...a friendly splotchypine appeared.

"Meep," said the splotchypine in a nonchalant manner, as she ate the unfriendly tic-tac.

Dinka gave a sigh of relief. And then of puzzled bewilderment as she gazed upon the splotchypine. "What... are you?"

"Meep?" asked the splotchypine.

"No, I don't know what you are."

The splotchypine nodded, and said, "Meep."

"Oh, okay. Well then, how are you doing?"

The splotchypine shrugged. "Meep," she said, in a bored, noncommittal tone.

Dinka paused a moment to reflect on how positively weird this was - here she was, having a conversation with a neo-mythical beast whose vocabulary seemed restricted to a single syllable, and yet Dinka was understanding it perfectly nontheless.

"Dinka? Hello?" came a familiar voice.

Dinka awoke with a start. But she wasn't asleep, rather she was amidst a hypnagogic hallucination which had crept upon her consciousness - she really should see a doctor, as these were the warning signs of narcolepsy. As her conscious state and mobility returned to her, she could only vaguely say odd ramblings. Finally, her dissociative state gone, she consciously opened her eyes and saw--

The splotchypine.

"Hello?" asked the splotchypine.

"Oh, you can talk?" asked Dinka.

"Um, yes, I've been talking to you for the last few minutes after I saved you from a rabid tic-tac. You seemed to be quite lucid, at least."

"Oh, I could have sworn that you were only saying 'Meep,' but I could still understand you."

The splotchypine shrugged. "I think you have a problem with your--"

"Reticular activating system? Yeah, I know. I've been meaning to see a doctor about that."

"Actually, no, I was going to say 'lifestyle,' since you appear to have gotten caught up in some sort of strange... thing, from some place called Everything."

"Oh, and how would you know about that?"

"Well, you're talking to me, for one. It's not every day you run into a splotchypine who just saved your life from a rabid yet ineffective breath mint whose main selling point is its caloric content and not its actual effectiveness, and all this stemmed from..." The splotchypine paused to scroll back many pages in her web browser. "Ah, yes, a 'What would you do to have sex with thefez?' contest. You were apparently in the lightning round."

Dinka nodded. "Mm," she said, like Sasami or some other cute anime girl, verbally asserting the affirmative.

"Well," said the splotchypine, "I hate to say this, but I've got to be going. It's been surreal."

The splotchypine planted a sudden kiss on Dinka's lips. This caught Dinka off-guard. But before she could regain her composure and respond to the sudden, but brief, moment of transitory passion, with a soft poof the splotchypine disappeared, leaving behind a quickly-dissipating cloud of asterisks.

"Yes, what an odd day it's been," mused Dinka, as she went on her way.