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The Sneezy Wheezy Girls, Part 2 / ? - A (not really) Murder Mystery. Updated Sept 23.


starpollen

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This story is inspired by the very old chapters of "Melissa's Messy Sneezes."  I did make an effort to find the original author to ask permission to write a spin-off, but was unsuccessful.  If the original author reads this - or someone who knows the original author - please know that if there is any protest I will take it down immediately.  I hope it is apparent that I have tried to respect the original characters while also creating something new. 

I had an idea to write a story about a group of women who met as girls and became friends who are experts at solving murder mysteries.  Sort of Nancy Drew meets Scooby Doo meets Murder, She Wrote.  Unfortunately there will be parts of the story I can't post due to forum regulations (flashbacks to when the girls meet, featuring underage characters even though there is no sexual content) but I am writing them in order to develop the relationships and characters more fully.   This means I am playing with present tense and past tense - please let me know if you find any errors in that regard.  Hopefully the modern chapters are still easy to follow with those omissions. 

I hope you enjoy.  :wub: Let's see how this goes... :unsure:

=== === ===

The Sneezy Wheezy Girls, Part 1

The ringing is coming from deep inside her purse.  Mel fumbles with the damp wad of tissues in one hand and the paper coffee cup in the other, sniffling as she attempts to fish the phone out before it goes to voicemail. 

“H-hello?” she manages, wheezing a little and breathless, as usual. 

Hello, Me-hh–L... ksh!-ksh!-ksh!-ksh!-kshhuue!...”

Mel rolls her eyes but with a small smile.  “Hi, Ames.”

Snfl … Hi, Bel.  Jusdt callig to chegck if you’re stihh– hh!!-ksh!-ksh!-ksh!-ksh!-ksh!-kshhuue!... ugh, sorry… sdfl… Still cobig todight?”

“Yeah, that’s the plan,” Mel swipes the tissues upwards at her own drippy nostrils, wiggling them around as the near-constant allergic tickle waxes and wanes.  A strong sniffle quells it for the moment, her upturned nose flaring its nostrils round and wide.  

“Good to hear.  Add Kared, too?”

Melissa and Karen have been friends since childhood.  What began as bike rides and board games slowly turned into a deep and abiding love that culminated in their wedding three years ago. 

In 6th and 7th grade they met the other members of their ‘tribe,’ which they affectionately named "The Sneezy Wheezy Girls:"  

Amie is allergic to pretty much everything under the sun, her sinuses swollen and congested year-round despite a myriad of prescriptions. A willowy redhead with skin the color of fresh cream and a smattering of adorable freckles across her pointed and perpetually-pink nose, she always carries 2 or 3 hankies but also has dozens of tissue boxes all over her house.  She has to watch her diet, as her pervasive allergies are not confined to her sinuses.  Amie religiously takes her pills and nose-sprays, even if they don’t really help.  The girls tend to have their meetings at her house because Amie’s vast collection of air purifiers and HEPA filters help all of them to keep conversation going instead of just a symphony of sneezing and wheezing.

Melissa is allergic to every pollen a plant could produce and has been since she was around 8, which means that she only gets some reprieve during the coldest days of winter. She hates handkerchiefs, which she attributes to the pressure from her mother when she was growing up.  So, when the little travel packs of tissues in her pocket or purse inevitably run out, she uses the cuffs of her sleeves to keep her runny, twitchy nostrils as clean as she can. A curvy brunette with wide hazel eyes and a turned-up nose, she is a self-proclaimed tomboy despite her feminine features.  When she was in high school she got diagnosed with asthma, which is triggered by too many things to count and leaves her always a little breathless and wheezy.  

Karen, as it turns out, is susceptible to any single cold germ, suffering from 6-8 colds a year that always go straight to her nose.  Karen is always unprepared for a cold, relying on her friends for tissues or a spare hanky.  Tall and lanky with wheat-blonde hair perpetually caught up in some kind of ponytail or braid, her summer-sky blue eyes are shrewd and cunning.  Karen’s nose-colds produce what the girls like to joke are “pearl necklaces,” glimmering strings of mucus that dangle in trembling ropes from her cute button nose, thickly tenacious.  Karen is always so overcome by a cold-induced tickle that she never notices the "necklaces" until someone points it out to her.

Patty is the other asthmatic in the group, allergic to some pollens, strong scents, and animals, but also susceptible to colds.  A brick house of a woman with lustrous dark skin and premature streaks of silver in her dark hair, Patty is famous for her gigantic build-ups - her huge, incredibly sensitive nostrils pulsating like a rabbit’s as she hitches and gasps and wheezes towards the most humongous and dramatic single sneeze that she tries to catch in her growing collection of wildly colorful hankies. Surprisingly, hers are the driest of all their sneezes, if also the loudest. 

Kiku is the last of their motley crew, a petite Japanese with chin-length, straight black hair whose tiny nose would never seem to be able to produce such snotty, wet explosions.  Pollen and dust give her nose the worst tickles, but she never gets colds.  Kiku is the most embarrassed about her allergies: she can stifle without using her hands, but the more she stifles the more her nose tickles until finally she becomes what the girls call “a machine gun,” sneeze after wet sneeze taking over her tiny frame as she helplessly tries to shield others from the sight with her tiny, cupped hands.

Everything imaginable makes one or more of these girls sneeze, and they bonded at a young age as a result. 

Also… they love solving mysteries. 

Tonight?  They were meeting to go over the most recent baffling case that Karen had brought to the table.  All of them are around 30-31 years old: Karen is a police detective, Melissa is a lawyer, Amie is a coroner, Kiku is a journalist, and Patty is a successful mystery author.  The girls like to tease Patty, calling her “Jessica Fletcher.”

“Did you talk to–hhh!... to Pahhh–” Mel’s nose begins to itch deeply, her breath hitching even as she brings the damp tissues up to pinch and massage the tickly organ with one hand.  It’s no use: she’s going to sneeze.  “Huh-CHMP!!!...” The stifle makes her ears ring a little.  Her nose is full of pollen, and she has only begun to expel the bothersome little grains.  “HahhASHHooo!... huhERRSHooo! ahh...ahhhh...ikSSStchooo!!"” 

“Blehh–” Amie’s nose is itching, too, as it does pretty much 24/7. “Hhh??... ksh!-ksh!-ksh!... HH-ksh!-ksh!-ksh!-ksh!...ksh!...h’KSH!... HAH-kshhUUEEEE!...”

Mel gives a light laugh, sniffling back the watery fluid in her nose, the tissues useless.  “Bless you, honey.”

Amie recovers with a congested snort, clearly needing a good blow but not indulging while on the phone.  “Oh gooddess, bless us both!”  Her thickly congested voice sounds muffled, probably because she is sopping up the drippy results in one of her hankies.   “Yes, I talgked to Paddy.  She is gohh–...”  Amie’s breath hitches, little vocalizations from her throat high and tight as it spirals… but then she gives a deep, long sigh as the tickle fades.  “Ah… idt wedt away… sdfl … She is goigg to be ladte because she is doig a boogk sigdid id towd, budt she will cobe whed she’s dode. sdrfll.”

Most people would have a hard time deciphering Amie’s congested communication, but Mel has had years of practice.  She easily interprets that their famous author friend is doing a book signing in town and will come when she is done. 

“Ah, okay. I confirmed with Kiku earlier. We’ll see you at 7,” Mel says to get off the phone quickly - her sinuses are once more buzzing with an allergic onslaught.  The tree pollen count is high today, and she knows another sneeze or three are coming. 

“Buhhksh!-ksh!-ksh!... b’hh!-bye!... HH-ksh!-ksh!-ksh!-ksh!...” Amie hangs up, still sneezing.

Not a moment too soon. 

"Haahhchooo!!!" Melissa sneezes as she fumbles to put her phone back in her purse. "Ahh...haAASHoooo!!!" she sneezes again, spraying all over her hands as her fingers fumble. She loses her grasp and the phone falls to the ground. Her turned-up nose starts to run, and she wipes it with the nearly-destroyed wad of tissues, sniffling hard. Her nose is full and it's also starting to tickle again. She quickly finishes picking up the phone and putting it into her purse, but before she can dig out some clean tissues she knows she's going to sneeze again. As she stands in the middle of the sidewalk, her nose tickles so much that her eyes begin to water. Suddenly a tissue is the furthest thing from her mind as her entire being focuses on sneezing this unbearable tickle out of her nose. Her whole body rears back and her nostrils flare into perfect circles.

Finally, her knees bend and her body is thrown forward and "ahh...ahhh...ah...ah-kSHOOOO!!!" she sneezes so hard that snot flies out of her nose. Melissa sees it land on the ground in front of her, thick and glistening. Then - glancing around to make sure no one is watching - she grinds it in the pavement with the toe of her ballet flats until you can't see it anymore.

Mel has always loved to sneeze her sniffly nose clean, only keeping tissues around out of necessity.  If she had her way?  She would sneeze freely all the time, if it didn’t result in an inevitable mess that made people stare.

Thankfully, Karen loves it when Mel sneezes uncovered.  She likes watching Mel’s facial expressions, and they have a game where she rates the level of spray…

=== === ===

(Flashback to 8th grade.)

=== === ===

Present day.

Mel fumbles to get the keys from her purse, a terrible tickle dancing between her flaring, pink, quivering nostrils.  She knows that if she were watching herself in a mirror she would see her face in classic ‘pre-sneeze’ expression: the huge, round caverns stretching wide with want of a cleansing sneeze.   

The problem?  She has been needing to sneeze for the last hour.

And it just isn’t happening.

Melissa tried a new allergist recently - one that promised a medicine that would help suppress her sneezing when she needed it (at night, when she truly needs to sleep…) but wouldn’t leave her bleary all day, like most medications did.  The doctor has actually delivered as promised: the medicine does allow her to sleep deeply through the night, even if she still wakes up each morning sneezing her head off spring, summer, and fall.  But the medicine only suppresses the actual sneezing, not the itchy, tickly desperate need to sneeze. Mel will take the sneezes over that any day.

So, she has already decided to stop taking it.  She just needs to wait until it works its way out of her system. 

“Mel?” She hears her wife, Karen’s, voice coming from the office.  Karen works a couple of days a week from home: her job as a coroner allows her time to type up reports and transcribe lab tests.

“Yehh??--” she tries to answer, dropping her briefcase and tossing her trench coat at the coat rack.  “Yes, baby?” she manages, throat thick with the not-happening-but-god-I-need-it sneeze.

Karen appears at the entry hall, a concerned frown furrowing her brow. “Honey, are you okay?  You sound…”

One look at her wife is all she needs to know what is happening.

Melissa’s eyes are squinty, blinking rapidly with itchy, allergic tears.  Her nose is rubbed raw, evident of a long day of allergic torture.  Her lungs are wheezing audibly but not scarily, a couple of hits from her inhaler are all that is needed.  But obviously her nose is bothering her too much for her to notice. 

“Oh, love…” Karen coos, meeting her wife halfway and enveloping her in a long hug.  Melissa is still more curvy, her generous bosom and hips creating the ideal hourglass figure a la Nigella.  Karen is taller, leaner, with long arms that can easily wrap around her wife and cup the back of her head to tuck it under her chin.  “Bad day?”

“Idt’s… hh??--... dot– a bahh– bad day buhh–... but… h!-H!h’ihh– I’b so… SO ITDCHY!!...” Mel whines, uncharacteristically.  Normally she never complains, so for her to moan so tells Karen that her wife is truly suffering  “I deed to – h’H!! - sdeeze! – buhh… budt I cahh– cad’t…” 

Karen can hear the misery in her lover’s voice, and it breaks her heart.  “It’s okay, honey,” she murmurs, kissing the top of Melissa’s head as she cuddles her closer.  “We’ll fix it.” 

Gently guiding her sniffling, hitching, snorting love into the bathroom, Karen closes the lid on the toilet before helping her wife sit down and pushing some tissues into her hands.  “Blow, love.”  She turns on the shower as hot as it will go before heading into their bedroom to get a couple of ‘toys.’  Over the years, the couple has discovered many things that can help tease out a stubborn sneeze - or ten - as the situation warrants.

Karen knows exactly what she thinks will do the trick.  She just hopes she hasn’t misjudged…

Karen finds Mel drooping against the wall, crimson nostril still stretched wide and flaring, hitching pitifully.  Her eyes are half-closed, exhaustion and discomfort painting every inch of her curvy frame as she shifts uncomfortably, the allergic tickle tormenting relentlessly with no relief in sight.

“Oh, baby,” Karen coos, unable to suppress the flare of desire that the sight of her desperately allergic wife encites.  “I’ll make it better,” she promises, pressing a firm kiss to her wife’s temple before opening the small plastic bag she brought from their stash.

Ragweed.

It’s sinister. Ruthless. Undoubtedly Melissa’s ultimate nemesis. No matter how much the tree pollen in spring and grass pollen in summer can result in fit after wet and desperate sneezing fit… nothing - and, seriously, nothing - can make Mel sneeze like ragweed. Even one tiny grain in one sensitive nostril can ensure that she will be sneezing for hours. 

It’s definitely the only sure-fire way to break through whatever drug-induced block is keeping her wife from the much-needed release she so desperately needs.  But… this requires a certain delicate touch. After all, she doesn’t want Mel to suffer an allergic onslaught, just to find relief.

Karen hopes she is up to the challenge. 

“Here, honey,” she first passes the rescue inhaler to Mel’s shaking hand, watching as the wheezing woman struggles to take a couple of hits around her futile build-up. After a minute or two, the whistling disappears even if the need to sneeze doesn’t. 

Balling her hand into a fist, Karen extends just her pinky finger and barely touches it against the golden powder coating the inside of the plastic bag in her hand, careful not to disturb the stalk of flowering plant contained within.  Then - holding her breath - she slips the small digit up into her wife’s chapped, crimson, throbbing nostril and lightly swipes down and out.  Stepping quickly to the side, she folds the bag closed, setting it on the counter and pulling a handful of tissues from the box on the counter, holding them at the ready. 

The drugs must really have Mel in an iron grip, because it takes a full 30 seconds to take effect.  

The curvy woman’s upper lip slowly begins to curl into a tortured sneer of irritation, her entire body quivering as her breath hitches and huffs towards explosion. Her hands are balled into fists, her eyes squeezed tightly shut as itchy tears stream down her cheeks. Her lush lips mesmerize Karen into near distraction as they part, trembling, and a pink tongue comes out to moisten the full bottom as her breath spirals toward climax. 

Finally, a huge sneeze bends her at the waist, showering the floor with copious spray. 

HERUUSSSHHIEEWWWW!!” 

“Goodness!” Karen blinked, mouth suddenly dry. “That was—“

Before she could even finish giving a rating of 9.8, Mel’s entire upper body rears back dramatically, her face stretched cartoon-like in preparation for the violent fit to come. Her hands hover, claw-like, several inches in front of her face in paralyzed rigor. 

EEHHKKKTSSCHHIIEEWWW!”

Another gargantuan spraying sneeze nearly topples Mel off her seat; only Karen’s quick movement catches her wife and helps keep her from tumbling to the floor in an embarrassing, sneezy heap. 

But Karen must have used too much of the ragweed, because Melissa keeps sneezing.

“ahh..HASHOO!!! ...ishoooo!!..ah..ahh...  KACHOO!!!.. .haaSHOO!!! ...haSHOO!!!...  aahhCHEW… eh...ehh..eshhSHOOO!!!"  Held tightly in her wife’s embrace, Melissa sprays sneeze after wet, desperate sneeze as her nose attempts to rid itself of the pesky, spiky grains. 

On and on and on. 

Karen - who normally enjoys keeping track of how many sneezes her wife could do in a long fit - actually loses count. By the time the tickle in her nose has finally calmed down enough for her to try to catch her breath, Karen’s blouse is as soaked as Mel’s chin, lips, and cheeks. 

The young woman is exhausted but smiling. 

“Oh, hodey,” she croaks, throat scraped raw by the violent fit even as she snorts through thick congestion. “Thagk you. Feels SO buch better.” 

Karen can’t help it: she cups her wife’s tear-stained cheeks and passionately kisses her swollen, sneeze-damp lips. Then, with a mischievous glint in her eye, she drops a light, bare-kiss on the swollen, still-twitching nose. 

“Heh!’-khsshhh!” Came the light kiss of sneeze in return.  “Hey,” Mel giggles, pulling Karen down to straddle her lap where she sits. “Doh fahh!— fair…she manages before turning away to fire two more spraying sneezes over her shoulder. Turning back, she wiggles her itchy nose around in a circle, nostrils stretching wide with a thickly liquid sniffle, their rims shiny with wetness.

“Here,” Karen is smiling lovingly down at the incredibly allergic woman in her arms. Bringing the wad of tissues she had not been able to employ while frozen in the grip of fascinated lust, she tucks the lotioned squares securely around the red, dripping nose, her other arm lovingly pulling the curvy woman against her more lean frame as she murmurs, “Blow.” 

Six times the tissues are changed as blow after drenching blow - and no fewer than 10 more sneezes - are fired into Karen’s slender hand. When it is all done, Melissa slumps against her wife with a long, satisfied, exhausted sigh. 

“Maybe we shouldn’t go tonight,” Karen tones softly as she strokes Melissa’s broader back.  “I think you need to rest.” 

“Doh,” Mel straightens and gazes into her wife’s beautiful, worried face. “I’b okay.  I’ll take sobe beds add we cad go.  It’s ad ibportadt case.” 

Karen’s eyes flicker back and forth into the shorter woman’s for a moment, considering. “Okay,” she breathes, leaning her forehead into Mel’s. “If you’re sure.”

 

 

Edited by starpollen
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This is freaky.  It's like you peeked into my brain for my most favorite, dream, sneeze scenario, and then proceeded to write it out...I might never recover from this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Not sure that this can get any better, but hey, I am game for whatever else might come along!  I can't WAIT.

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I love this SO much. I remember reading the OG some years back and enjoyed it. It is nice to see that someone decided to continue it.

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So glad you guys are loving this!  It's a lot of fun to write.  To be fair, my job is very busy at the moment so I've not had as much time to write as I would like.  But I do plan to keep working on this, as long as there are people excited to read it. :thumbup: 

I'm still struggling with the present vs. past tenses as I write some flashbacks.  If you find past tense in the posted chapters, please let me know so I can correct it. 

Part 2 - Hope you enjoy! 

===  ===  ===

A couple of hours - and several prescription medication doses - later, the couple stands on the doorstep of a cute little 1920’s Tudor, ringing the antique bell.  

Cohh- ksh!-ksh!-ksh!cobig!…” A muffled voice calls in a song-song tone. “hh!!-ksh!-ksh!-ksh! -ksh!-ksh-kshhuue!... ugh, sorry…” 

The door opens and Amie is standing there to greet them, a yellow hankie stamped with blue tulips pressed urgently under her dripping nose.  

“Cobe id!” She steps to the side and gestures with the hanky-clad hand, sniffling and blinking rapidly. “Cobe… ihhh-“ The hanky hovers in front of her face as her breath catches, but then lowers as the urge retreats. “Ugh, thad’s beed happedig all-… hH!-h!… ahhll day,” she finishes breathily, eyes squinting as the tickle teases. “By cleadig lady has a bad cohh- cold so I told her dot to-…” Amie’s breath once more spirals, the yellow cloth fluttering up to hover like an expectant butterflyAhhh, lost it,” Amie’s shoulders drop as the urge retreats, pinching the cloth around her nose and rubbing in desperate, itchy circles as she closes the door behind them. Leading the way to the back den where the girls always do their sleuthing, she continues, “I told her dot to cobe todayI didd’t wadt to expose adybody.” 

She means Karen and Patty - they all know it - but politely doesn’t spell it out.  

“She couldd’t cobe last week, either, becahhh?… Because I wahhh’H!was called idto work udexpectedly… This case, ahhctuallysdffl.  So the duhhst has beedh-h-HhH!! Ahh!’- ksh!...h’KSH!... reallybad!…” she gasps, voice high and tight, thick with oncoming sneeze.ksh!-… ksh!-… ksh!-ksh!-kah!-… ksh!-kshhuue!...” 

“It’s okay,” Karen rubs her friend's thin back as she continues to sneeze fitfully into the hanky. Knowing Amie, it wasn’t only the slight amount of dust in her otherwise immaculate house that was setting her off, but the girls didn’t point this out. “You know we don’t mind.”  

“You should have seen me earlier,” Melissa grins, giving a subconscious ‘allergic salute’ to her own still-pink nostrils with the hand not holding her wife’s. “I had the worst tickle all day and just couldn’t sneeze it outIt was torture.”  Her nose twitches, remembering.  

Soon they are ensconced in worn leather sofa and chairs, the air purifiers and HEPA filters humming contentedly from every corner of the back den and sipping crisp white wine, watching the sun go down through the expansive (and tightly closed) windows.  

“So,” Karen sets down her glass and smiles at Amie. “Can we start talking about the caseOr do we need to wait for Kiku and Patty?” 

Amie has already changed the soaked yellow tulip hankie for a red-and-white checked one, reminiscent of a picnic blanketMel notices that it is well-worn, making her think of the vintage ones her mother still keeps in a small basket in the front hall closet of her childhood home.  

“We cad probably start,” Amie reaches for a nasal spray from the huge arsenal of medicines grouped on her side table. Closing one nostril, she snorts a big dose up one side, blinking and holding her breath in the aftermath. Waiting only a couple of seconds, she snorts another dose up the other side, pinching her nose closed with one hand and rubbing in firm strokes as she returns the spray to its place. Snorting a couple more times and still blinking, she unconsciously reaches for the hanky as she continues, fisting it in her lap. “This one is a real doozyAnd the police have no leads, none whatsoever.”  The spray has managed to take away her congestion, for a minute or two. 

“We haven’t been stumped yet,” Mel proclaims confidently, lovingly squeezing Karen’s thigh with one hand and raising her wine glass with the other. “I’m sure we can crack it.”  

The doorbell rings.  

“That must be Kiku,” Karen stands to answer, seeing that Amie is preoccupied with another tickle, glazed eyes staring unfocused into the distance as her lips part and her nose gives a tell-tale twitch“Bless you.”  

Sure enough.  

Hhh??... ksh!-ksh!-ksh!... Thahh-… HH-ksh!-ksh!-ksh!-ksh!...Thagks, hohh-… hohhdeyksh!...h’KSH!... HAH-kshhUUEEEE!... Oh, this duhhst…” Amie is massaging her itchy nostrils intently with the damp cloth, eyes nearly crossed in their focus on the sensation between them. The congestion is back with a vengeance. “I really hope by cleadig lady gehh-… gets better hh’hH!… sood!… ksh!-… ksh!-… ksh!-ksh!-kah!-… ksh!-kshhuue!... Oh, egscuse be…”  

Reaching for the tissue box near her medicinal arsenal, she picks it up and gives it a shake, clearly surprised to find it emptyAmie’s watery eyes begin casting about the room, even as her breath is hitching toward another fit.  

Melissa also glances around, not seeing another box in the room; Amie must have been going through them like water todayBut the girls have been coming here long enough that all of them know where the spare boxes are keptDowning the last of her wine, Mel rises and goes down the hall to the linen closet, fetching two fresh boxes from the crowded stacks on two deep shelves even as she hears Amie sneezing away behind her.  

When she returns and hands one already-open box into Amie’s grateful hands, Kiku and Karen are there sporting fresh glasses of wine, Karen generously filling her wife’s glass.  

“No Patty tonight?” Kiku asks in her soft, girly voiceOf all of them, Kiku still looks exactly as she did the day they met her in the girl’s bathroom in 7th grade. The tiny Asian had been trying to hide while suffering an allergy attack brought on by some 8th grade boys shaking a mass of dusty curtains in the libraryBlinking dark eyes, she takes the tiniest sip of wine: the stuff goes to her head much quicker than the other girls. 

“She’s coming,” Karen supplies as Amie succumbs to another ticklish fit“Had a book signingBut I’ve emailed her a lot of the detailsOk, ladies,” she gulps a large swallow of wine before setting her glass down and clapping her hands. “Let’s go over what we know.”  

Passing around several folders with copies of evidence and autopsy reports, the four of them pore over the contents.  

Dr. Henry Malban, a renowned plastic surgeon, had been found dead at home by his housekeeperThe body had been propped up in an armchair in front of the fireplace, obviously stagedNo sign of trauma or other cause of death except for the two glaring holes where his eyes should beNo blood anywhere at the scene or even anywhere else in the houseNo sign of a break in, and nothing seemed to be missing according to the housekeeperThe good doctor’s wife (who was his former surgical assistant and therefore the prime suspect) had an ironclad alibi: she’d been on the operating table, having surgery herself to correct some faulty breast implants.  

In the middle of a heated debate regarding the testimony of the housekeeper (which had a couple of minor inconsistencies) a pounding knock at the front door sounds like a gunshot, making everyone but Melissa jump. Kiku jumps so violently that she knocks over her still-full glass of wine, shattering it on the parquet floor.  

“Oh!” She gasps, dark eyes wide. “Oh Amie I’m so sorry! I-“ 

Dod’t worry, hodey,” Amie soothes as she stands. “It’s just a-… hh’HH!-… a glahhsss…” Cupping the checked hanky to her nose one-handed, she picks her way carefully through the mess to answer the doorCohh- ksh!-ksh!-ksh!… cobig!…” She calls in a song-song tone as her sneezing fades down the long hall. hh!!-ksh!-ksh!-ksh! -ksh!-ksh-kshhuue!... 

Within moments, Patty’s brassy voice rings through the house, rattling the walls with its strident tone and slight Caribbean accent. “Amie, darling, how are you todayYou look absolutely gorgeous! 

Amie’s silvery laughter - punctuated by a few fittish sneezes - follows. “Oh, Patty you ohhld flihhh!!flirt… ksh!-ksh-kshhuue!…”  

Bless you, darlingIs it that pesky grass again? I noticed that dreadful neighbor of yours had just cut it, again.The voices were moving closer.  

As if the mere mention of the word ‘grass’ could conjure it, both Amie and Melissa’s noses react.  

Hhh??... ksh!-ksh!-ksh!...” 

HahhASHHooo!...” 

“HH-ksh!-ksh!-ksh!-ksh!” 

huhERRSHooo!” 

“...ksh!...h’KSH!... HAH-kshhUUEEEE!...” 

ahh...ahhhh...ikSSStchooo!!" 

“Oh dear,” Patty appears in the doorway, generous chest heaving with her standard wheezy whistleNo matter how much she uses her inhaler, Patty is always wheezing just a little“I got a nose-full of it on my way in.  I dare say, I will be sneezing, myself, any minute!” Her large, dark nostrils flared with a pointed sniff“How are you, girls?” Wide, white teeth flash in a genuine smile.  

Karen and Kiku rise to give their friend hugs of greeting, the tiny Asian woman nearly disappearing in the larger woman’s ample cleavage.   

Karen is the only one who notices that Kiku’s tiny button nose twitches ever-so-slightly when she emerges, the small amount of dust in the house or maybe the grass pollen worming its way into her sensitive tissues. Knowing Kiku, she will suppress the urge to sneeze until the last second, probably excusing herself to the bathroom where (unbeknownst to her) the ensuing explosions will echo off the tile even louder than had she stayed in the room. 

Melissa sneezes one more ferocious ahh...ahhh… ah...ah-KACHIEEWW!” caught in a tissue her wife had pressed into her hand just in time, snot jetting from her round upturned nose as she sneezes out whatever was irritating it. “Hi, Patty,” she says from the depths of the tissue as she gives her nose a quick, hard blow.  

Amie is cleaning up the broken glass with a broom one-handed, the other once more massaging intently at her pink, pointed nose that seems to be itching intensely, even after the recent fit.  

Karen goes to the kitchen to get 2 wine glasses and open a new bottle.  

Patty lowers her impressive frame into her customary armchair near Amie’s, plucking a tissue from the box and pushing her two index fingers into it, delving deep into her wide nostrils and swirling circles as they plumb the depths to dig at a blossoming tickle. “That neighbor, I swear, he cuts his grass every day, it seems likeAnd he knows what it does to her, I know he does!”  

“Maybe he likes women’s sneezes,” Karen answers, returning with two full glasses of cool wine, the bottle tucked under her armGiving her wife a mischievous wink, she sets a glass each in front of both Patty and Kiku before resuming her seat.  

Patty balls the tissue in one hand and opens her mouth as if to say more, but suddenly her dark eyes go unfocused, ample chest expanding with a loud, wheezy gasp.  

“Here she goes,” Mel giggles, taking a sip of wine between liquid sniffles.  

Amie returns, having changed her hanky - a pale green this time, with a pink border - and settles back into her chair with a sneezy smile to watch the show.  

Completely ignoring the blatant stares of her friends, Patty begins to give huff after wheezy huff, eyes rolling up into her head as her chin trembles and nostrils quiver wildly. Both arms clutch at the arms of the chair for stability as the tickle takes over her entire body.  

 “Huuuuh…” 

“How many do you think it’s going to be this time?” Melissa murmurs to Karen, snuggling close.  

Huuuhhuhhhuuuhhh!…” 

“I’ll lay bets on… six,” Karen glances at Amie. “What do you think, Ames?” 

Amie’s red-rimmed nostrils flare into long ovals as she gives a deep sniffle, blinkingUb, baybe ehhh’eight?” She manages to swallow back a sneeze, caught up in watching Patty wind up for one of her enormous explosions.  

HUUUUUUH’hh!” 

“I’ll take seven, then,” Karen smirks in triumph, believing her bet to be sureThe winner will get to choose what they order for delivery, and she has been craving Chinese. The losers must divide the bill equally between them.  

The larger woman is blinking blearily, her wheezy gasps more akin to shouts, seeming to come up from her toes.  

“HEEEEEEEEEEHHEEEEHHEEEEE!!” 

“Five,” Kiku tones softly but firmly, the steel core that her silken exterior hides making a rare appearance.  

Patty’s large hands fumble desperately for her purse, diving into it and bringing forth the most ridiculous handkerchief Melissa has ever seen, and considering the vast collection her mother kept for her father that was saying somethingIt is a wild paisley, mixing purple and yellow and green and orange in a cacophony of colors.  

Patty’s ample chest heaves, barely holding her breath until she yanks the handkerchief free from her purse’s depths. She brings it to her face as she gives a deep, sharp gasp that sounds almost a scream… 

“HAHHHAHHHHH—AHHUUUUEEEEEEAAAAAHHH!!!” 

…and sneezes powerfully into it: 

“HHAAAAAAEEEESSHOOOOOO!!!” 

All the other girls give a groan, sending Kiku bemused looks of near-annoyanceFive build-ups, as Kiku accurately predictedShe gets to choose dinner, and they all think she’s going to pick sushiNot Karen’s favorite.  

“Pizza,” Kiku announces with regal triumphIt’s a generous choice: everyone can order half of one they like and Amie - as hostess - can order an organic, lactose-free, gluten-free pie that won’t send her body into fitsShe rises, cell phone in hand to make the order. 

As Patty wheezes loudly in panting recovery, scrubbing the ridiculous hanky around her wide, dark nostrils, each of the girls name their choice:

“Hawaiian,” Melissa calls, gulping down another big swallow of wine.  

“Sausage, mushroom, and anchovy,” Karen cackles. “With green peppers.”  

Pehheperoni,” Patty wheezes breathlessly, taking a big hit from her inhaler that causes her impressive chest to strain against the fabric of her blouse.  

“The usual,” Amie chokes out before sneezing fitfully into her pale green hankyKiku knows exactly which pizza shop to call to get what Amie can safely eat.  

The girls know that - as winner - Kiku will choose a seafood concoction in true Japanese fashion with Kewpie mayo. Each is hoping her half of pizza isn’t the one in the same box as Kiku’s.  

The girls settle for light chit-chat until the pizza arrives, knowing that they do their best sleuthing on a full stomach. 

They know they will solve the case: it’s only a matter of time. 

 

 

Edited by starpollen
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  • starpollen changed the title to The Sneezy Wheezy Girls, Part 2 / ? - A (not really) Murder Mystery. Updated Sept 23.

Wow, another great chapter. Amie and Patty are just adorable with their handkerchiefs. I can't wait for Karen or Kiku to need a handkerchief because of their allergies or cold and Amie or Petty to help them out like a good friend.

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