Dextrose was feeling smug. That morning he had spent one hour baking cookies, another hour eating them, and then he had watched paint peel for a full forty-five minutes. Now it was afternoon, and he had just finished organizing his socks (by both color and country of origin.) He narrowed his eyes and lowered his chin as he looked in the mirror. “There,” he announced to the empty room, “stands one productive Peep.”
But it wasn’t much fun being fabulous all by himself. He turned away from the mirror and ran to find his best friend.
“Maltose!” He was a little out of breath as he skidded into the room. “You have to come see my sock drawer!”
Maltose, staring out the window, only heaved a sigh so deep it seemed bottomless. “Did you ever wonder,” she asked mournfully, “when all the excitement left our lives?”
Dextrose thought about this. “Nope. Life has been nice and quiet since we got back from our journey. So, ready to come see my sock drawer?”
Maltose glanced at him over her shoulder. “You,” she informed him, “are a Philistine.”
She looked back out of the window. “I’m not sure, exactly. But I know you are one.” Outside the sky was grey, and the sea in the distance was curling white and high on the rocks. “I’m sorry. I’m just . . . just . . . restless, is all. All day I’ve been feeling like something is wrong – like there’s more to life than Crème Eggs and watching paint peel.”
“I know what your problem is,” Dextrose said. “You’ve been bitten by the Adventure Bug.”
“Oh, Dextrose. Clichés don’t help.”
“I’m sorry,” Dextrose paused, and then said timidly, “but you have been bitten by the Adventure Bug. Look.”
“Oh! Well, that explains the itchiness.” Maltose scratched her side. “Then I suppose there’s nothing to be done. We’ll have to go tell the council we’re going on another Adventure.”
“W-w-we?” Dextrose began to back out of the room. “I’ve got an awful lot to do around here, Maltose. I don’t think I can get away. I – I still have to organize my underwear drawer.”
“You don’t wear underwear, Dex. For that matter, you don’t even wear socks.”
“Well, someday I might. Better to be prepared, after all.” Dextrose was out in the hallway, ready to flee. “In fact, I should go get started right now.”
“If you come with me, you can use my camera,” Maltose cajoled.
Dextrose stopped moving. “The one Alice Gator gave you? The shiny one?”
“Yes, that one.”
And so they found themselves in front of Hexopyranose and the Peep Council, explaining about the Adventure Bug.
“Yes, I see,” the elder Peep said slowly. “Well, I suppose if you must leave, you must. Perhaps, in your wanderings, you will find new lands, and claim them in the name of the Yellow Peeps! Perhaps you will find treasures, and bring them back to us! Perhaps you will find out how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop!”
The Council gasped as one, and Pentofuranose fainted.
“This journey could bring about all sorts of wonders. Therefore, we will send you on your way with glad hearts.” Hexopyranose went to the side of the dais, where she opened a drawer and removed something beige and oblong. She gazed reverently at the object as she carried it back.
“This is the hat of a true adventurer. Also,” Hexopyranose rapped the top of the hat, “good protection from falling rocks. Small ones, anyway.” She gave the hat to Maltose, who tried it on immediately and began to preen.
Dextrose was a little sad. Not only was he being dragged away from his peeling paint and his wardrobe, but now Maltose had a wonderful hat, while his own head went yellow and bare. Hexopyranose noticed his expression, and thought fast.
“And, of course, we have a hat for you as well, Dextrose.” She motioned to Rhamnopyranose, who began to fish around underneath the dais. He produced something dusty and floppy, which he brushed off as best he could before handing it to Dextrose. It was the most beautiful hat Dextrose had ever seen – even better than Maltose’s. He placed it gently on his head and felt his fluffy heart swell with pride.
Maltose hung the camera around his neck. “Now we’re all ready to go.”
The Peep Council was there early the next morning to see them off. Hexopyranose quietly pulled them aside.
“If you do find out how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll Center of a Tootsie Pop,” she said hesitantly, “I think perhaps it’s best you keep it to yourself. Some mysteries, truly, are not meant to be known.”
The two Peeps promised solemnly.
“Now,” Hexopyranose announced loudly. “We say Farewell to our adventurers! We say Farewell, but not Goodbye, for we will see you again! We say Farewell, but not So Long, because it will not be so long before you are back among your Peeps! We say Farewell, but not Toodle-oo, because that would just be silly!”
And with the sounds of raucous cheering ringing in the air, Maltose and Dextrose climbed aboard their vessel and took off. Their new adventure had begun.
Set-designer, Pith-helmet-and-camera-maker, and Photoshop Genius: Husband.
Story-Writer, Sombrero-maker, and Photo-taker: Uccellina.