Ghosts, Medicine, and Why My Dad Hates Them

971302李文玉

Note: This is a work of fiction. All similarities to any persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental and not intended by the author.

Written by Chipper Chip Junior

I bounced along the garden path to our front door with my brothers, Irrel, Squirt, and Riam by my side. The whole place was decorated with crazy and imaginative sculptures, plants, and of course, lots of high-tech playthings. My father's trademark workmanship.

When I finally reached the entrance, I yelled to the hidden speakers: "Hello! We're back from school!" The door, recognizing my voiceprint, swung open, and we all trooped inside, eager to start on our afternoon snacks.

Not that the food at our school was bad, but home-grown nuts just taste plain better. At least to Irrel and me, who, like our father, belong to the chipmunk family. Squirt and Riam, being a sea turtle and a clownfish respectively (oh, by the way, we live in The Animal Archipelagoes, where all the inhabitants are animals, and all of them, even sea creatures, can survive on land, have magic…etc. Just your typical fantasy world), are more into stuff like seaweed. Personally, I think it's disgusting, but then, everyone's different.

After we dropped off our school things in our rooms, Irrel, smelling someone in the dining room, called out warily, "Who's there?"

"Oh, hello, boys," replied our father, Chipper Chip Senior. I just happen to have the misfortune to be named after him. "I see you're home."

"Yeah, and so are you. Aren't you supposed to be at work?" I asked suspiciously. He was lounging about on the couch with a big bag of nuts in his lap, reading a business newspaper.

"How many times do I have to tell you? I'm self-employed, being the founder of Chipper's Sell-Everything Enterprises," he replied, popping a round white nut into his mouth. I stepped closer to read the label of his snack.

"Fine." With a jolt, I saw that the label read: Fresh Macadamia nuts, homegrown on Mt. Chelonian.

"Did you see that?" Irrel nudged me, whispering. He was pale.

"Of course," I whispered back, turning to my father. "Um, how long have you been eating your snack?"

"I just opened it," he held out the packet to me. "Want some?"

"No, thanks." At least he hadn't eaten too much. I hope. Our doctor, Dementy (Who, by the way, is the ghost of a frog who likes to assume the form of a sheet ghost. And, of course, he can touch us, but can still turn intangible if he wishes. Real creepy. He is the best doctor in the country, though) had warned us, after the latest bust-up, that our father was severely allergic to macadamia nuts. Just four would make him go insane (or nuts) for a while, becoming a veritable whirlwind of destruction. The doctor had instructed us to take Dad to his hospital right away if we found him ingesting macadamias, so that he could be force-fed the antidote. Only problem is, Dad absolutely detests medicine. The last time he had to take some, my brothers and I had to knock him out and give it to him by injection. He wasn't too upset when he woke up. Yeah, I wish.

Deciding not to risk Dad's detection, I sent a mental message to my brothers: We have to take him to Dementy. Right now. On the count of three, grab him and teleport to the hospital.

When they murmured their assent, I said, one, two, three! We took off, arriving at the door to the ghost's clinic. There was a sign saying: Hello, sane and insane and just plain bored beings. Welcome to Dementy's Hospital, the best in all of The Animal Archipelagoes.

"He doesn't mince words, does he?" Squirt remarked to Riam, who grinned in response. We marched through the door into the reception area. Dementy's assistant, Injection, was manning the counter.

"Hello, Injection. We have an emergency, as you can see here," I told him. He took one look at our struggling father and whisked us off to the doctor.

"Put him in here," the ghost indicated a restraining chair. The five of us forced him into it. It was a tight fit, but we managed.

"Hey!" My father protested. He is usually one step behind things. "Where are we? Why are you sticking me in this damned thi−" He stopped dead when he registered that he was in a hospital. Not just any hospital, but Dementy's hospital.

The doctor sensed what was coming and immediately put him to sleep with a ball of energy (they can be infused with its perpetrator's will, giving them various powers like sleep, growth, healing, paint and more).

"There," he remarked contentedly. "That'll put him to sleep for an hour, or until I choose to wake him, whichever comes last. Good timing, boys. A few minutes more and the macadamias would have worked their spell quite thoroughly."

I nodded. "How long would it take for him to return to normal?"

"'Bout five minutes," Dementy replied. He took a syringe from a drawer somewhere, measured out a bit of liquid and placed it inside, then plunged the incredibly thin needle into my father's furry shoulder.

"Healing ball!" the ghost intoned. The miniscule wound disappeared immediately.

"Now, are you going to wake him up?" Irrel asked.

Dementy grinned mischievously. "I'll leave it up to you. In return, there won't be a bill."

"Deal," I said. Irrel looked uneasy. I whispered to him, "Dad won't be angry at us. Much. He'll probably rail at thin air for who knows how long, but that'd be all."

We thanked Dementy, grabbed Dad, and took off back home.

***

"Why the heck did the four of you choose this time to be assertive?" We had enjoyed fifty minutes of blissful peace and quiet. All too soon, it was over.

"You know that I absolutely cannot abide either that self-righteous Dementy or his infernal medications! It'll take days before that dratted sleeping ball will wear off properly! It'll take weeks before my stomach will be back to normal!"

"Well, Dad, maybe you shouldn't eat macadamias anymore," I suggested. My warning fell on deaf ears. On second thought, it was better this way. I certainly didn't want to be the recipient of his tirade.

"Next time, I'll eat my snacks at work," Chipper Senior decided.

And that, my friend, is why my father hates ghosts. And medication. It all boils down to food. And the lack thereof.