolate. She had a
milk chocolate kyrii a couple of days ago." I shook my head as I realised my
subconscious mind had put two and two together. "That's it, isn't it? She started
getting sick not long after that."
"And just where did you get a milk chocolate kyrii, young lady?"
Heilley cringed at our owner's tone. "I dunno.
Someone gave it to me is all."
"A stranger?" the doctor asked. Heilley nodded
and the doctor sighed. "I figured as much. Okay, let me get your medicine."
"So what's she got, doctor?"
He looked back at our owner. "We're not sure
exactly. There have been a rash of cases like this during the past couple of
months. The victim eats a milk chocolate and they develop a craving for milk.
They drink so much that it nearly shuts down their system."
"I can see why," I snorted. "When you get filled
to the gills."
The doctor shrugged as Heilley began to cry
again. "Usually this doesn't happen. But with Kyrii, something seems to go wrong
and it blocks their ability to eliminate waste as well. Current speculation
among the Chia cops is that it's a Sloth experiment gone wrong. Apparently they're
supposed to develop a craving for some of his mutation brews, but since those
aren't available to the victims they use milk instead. I suspect those potions
use the same lactose base."
"So I almost wound up with a mutant Kyrii for
The doctor shook his head. "I don't think Kyrii
can turn mutant. Maybe that's why it affects them so badly. Anyhow, here's your
medicine. I suggest you take her home before giving it to her, because when
it takes effect, she's going to need to spend a lot of time in the bathroom."
Both of us rolled our eyes as Heilley managed
to not hear that last phrase because of another sniffle. I was amused, and our
owner was disgusted.
"Right," he grunted. He pocketed the medicine,
leaned down and picked up Heilley again. "Come on, you."
She grabbed him around the neck and held on
for dear life all the way home. Despite them being practically nose to nose
with each other, neither one of them said a word. I'm not sure if she was too
miserable, or too scared. I was just glad I wasn't the one that had put that
expression on his face, because it didn't promise well.
We finally made it home, and our owner plopped
Heilley down in the middle of the living room floor. She sat there with legs
sprawled out, her bloated belly making her look like a miserable, hairy Kiko
She didn't get much time to feel sorry for herself.
Our owner pulled out the medicine, then grabbed Heilley's nose from behind.
She opened her mouth reflexively as he pinched it, and before she knew what
had happened, she'd swallowed her medicine.
He waited for her to quit coughing and sputtering.
"Okay, young lady, get upstairs and to that bathroom. And I better not see any
spots on the carpet, either!"
"But I don't wanna move!" Heilley moaned.
"Tough. Your bowels are about to, so I recommend
you get those little legs of yours in gear."
Heilley sighed petulantly and got our owner's
shoe nudged firmly into her rear end for her troubles. I think it must've been
that push that signaled her trouble to her. The look of general unhappiness
was suddenly replaced with wide-eyed alarm. She rolled over and began crawling
on all fours towards the stairs. Then she hauled herself up on the banister
and clung to it for support all the way up, letting out her breath in panting
moans of desperation as she went. We watched her go in silence.
I thought I was hiding my reaction well, but
apparently not. Blchocobo wandered into the room just as Heilley reached the
upstairs hall. He took one look at me and asked, "What's so funny?"
That did it. I broke into giggles that stopped
only when I felt our owner frowning at me. "What? Isn't it funny?" I asked him.
He sighed. "I guess it is, in a way. But she
could have been seriously hurt. What possessed her to take candy from a stranger
I shrugged. "It was chocolate?"
"Hah! Yeah, right. Well she's reaping what she
I winced at the tone of dark satisfaction in
his voice. "You know, sometimes you have a cruel streak about you."
Kallisari poked her head in from the kitchen.
"Hey, blchocobo, are we going to have to reheat this stuff... oh! There you
are. How did the trip to the doctor go?"
Blchocobo snorted softly. "I just asked them
what was up, but so far no one's told me anything."
We took the hint and filled them in on Heilley's
diagnosis. True to the doctor's word, she spent most of that night in the bathroom
instead of in her bed. I doubt she got much sleep. I drifted half awake several
times to hear the sounds of running water in there, and I knew she was at it
The next morning, she was almost back to normal.
She still didn't have much of an appetite, but she was at least able to move
around again. It took another couple of days for her to recover her bounce,
but as soon as she did she was back to playing Cheat! again.
I thought that we'd heard the last of that sort
of thing, but I was wrong. We were all sitting down at supper one evening not
long afterwards when Heilley pulled out another milk chocolate kyrii.
"Another piece of candy, eh? Where did this
one come from?"
She looked up at our owner. "Oh, someone gave
it to me."
He scowled. "A stranger?"
She tried to look innocent, but even her chutzpah
couldn't quite pull it off. "Uh... yeah."
"Can't I have it?"
He looked down into that pleading expression.
"Oh, go ahead," he sighed. Heilley grinned, but just before she bit into it,
he added, "after all, what's the worst that could happen to you?"
Heilley froze, the candy inches from her mouth.
After a few seconds, she laid it down on the table. "Uh... blchocobo?"
"Do you think Steelplate would like a milk chocolate kyrii?"
I had to roll my eyes as Steelplate began barking
under the table. He got kicked into silence before blchocobo replied.
"Sorry, Heilley. I don't think we have enough
milk for him to wash it down."
Everybody laughed, except Heilley. The candy
was left on the table. To be honest, I'm not sure what ever did happen to it.
I never saw anyone eat it, but I noticed it was gone later. Whoever took it
didn't say anything that I heard- but then, no one was asking, either.
I still get a kick out of it, though. If I ever
want shut Heilley up now, all I have to do is ask, "got milk?" and she suddenly
finds something else to do.