Dr. Yotaria Strikes Again
Yotaria paused, tapping her Disco-patterned Kau hooves against
the edge of her desk. Being a sikowlogist--skiwologyst--well, however you spelled
it, it was much more boring than the Kau had originally thought. Sure, it'd only
been two hours since she'd opened her doors--or, more specifically, her door--to
the public, but she'd only had one client. Granted, that client had been King
Skarl, and he'd promised to send a Skeith Guard over with her payment, but with
that excitement over, it was boring.
The Kau stood and trotted around the desk. She
sat in the client chair--really her brother Lyrian's desk chair, as, after Skarl's
departure, Yotaria had been minus one large armchair. Lyrian wasn't using it
anyway; being a Kiko, he just floated above the chair seat.
She peered at the certificates hung above her
desk, wondering whether anyone else would be able to spot the fact that they
were fake. Perhaps Skarl had just had superb eyesight, Yotaria decided, and
went back to sit behind her desk.
"Hey, 'Taria! There's someone here! Want me
to let them in?" her brother's voice called.
"Yes!" Yotaria yelled back, not bothering to
explain or sigh over the fact that she'd explained several times that he was
to let in anyone who came, regardless of whether they were a hero, villain,
or just a celebrity.
The door opened half a second after the Kau's
yell, and Lyrian bobbed in. "Fyora, 'Taria, you don't need to shout. I'm right
Yotaria shrugged. "Where's the client?" she
asked, tugging down the sleeves of her official-looking white lab coat. She
slid a little notebook out of a desk drawer to take notes on and glanced up
The Kiko bobbed again, indecisively. "Well...
you see... he, er, she, er, it is sort of--"
"Already in," Lyrian said, pointing to a small
stain on the carpeted floor next to the client chair.
"What? Lyrian, this isn't another of your crazy
ideas, is it?"
A pink, bubbling goo crept around the doorway
and rolled over the carpet to join the stain. Yotaria stared, her pretensions
of being a sikowlogist banished--for a moment. Quickly she regained control
of her facial expression and cleared her throat. "Um. Lyrian, you can, er, go
The Sketch Kiko floated out with an odd look
at the goo. Yotaria was looking at it a bit askance herself. "So, er, what's
your name?" she asked, pen poised to scribble in her notebook.
It bubbled up a sort of head; a mouth opened
in the goo. "The... Stuff..." it moaned; then the mouth collapsed in on itself,
and the head melted back into the rest.
"Won't you take a seat?" Yotaria asked, trying
to appear unsurprised at The Stuff's appearance as a psychological client. Her
limits were sorely tested by the Stuff's next motion, which was to ooze up the
chair leg and onto the chair.
"What... seems to be the problem?" the Kau said,
trying not to stare. She didn't quite succeed.
Once more it formed itself a head and a mouth
to speak with. "Hated... by... people. They scream, run away." It collapsed,
then reformed. "Want to.. play. Have fun."
Yotaria nodded sympathetically, and scribbled
"Stuff just wants to have fun" in her notebook. "How does that make you feel?"
"I... what... emotions?"
"Er, happy, sad, you know? Hate, love, war,
peace, all that stuff." Yotaria winced at her choice of words.
"...How... does what... make me feel?"
"Anything!" said the Kau, happy to have found
some familiar ground at last. "Any of it, really. Just talk. Let the words,
er, come out freely. Yeah," she added, half to herself, sinking lower in her
chair. Maybe this psychologist idea wasn't so great.
"Oh... screaming... running... make me sad,"
the Stuff reported. "They not... like me... and don't... try to know.. me."
"And what do you think causes this screaming
and running?" the Kau asked authoritatively.
"I... collectable card... Neopedia..."
"Neopedia?" Yotaria stood up and crossed the
room to the large bookcase; she took out a thick volume labeled "Neopedia N-Z".
She flipped through it. "Let's see, Stuff, Stuff... but there isn't an article
"The... Stuff. Not Stuff," The Stuff said.
"Oh!" She flipped some more pages, wondering
as she did how she was turning the pages with hooves. It wasn't the first time
she'd wondered such a thing, and probably wouldn't be the last. "The Stuff."
A moment of silence followed, broken only by the Stuff oozing over the edge
of the chair and dripping onto the floor. It was a rather nasty sound, but Yotaria
tried to ignore that fact and concentrate on reading.
"That isn't exactly complimentary, is it?" the
Kau said, coming back to the desk. She set the book on the desktop and took
up her notebook again, writing, "Neopedia against" and then hesitated before
scribbling "blobs of random stuff."
"No... it is.. not. Nice to... talk to... someone
who... doesn't scream.. or run," the Stuff burbled.
"Aw, thanks. No, I'm just doing my job, you
know? Skiwologist and all that." Yotaria smiled. "But really, I'm not the only
person who doesn't scream or run away. Hey, Lyrian!" she added in a yell.
"You... screaming...now," the Stuff commented.
"Oh, Fyora," Yotaria said. "Look, I was just
calling out to my brother. Really. It's okay."
The door opened. "Yeah?" Lyrian said.
"Lyrian, this is, er, Mr. Stuff. Mr. T. Stuff.
T is short for The." Yotaria winked at her brother, hoping he'd get it and play
"Mr. Stuff! Wow!" Lyrian bobbed into the room.
"I must be your biggest fan, Mr. Stuff. It's awesome to finally meet you," the
Yotaria smiled, relieved. "See? Not everyone
hates you, Stuff. You just have to let people know that you're not a monster,
and then they won't care how, er, oozy you are."
"I... thank you..." the Stuff said.
There was a knock on the door. "Hey, I'll get
it!" Lyrian said, and bobbed off.
"No problem, really. It isn't anything," Yotaria
The Kiko came back. "This Skeith person thing
says he has something for you," Lyrian reported, showing a Skeith dressed in
the red and blue of Meridell into the room.
The Skeith glanced around, bowed to Yotaria--and
then saw the Stuff. "Aaagh! It's the Stuff! Help, help, Skarl, Chia Police,
help, murder robbery scandal! It'll eeeaaat me!" he screamed, and ran from the
room, clutching the small bag of Neopoints he was carrying.
Yotaria blinked, and wondered briefly who the
Chia Police were that the Skeith Guard had referred to. "Well, see, not everyone
is like that, Stuff. You shouldn't judge everyone's reactions by one person,"
she started to say.
"Thank... for the help... you gave," the Stuff
said. It oozed off of the chair and out the door, passing underneath Lyrian
on the way out. "You... too..." it added to the Kiko.
"Thanks!" Lyrian said, and waved. "See you later,
Yotaria looked at the chair, which had retained
a stain when the Stuff left it. "Oh, dung," she muttered. "One wonders how many
chairs the big-time sikowlogists go through every day."
"Hey, er, 'Taria?" Lyrian asked, floating over.
"Could I ask you something?"
"Sure," the Kau said, guessing it was something
like 'can I help you be a sikowlogist' or 'why was that Skeith just here' or
"Er... what's the Stuff?" the Kiko asked.