It was a lovely day in Harvey Street; the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the air was filled with the laughter of children. In the living room in a certain trailer, however, the Harvey Girls were relaxing and enjoying a few glasses of lemonade together. The three of them - Audrey, Dot and Lotta - had recently stopped the raccoons from taking over their beloved playground. To celebrate their victory over the bushy-tailed rascals, the Girls were treating themselves to some lemonade that Lotta had made.
Audrey was enjoying her beverage particularly more than Dot and Lotta. Audrey's glass was filled with sun-yellow lemonade, ice cubes and a pink and yellow straw that she was drinking through. It was full at first, but with a couple of long sips, she sucked in at least half of it down her throat.
"Um, Audrey?" Dot asked, sounding a bit concerned. "You really don't need to drink it that fast. You know that, right?"
"Yeah, but what can I say?" Audrey replied. "It's delicious!"
She took another large sip of her lemonade, draining the glass of all of its liquid in less than fifteen seconds. All that remained were the ice cubes and the straw, the former of which fell to the bottom. Audrey swallowed, then sighed in contentment as she put down her glass. Dot and Lotta just looked at her, the former a bit annoyed, the latter surprised and a bit astonished.
"D-did you just..." Lotta started, but went straight into another question before she could finish. "How thirsty were you, Audrey?!"
"You'd be thirsty, too, if the last time you had something to drink was right before we had to outsmart the coons," replied Audrey.
"Well, don't blame us once you need to go to the little girls' room," said Dot, sarcastically.
Audrey chuckled a bit over her comment, but then winced as she gave a loud, squeak-like noise.
Dot's eyes widened as she heard the sound, while Lotta winced as well. Audrey sat up, looking a bit surprised as she blinked.
"Uh, what just happened?" Audrey wanted to know.
"I'm not sure," Lotta replied. "You think it was the lemonade wishing you hadn't drunk it so fast?"
Audrey wanted to disagree with that idea, but she made the noise again.
"Hic!" She placed one of her hands over her mouth. Lotta looked at her in concern.
"Oh, Audrey, are you alright?" she asked. She placed her hand on her forehead. "I think you're coming down with something...!"
"Hic!" Audrey made the noise again, but it was clear she wasn't taking Lotta's reaction too well. Dot gently pulled her good-sized friend's hand off of Audrey's head.
"Don't be silly, Lotta," Dot said. "Audrey isn't coming down with something. She just has the hiccups."
"She does?" Lotta asked.
Dot nodded again, but not before Audrey had made the noise again. It was like she was proving Dot's point for Lotta.
"The hiccups have a variety of causes, and sometimes even happen for no reason," Dot went on. "But it's Audrey's own fault she got them. I tried to warn her not to drink her lemonade too fast..."
"Now I see why," said Audrey. She made the noise again. "Hic!"
"And that noise she keeps making is a hiccup," Dot finished. "She won't stop doing that until the hiccups go away."
"Isn't there a way we can make her stop?" Lotta asked.
"Actually, there is. Multiple ways, in fact. But we won't know which one will work until we try them..."
"Hic!" Another hiccup from Audrey.
"You know, Audrey, I think you should hold your breath first," said Dot. "Why don't you try it for about a minute?"
"Well, I guess it's worth- Hic -a shot."
Audrey took the deepest breath she could. Her eyes wide and her cheeks puffed up, she held her breath. Dot and Lotta stayed where they were, watching her. They didn't want to accidentally distract her from trying to get rid of her hiccups.
Audrey was sure she could keep from inhaling or exhaling any more air for, in fact, sixty seconds. However, before even twenty seconds had gone by, her lungs had begun to cry out for her to breathe out. But she had to keep holding her breath, or the hiccups wouldn't go away.
She placed her hands over her mouth, shaking her head as though she were trying to resist the urge to exhale. But as seconds went by, it became harder, and harder. Her eyelids twitched and she almost began to sweat.
"Um, Audrey?" Lotta asked, a bit worried. "I don't think you can hold it anymore..."
Audrey shook her head in disagreement, but her lungs agreed with Lotta. They needed to expel the air for relief. She could feel them twitching and trembling, along with her face and her hands...
Seeing that her friend was struggling, Dot decided that it was time for her to give up. "She's right, Audrey," she quickly said, "just let it all out!"
Audrey immediately exhaled loudly, and just like that, her lungs and chest began to feel better. She panted a few times and wiped the sweat off of her forehead.
"Oh, man... How long did I last?" Audrey wanted to know.
"If I were to estimate, I'd say just under a minute," said Dot.
"Did the hiccups go away?" Lotta asked with a hopeful tone in her sweet voice.
Audrey smiled a bit, thinking they had gone - but before she could say so, out came another, "Hic!"
"Aw, dang it!" Audrey said, a bit frustrated that her first try didn't work. Dot and Lotta were a little disappointed as well, but not as much as Audrey.
"Okay, so holding your breath didn't work," Dot acknowledged. "Not to worry. There's always plan B."
"And what's plan B? Hic!" Audrey hiccuped again.
Dot and Lotta each took a minute to think about what to do next. Suddenly Lotta got an idea.
"How about a glass of water?"
"I'm not sure about that..." Dot mentioned. "If Audrey hadn't drunk all her lemonade so fast, she wouldn't have got the hiccups in the first place."
"Hic!" replied Audrey.
"Yeah, but water always works when I have the hiccups," Lotta mentioned. "Well... usually."
"Well, I suppose we could try that next," Dot agreed.
Lotta went into the kitchen of the trailer, opened up the cupboard and pulled out a glass. She held it under the sink, turned it on and filled the glass with water. In the meantime, Dot stayed with Audrey, who stood there hiccuping every few seconds or so. Finally, however, Lotta came back with a half-full glass of water, which she handed to Audrey.
"Here you go, Audrey," said Lotta.
"Drink it slowly," Dot advised. "Or your hiccups will get even worse."
Audrey nodded in understanding and then hiccuped again. The water came flying out of the glass, but then landed back in perfectly. Lotta giggled to herself, but quickly stopped herself before it became too audible. She didn't want her friends to think she wasn't taking this seriously.
As slowly as she could, Audrey drank the glass of water. She had to chug it a bit so she wouldn't have to hiccup while she was drinking it. But after a few seconds, she was done, and she panted a few times. A half-cup of water felt like more than she could handle.
"Now are your hiccups gone?" Lotta asked.
Audrey was going to reply, but was interrupted by another, "Hic!" followed by a look of complete dismay. "Oh, come on!"
Lotta must have thought Audrey was mad at her, so she shrugged her arms sheepishly with a cute, nervous smile.
"I... guess water doesn't always work for you, either..." she said with an equally nervous chuckle.
"Don't get too worked up, Audrey," said Dot. Audrey calmed down a little, but hiccuped again after. "So the first two plans didn't work, no big deal. We can always try something else. Besides, as they say, the third time's a charm."
"But if we want the third time to be a charm," Lotta said to Dot, who turned to her so she could listen, "we'll have to come up with a really good way to get rid of the hiccups."
As Dot and Lotta began to talk about ways to get rid of Audrey's hiccups, Audrey stood where she was and listened for a moment. Sometimes she hiccuped, but they went mostly ignored. But then she felt a familiar sensation - what Dot had been talking about when she initially finished her lemonade. Slowly, ever so slowly, she turned and snuck away from her friends, not letting her hiccups blow her cover, for two reasons; so they could discuss their plan alone, and... I'm sure you can guess the second reason.
"We should have her breathe into a bag," Dot started. "The more she does it, and the more deeply she does it, the sooner the hiccups will go away."
"You think so?" Lotta asked. "What if she stands on her head and counts to a hundred?"
"Stand on her head? Count to a hundred?" Dot sounded like she couldn't believe it. "That's the silliest thing I ever heard!"
"Maybe, but I thought it was more creative," said Lotta.
"As much as I appreciate your creativity," Dot stated, "I'd rather we go with my idea first. If it doesn't work, we'll go with yours and see if it works."
"Oh, alright," Lotta replied, sounding a bit defeated.
Dot reached to one side of her, pulled out a brown paper bag and shook it out a few times. Within a few seconds, it looked far more like a bag than the folded mound of paper it was at first.
"Okay, Audrey, I suggest you..." Dot started, but before she could say anymore, she saw that Audrey was nowhere to be seen. "Audrey?"
Lotta looked where Dot was looking, but didn't see Audrey, either.
"Hey, where'd she go?" Lotta wanted to know.
Dot didn't reply at first, but then she and Lotta heard a flushing sound, followed by running water from a sink. Both of the sounds stopped after a few seconds, and then Audrey came back into the living room of the trailer. She had a smile of relief on her face.
"Audrey, where have you been?" Dot asked.
"Nowhere. I just had to go to... you know," said Audrey. She hiccuped again.
"At least the lemonade and the water are finished with you," Dot said. "And did you wash your hands?"
"I was going to suggest," Dot said as she showed Audrey the paper bag she was holding, "that you breathe into this bag a few times. I'm sure it'll help relieve your hiccups."
"Alright, let's try it."
Audrey took the bag, took a deep breath and blew into it. She repeated this once, then hiccuped again. This was probably a sign this wasn't helping, but she kept on breathing in and out into the bag, causing it to get bigger and smaller.
"Any minute now, her hiccups will stop, or at least slow down," said Dot.
"You think so?" Lotta asked.
A couple of breaths later, Audrey had blown into the bag until it was as large as it could be - and then she hiccuped again, causing the bag to pop loudly. Bits of paper bag blew around while the Harvey Girls stood where they were, surprised while Audrey looked a bit dazed.
"Um, Audrey?" Dot rubbed her head in slight dizziness, as the bag popping had caught her off-guard a bit, "when I said breathe into the bag, I didn't mean make it explode."
Audrey shook her head and regained her balance. "It's not like I could help it... Hic!"
Realizing Audrey's hiccups still hadn't gone away, Dot sighed in dismay, her hand upon her forehead.
"I guess we'll have to try your idea next, Lotta," Dot mentioned.
"Okay," Lotta replied, but she didn't seem to remember what her idea was. "Um, what was my idea?"
"Something about Audrey standing on her head and counting to a hundred," Dot reminded her.
"Really, Lotta?" Audrey looked at her in disbelief. "You've got to be kidding me... Hic!"
"Why don't you just try it?" Lotta asked. "It's not like it won't work, either..."
Audrey sighed to herself, knowing she didn't have much of a choice. With another hiccup, she sat down on the floor, then placed both of her hands on the floor in front of her and grunted a bit as she tried to stand on her head. It was a bit tough, but she finally managed, even though she hiccuped again.
"Do I HAVE to count to- Hic -a hundred?"
Lotta thought about the idea, then decided to make it easier for Audrey. "You know what, how about you count to twenty-five instead? It takes less time, doesn't it?"
"Alright, then." Audrey started to count, struggling to keep her feet up. "One, two, three, four... Hic! ...five, six, seven, eight... Hic!"
"Nine, ten... eleven, twelve, thirteen... fourteen, fifteen... Hic!"
That last hiccup caused Audrey to lose her balance and fall down. She wasn't hurt, however; she just stood up, rubbing her face and looking frustrated.
"Ugh, dang it! These hiccups are- Hic -getting on my nerves!"
"I told you that wouldn't work..." Dot said to Lotta, not sounding too amused.
"Well, at least she almost got to twenty-five," Lotta replied. "Almost."
"Hic! Isn't there ANYTHING that can stop these?!" Audrey demanded to know. "Hic!"
"We're sorry, Audrey," Dot apologized. "We were really hoping we could find some get rid of your hiccups - but I guess you've got one of the most severe cases Harvey Street has ever seen."
"No kidding. Hic!" replied Audrey.
Lotta turned her head this way and that, looking for something that she could use to help relieve Audrey's hiccups. She didn't find anything, however, except for a bouquet of flowers in a vase. Earlier this morning, Lotta had picked a few flowers on her way to the trailer, and placed them in that vase to add some decoration to the trailer. Maybe if Audrey smelled these flowers, they could help her hiccups in some way. They probably wouldn't, but it was worth a try.
Lotta went over to the vase and gently pulled the flowers out of it. Then she went back over to Audrey and Dot, the former of whom was still hiccuping.
"I know you're still having a problem with those hiccups and all," Lotta started. She showed the bouquet of blooming flowers to Audrey. "But I was hoping these flowers could make you feel better."
Audrey looked at the flowers for a moment. They had pink and yellow petals with deeper yellow centers.
"It's cool that you wanna cheer me up, Lotta, but- Hic -I don't see how these will help," said Audrey.
"Actually..." Dot added as she got an idea. "I think Lotta's on to something here. Maybe if you took a sniff of those lovely flowers, they'll relieve your hiccups in one way or another. Why don't you try it?"
"Well... Hic!" Audrey hiccuped once again, but didn't let that stop her from making up her mind. "Alright."
Lotta smiled as she held the flowers close to Audrey's face, and Audrey took the biggest, deepest sniff she could manage. The flowers smelled good, but almost as soon as she'd inhaled, a good amount of pollen from the flowers made its way into her nose.
She pulled her face away from the flowers as her eyes widened, her pupils shrunk, and her nose twitched from the pollen. She desperately needed to sneeze, and the urge to do so was already too strong for her to resist. Dot looked at her in concern, while Lotta looked a bit hopeful.
"Um, Audrey?" Dot asked. "Are you going to...?"
"Huuuh... Heeehhhh..." Audrey replied as she shut her eyelids and tilted her upper body backward. She otherwise didn't respond to Dot's question, but her inhales told her exactly what was goin to happen.
"Lotta, look out! She's gonna sneeze!" Dot cried.
She ran out of the way, while Lotta just took a few steps back and put down the flowers on a table so they wouldn't get destroyed. She then covered her ears with both of her hands while Dot instead used her forefingers to plug her ears.
"Aaaaah... Haaaaaah..." Audrey inhaled, her nose trembling and nostrils flaring up in irritation. She tilted her upper body as far back as it could go, gave a final inhale, and finally... "AaaaaaaaaaAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH-!"
Audrey gave a monstrous sneeze as she shot her neck forward, with a good amount of spray being released from her mouth. Dot and Lotta both cringed when they heard the sneeze, but Lotta looked considerably more satisfied.
As powerful and loud as that one sneeze was, however, it wasn't enough relief for Audrey's nose. Before she could even bring a hand up to rub her nose, she gave a quick triple, doubling over again each time.
"Aaaah-choooo! Chuuu! Haaaah-tchuuuuu!"
These sneezes were much smaller than the big one that had come right before them, but what mattered was that Audrey's nose was finally satisfied. Audrey stood where she was, sulking a bit as she rubbed her now-pink nose with her forefinger. Dot walked over to her with a concerned expression on her face.
"Oh, my!" said Dot. "Gesundheit, Audrey!"
"Thanks, Dot..." Audrey replied with a sniffle and continued to rub her nose.
"Are you alright?! That was quite a sneeze attack!" Dot mentioned. "Not that I haven't seen worse, of course."
"Yeah..." Audrey sniffled again.
Out of sympathy, Dot reached into her pocket, pulled out a tissue and handed it to Audrey. She blew her nose once for about a split second, but the smile on her face and the little sigh she gave afterward told Dot that it had felt good.
"Bless you, Audrey!" Lotta added.
"Thanks." Audrey wiped her nose with her tissue, still sniffling here and there.
Just then, Audrey noticed something. She hadn't hiccuped since right before she sneezed. By causing her to release that massive sneeze as well as those three smaller sneezes, the flowers had cured her hiccups.
"Uh, guys?" Audrey asked, and then smiled in happiness. "The hiccups, they're gone!"
"They are?" Dot asked in disbelief, but she was also happy and relieved because her friend, indeed, wasn't hiccuping anymore. "Well, I'll be darned!"
"Oh, goody! My plan worked!" Lotta said in joy.
Dot overheard her and looked at her once more, as did Audrey.
"Allow me to get this straight," Dot started. "Your plan was to take the flowers you picked this morning, and have Audrey sniff them to make her sneeze, just so you could cure her hiccups?"
"Yep!" Lotta nodded once. She looked at Audrey with a bit of a sheepish expression. "Sorry I did that, Audrey..."
"Nah, it's alright. Thanks for helping me out!" Audrey replied. "Although that leaves one question."
"What's that?" Dot asked.
Audrey smiled. "Who would've thought that sneezing could cure hiccups?"
Dot and Lotta laughed at her comment at Audrey wiped her nose some more with her tissue.