Absolutely De-Yippee-Licious! a short story by Gabriella Balcom at Spillwords.com
Ralph Nas

Absolutely De-Yippee-Licious!

Absolutely De-Yippee-Licious!

written by: Gabriella Balcom

 

When Annie’s parents drove by Sweets and Treats, she sighed, turning to stare at the store until it was out of sight. They had the best candy—oodles and oodles of it. She remembered yummy kinds she’d eaten and her mouth watered. If only Mom and Dad would stop and get her some like they used to. But she knew they wouldn’t.

The eleven-year-old had been having unexplained dizziness lately. A doctor had suggested several possible causes, including multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and heart disease. Upon hearing that, Annie’s parents had looked stern, and everything had been different since then. Even though they said she hadn’t done anything wrong, they acted as if she had. At least, that’s how it felt.

Because of her dizzy spells, they wouldn’t let her play outside, telling her to do indoor activities instead. She wasn’t allowed to take part in Physical Education at school either. But neither of those was the worst thing.

Her diet was. Bread was the first to go, then sweets—cakes, pies, cookies—and it was unfair. The specialist hadn’t recommended that. Her parents had come up with the idea, going on and on about now being a good time to start eating healthy. They’d also spoken of using less meat or none.

That evening, Annie saw the supper Mom prepared and cringed. Her mother’s eyes were on her, though, so she picked up a rice cake, nibbling an edge. It was tasteless. Ick. Dad put something called fogu, fomu, totu—no, tofu—on her plate. She took a bite and almost gagged. Ugh. Her parents glanced away, and she quickly spat the stuff into a napkin.

Dad offered her peas and brussels sprouts, and she grimaced, since she disliked both. She tried one bite, and regretted it immediately. The vegetables were even worse than usual this time, because Mom hadn’t used any butter or seasoning. Yuck.

Mom handed her a bowl of greenish-orange goop that made her stomach go queasy. The substance looked awful, kind of like rotten baby food. Bleaugh.

“That’s pureed vegetables,” her mother said. “I thought I’d try that and see how they tasted. They’re all natural and good for you.”

“It tastes great, too.” Dad ate a spoonful.

“I’m not hungry,” Annie said.

“You need to eat.” Mom frowned. “Bodies need food.”

“Some of that stuff looks like vomit,” Annie protested.

Her father chuckled, but her mother sighed.

When bedtime arrived, she had a dull ache in her stomach, but still dozed off fast.

Brilliantly colored meadows stretched in every direction around Annie, and she gaped at them. They looked like fluffy clouds, and she’d never seen such beautiful colors. She bent and gingerly touched an area, realized the meadows were cotton candy, and grinned.

Trees grew nearby with entwined Twizzlers as trunks and sour stick limbs. Several had Chic o’Stick trunks and Licorice Rope branches. Buds—Lemon Drops, Milk Duds, Boston Beans, and more sweets—covered the trees. Annie saw amazing flowers everywhere, too. A few had Bubble Gum stems, orange slice leaves, and Lincoln Log and Cadbury Egg petals. But numerous other types she didn’t recognize were also growing.

A sound caught the girl’s attention, and she saw someone way off to her left. No, something. She could tell it was tall even from a distance. As it approached, she saw it stood on long, spindly legs, twice the length of her body. But the thing began shrinking, and was her size when it stopped in front of her. One leg was pink taffy, the second yellow, and it had peppermint arms. A Reeses Peanut Butter Cup served as its head, and it had Sweet and Sours for ears, chocolate chip eyes which glowed, and lips of Red Hots.

“I’m the Candy King,” the being said. “And I am so happy you’re visiting my world.” Eyes sparkling, he gave Annie a sweet smile, and she smiled back. He began chanting.

I love all kinds of candy—yes, I do—
and I know you’re a candy-lover, too.
We like goodies sweet, goodies sour,
and great treats each minute and hour.
Soft, chewy, or melting on the tongue.
Deliciousness for people old or young.
Yummies to the east, west, north, south,
and flavors exploding in your mouth…

The Candy King spun around and around, laughing, and Annie did, too. When he extended a hand to her, she took it, studied the Tootsie Roll fingers clasped around hers, and giggled. Then she and the Candy King skipped across the meadow.

Fountains with wafer and cookie bases lay ahead of them, each spouting a different colored liquid. Annie dipped a finger in the dark brown fountain, and tasted it. It was the most delicious chocolate, and she cupped her hands, scooped some up, and gulped it down. She sampled caramel and liquid mint, too. Other fountains sent sugary, Pixie-Stix-like powder shooting into the air, along with pop rocks.

Butterflies with translucent, spun-sugar wings and Junior Mint bodies flew by, along with many other types. The Candy King plucked two from the air, handing them to Annie to eat.

She studied the still-flapping wings, and bit her lip.

“Don’t worry,” he reassured her. “They look alive but aren’t. And you’ll love the taste. Everything here is absolutely de-yippee-licious!”

Annie put them in her mouth and murmured an involuntary, “Mmm.” An exquisite mix of sweet mint and chocolate blossomed on her tongue, and she clapped her hands with delight. But she suddenly remembered her recent dizziness and her parents’ worry. “Oh, no! I’m not supposed to… Mom and Dad…”

“They love you and mean well.” The Candy King’s voice was solemn. “But this is another world. Nothing you eat here will hurt you.” When she still looked hesitant, he added, “I promise you everything will be all right.”

Her worry vanished. She ran from tree to tree, plant to plant, fountain to fountain, butterfly to butterfly, along with many more wondrous, magical things. She eagerly sampled treats, crammed handfuls into her mouth, and devoured one scrumptious yummy after another.

She woke to Mom shaking her gently, urging her to eat and get ready for school.

Her parents took her for medical tests two days later. Each day at home, they served bland, tasteless food, and she ate it without protest. None of it bothered her anymore, and she visited the candy world every night.

Four evenings later, Dad’s cell phone rang, and he answered it. “What?” he exclaimed. “Seriously?” He hung up and uttered a loud whoop.

“What happened?” Annie’s mother demanded. “Who was that?”

“Dr. Tyle’s nurse, and she had the best news.” He grabbed Mom, kissed her, then hugged their daughter and twirled her around the room. “Annie, your dizziness isn’t diabetes or heart disease. It’s not any disease at all.”

“So what is the problem?” Mom asked.

Dad chortled, and finally replied, “An inner ear infection.” Mom began laughing, and he grinned widely.

Annie looked from one of them to the other and blinked. “I don’t understand. What does that mean?”

“It means the problem is small,” her father explained. “Easy to cure.” He and Mom exchanged glances, and he winked at the young girl. “And we can go back to regular meals now.”

Annie’s mind flip-flopped from worry to happiness. “Hurray!” she yelled.

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