I was hunting for a Kyrii when I adopted Heilley from
the pound. I knew that she might have trouble adjusting to the other pets, and
I was right. Blchocobo even wrote a series on it. What I didn't realise at the
time was that you don't just adopt one Kyrii--you adopt a Kyrii and then you
walk into your house to find more.
As nutty as that might sound, that's exactly
what happened to me. I walked into the kitchen one afternoon to find not just
a skunk Kyrii at the table, but a green one as well. They were both chattering
away until Heilley looked up.
"Oh! Hey, look who I brought home! This is Kootmufin.
Kootmufin, here's the guy that got me out of the pound and other stuff."
The green Kyrii's head spun around. "Oh, hi!"
"Hi yourself. New friend of Heilley's, eh?"
Kootmufin's brow furrowed a bit as she glanced
back at Heilley. "A bit heavy on the obvious, isn't he?"
Heilley snickered. "Ah, give him a break. It's
not like I told him you were coming over."
Kootmufin tossed back her mane of green hair.
"Yeah, guess so."
I looked down at their plates. "So you decided
to come over here for a snack?"
Heilley looked hurt. "Not just that! I've got
loads of stuff up in my room that we've got to look over."
"For sure! Is it true you've got a floral comb?
"Yup! And not only that...."
I shook my head and walked out of the kitchen
just as MonoKeras walked in. On a whim, I stopped where I was to listen in on
"Hey Heilley, hi new friend of Heilley's."
"Hi, MonoKeras. This is Kootmufin."
"Okay. Hi, Kootmufin."
"Oh, good, you finally said something. For a
minute there, I thought I was wearing a green monocle and seeing double Heilleys."
Dead silence. I held back the snicker that welled
up inside me because I just knew the looks those two Kyrii were exchanging with
each other. The refrigerator door was opened, and I heard MonoKeras rummaging
"Is he always a smart-aleck?"
Heilley gave a long-suffering sigh. "No, sometimes
That did it. I fled up the stairs before I totally
lost it and they knew I was listening in on them.
Over the next couple of weeks I saw and heard
a lot about Kootmufin. She and Heilley had met at Spectre's Spectacular, the
casino where Heilley played Cheat!. It turned out that Kootmufin went there
to play Neopoker, and if she wasn't quite as good at it as Heilley was at Cheat!,
it wasn't for lack of trying. She admitted once that she'd gone over fourteen
hundred games straight of nothing but Neopoker before getting burned out on
it for a month or two.
And then there was music. Heilley loved Jazzmosis,
both for their music and their black and white theme stuff. She even pointed
out that they were the only band around with a Kyrii in them (I think he's the
bass guitarist.) Kootmufin still stuck to the fact that Sticks N Stones were
better, and sometimes I'd hear raised voices coming from Heilley's room. No
permanent harm was done, though, and after a while I figured out that they actually
liked to argue about it and quit worrying.
Probably the most vivid incident I remember
from that first couple of weeks happened about noon on Saturday. I'd always
thought that Heilley's habit of hiding just about everything in her huge mane
of hair was a trick that all Kyrii knew and used, but apparently I was wrong.
I answered the phone that day, and the voice on the other end was chattering
so fast and in such a high pitch that I could barely make it out.
"Hello?" I winced and held the phone back from
my ear. "Hello?... You what?... Heilley?... talk to her?... yes hold on..."
I put my hand over the mouthpiece. "Heilley! Telephone!" Releasing my hand I
spoke back into the phone. "Hold on she's coming..." I gulped at the sound of
crying. "No, no, she just plays Cheat Monday through Friday, she's off today....
Heilley skidded down the banister from her room
upstairs and hopped up onto the stool next to the phone. "For me?"
"Yeah, here. I think it's Kootmufin, but she's
too upset over something to talk straight."
"Huh.... Hello? Koot? Koot! Whoa, girl, take
a breath! Yeah, I'm here! You what? Stashed a what?" Heilley's eyes went round.
"A TOFFEE JUPPIE?? Right, I'm on it! Hang loose, I'll be there in a sec! Bye!"
She slammed down the phone. "Why don't these pets learn to leave tricks to the
experts," she growled before racing back upstairs.
I headed upstairs myself and followed the sounds
of loud clattering to find Heilley in her room flinging brushes and gels and
all sorts of stuff into a large cloth bag. "What on earth was that all about?"
"Koot! She got toffee in her 'do!"
"You mean she tried to stash a toffee candy
in her hair?"
Heilley flung the bag over her shoulder and
I just managed to dodge her as she scooted for the stairs. "Got it in one, guy!"
she retorted. "I'll be back!"
As it turned out, Heilley only got the worst
of the mess out of Kootmufin's hair before bringing her back to our house to
do the full restoration job. Kallisari was kept busy running for this and that,
water and I don't know what all. When she wasn't running errands for them she
was standing guard at the door to keep the rest of us (me, MonoKeras, and blchocobo
in other words) out of the room so we wouldn't see the "embarrassing" sight
of a Kyrii whose hair was in such a mess.
I have to give both MonoKeras and blchocobo
credit for their behaviour during the whole ordeal. We had to sit downstairs
and listen to the crying and shrieks from Heilley's room and then let our imaginations
run wild during the relatively quiet spells. Blchocobo never cracked one smile,
and MonoKeras made sure his few dry comments were made out of hearing range
from any of the girls. I did truly sympathise with Kootmufin's predicament,
but the sheer ridiculousness of the whole thing nearly forced me into laughter.
The main thing that kept me from it was the knowledge that none of the girls
found it funny, and that neither of the boys were going to stand in my defence
if I got caught.
Heilley finally got things straightened out
and Kootmufin had supper with us. Her hair was freshly washed and still drying
as it hung limply down her back. She was sniffling a bit even yet. I made sure
to tell her how sorry I was it happened, and passed my smile off as kind comfort,
which she accepted as best she could.
The next morning I caught the phone again when
"Hello. Is this Scriptfox?"
"Yes, it is."
"Hi, Scriptfox, I'm Meggiemufin."
"Ah, I see. You're Kootmufin's owner, right?"
"Right. I found out last night what your Heilley
had done yesterday, and I just wanted to say thanks bunches."
"Oh no problem. There was no way that she was
going to leave her friend in that sort of mess."
"I know, but it was still a lot of work and
she really helped a lot. Give her a hug from me and tell her well done, okay?"
I chuckled. "I'll be sure to do that."
"Great! Bye for now!"
"Okay, take care."
I hung up and went to find Heilley to give her
the message... and of course, the hug.
Considering how they met, it was no wonder that
the thing that Heilley and Kootmufin did most often was play cards with each
other. I would often find them stretched out on the living room floor, cards
in hand and scowls of concentration on their faces. The strange thing was that
Heilley would usually come away from these sessions glum and upset. After the
third or fourth time, I decided to ask her what was wrong. It took a bit of
probing before she finally admitted it.
"If we play Cheat!, I win. If we play Neopoker,
"But you can't play Cheat! with just the two
Heilley balled her paws and glared in my direction.
"Don't remind me!"
I raised my hands defensively. "Don't worry,
I won't. But why don't you try to get some other players instead?"
Heilley's angry mood faded and was replaced
with a thoughtful look.
A few days later when I got home from work,
I found not only Heilley and Kootmufin on the floor, but also MonoKeras and
Kallisari laid down two cards on the stack.
"Two fives," she announced.
Heilley was next. "Cheat," she replied in a
Kallisari's face went slack with surprise, and
she rolled the cards over. "I wasn't cheating."
Heilley gathered in the stack. "I figured that."
"But... if you knew I wasn't cheating, then
Heilley grinned. "Read my guide, Kallisari,
it's all in there. Anyhow, here's four eights."
Kallisari looked disappointed, and I couldn't
help but sympathise "Kallie, why don't you have blchocobo take over your position?"
Kootmufin looked up sharply. "No way!"
I blinked. "Why not?"
She gave an exaggerated shiver. "He's spooky,
that's why! That mask of his creeps me out."
"But he's a desert Blumaroo..."
Heilley looked up at me over her shoulder and
winked. "What Koot really means is she can never figure when he's cheating.
He's got the perfect poker face."
I had to grin as MonoKeras played two nines
and the game play continued. I went out into the kitchen and found blchocobo.
"Hey, guy. I hear they outlawed you from playing
Blchocobo pulled the plug on the popcorn popper
and let the last few pops push the lid up. "Actually, they told me to go get
popcorn, but yes that was after I won the first round."
"Why am I not surprised," I remarked dryly.
"Oh well, don't feel too bad."
Blchocobo poured the popcorn into a large bowl.
"I don't. It was really rather amusing watching Kootmufin stare at me and fidget."
"Uh huh. And you probably stared her down a
few times, too, didn't you."
I chuckled as blchocobo sprayed the butter on
the popcorn and then followed him back into the living room.
Heilley looked up. "Yay! Refreshments! Thanks,
Everyone began helping themselves, and before
too long there were almost as many popcorn kernels on the floor as there were
in the bowl. I saw blchocobo eyeing them and knew he was regretting more housework.
The game ended much as I could have predicted.
Kallisari got caught cheating so that she wound up with almost half the deck.
Kootmufin wasn't too far behind, and Heilley managed to play out just before
MonoKeras would have.
Everyone sat around on the floor and munched
on popcorn. Kallisari went over to cuddle next to MonoKeras for some comfort
and encouragement. I was starting to doze off in my chair as the relaxed chatter
continued when Heilley's voice cut through my fog of sleep.
"Hey, MonoKeras, I've got a riddle for you!"
"Eh? What's that?"
She grinned mischievously. "And no fair telling
this one, Koot!"
Kootmufin giggled. "I won't!"
"Okay. So..." she turned back to MonoKeras with
a solemn expression. "When is it fun to own fifty two bicycles, but a whole
lot of trouble to have fifty three?"
I almost choked as I recalled a similar riddle
I'd heard sixteen years ago. It was funny to watch MonoKeras frown and then
shrug. "No idea. When?"
"When they're playing cards!!"
Kootmufin and Heilley burst into raucous laughter
and MonoKeras snorted and rolled his eyes. Then he had to explain it to a confused
Kallisari while I grinned and relaxed again. I wouldn't have been nearly as
relaxed if I'd realised that we were about to get a pack load of trouble from
just fifty-two bicycles in the very near future.
To be continued...