The Tweenage Rugrats In: "Close To My Heart"

By "DillyKimi", Dwayne Anderson & Birch Griesse

Chuckie Finster was in his bedroom. His family was eating dinner without him. This was because Chuckie was sick.

He had first gotten sick about a week earlier, and he still wasn't any better.

Chuckie's allergies, some of which had been with him since he was a baby, had acted up big time. Suddenly it seemed as though Chuckie had every allergy on the planet! Among other things, Chuckie had a stuffy nose, watery, itchy eyes, and he had so much earwax in his ears that he may as well have been wearing earplugs. He also had weird spells a lot. He would suddenly find himself gasping for breath.

These times were scary, but at least they'd never lasted long.

Chuckie reached over and hugged his old purple Wawa bear, which was laying beside him.

Just then, Chuckie heard a loud bark. The next thing he knew, Puppy had jumped onto the bed. Chuckie and Puppy had been good friends ever since Puppy had been born. As babies, they had both been scared of just about everything. Although Puppy and Chuckie were both grown now and not scared of so many things, they were still buddies, and Puppy's name had stuck with him.

"Oh, Puppy! When am I ever going to get better? I feel so sick and....Well, Puppy, I haven't told anybody this, but I'm scared!", Chuckie sobbed.

Puppy licked Chuckie's cheek and rested his warm head against Chuckie's stomach. Chuckie was glad that he wasn't allergic to dogs!

Just then, Chuckie's father, Chazz, stuck his head into the room.

"Chuckie, I called the doctor. You have an appointment on Monday morning. I'll take you. Kira can manage the coffee shop by herself until I bring you back home," he said.

Chuckie nodded weakly. He didn't feel like speaking.

The next day, Saturday, all of Chuckie's friends came to vist him. They all tried to make him feel better. Tommy read him one of their favorite books, Phil gave him a bag of gummy worms, Lil told him all the latest gossip from school, Kimi gave him a bouquet of flowers (thankfully they were one of the few kinds of flowers that Chuckie wasn't allergic to!), and Dil entertained him by, as usual, performing a comedy routinue. He also gave Chuckie a joke book called "That's Sick!: Jokes For When You're Sick In Bed".

One by one, they all left (except for Kimi, of course). Kimi went downstairs to do her homework, so Chuckie was on his own again. That
is, until Fifi (Puppy's mother) sauntered into the room. She looked up at Chuckie as if to say, "I'd jump onto the bed if I could." Chuckie
understood. After all, Fifi had once been just like Puppy, jumping on everything and frisking about. But now she was old. Over 90 in dog years, to be exact. She simply didn't have the strength to jump onto things, not to mention she was afflicted by arthritis.

Just then, Chuckie heard a voice say, "Hi, Chuckie!"

He looked up and was very surprised to see Angelica. Angelica hated him ever since they were little.

"Angelica?" he gasped.

"I'm sorry you're sick, Chuckie," Angelica said.

"You are?" Chuckie asked.

"Yeah. I know how rotten it feels to be sick. Chuckie, I know I've been meaner to you than to your friends. Well, the truth is, I've been torturing you because I...I...I...I.." Angelica couldn't finish her sentence.

Finally she just said, "Bye, Chuckie. See you soon!" and left.

Finally, Monday came. Chazz took Chuckie to the doctor. The examination was quite difficult, since the doctor could hardly get a thing in Chuckie's wax filled ears, and Chuckie coughed and sneezed every time the doctor put something
in his mouth.

Finally, the doctor said that Chuckie would need to go to the hospital so they could x-ray his lungs.

So, Chazz took Chuckie to the hospital. Because they wanted lots of detail, they decided to do a CAT Scan x-ray. So they put Chuckie to sleep (since he was clausterphobic).

When Chuckie awoke, his dad and the doctor were standing beside him.

"Chuckie, I'm afraid you have asthma like your dad," said the doctor.

"I already have the prescriptions for the inhaler and the medication," Chazz said.

A few days later, Chuckie was feeling a lot better. The doctor had explained that the daily asthma medication (rather than the emergancy inhaler stuff) was designed to keep his asthma under control.

And then, one day, it happened. Chuckie had his first offical asthma attack.

He had been at the city park with Angelica (it had been Angelica's idea). He was scared to death. Thankfully, Angelica remained calm. She began giving Chuckie artifical respiration. Finally, Chuckie's attack was over.

"Angelica, thanks!" Chuckie said.

"No problem. Listen, Chuckie, there's something I need to tell you," said Angelica.

"What?" asked Chuckie.

"I love you!"

"I love you, too!"

Chuckie admitted. Then they hugged and kissed.

Shortly after, Chuckie suddenly pulled back. "Are you crazy?!" he said, "You might catch my asthma!"

"Chuckie, you can't pass asthma on to someone else; it ain't contagious" said Angelica. "Come on, kiss me again."

Chuckie ran off.

"Ewwwwww!" said the other Rugrats.

"You actually kissed Angelica?" asked Kimi.

"Ummm, yeah" said Chuckie.

"Chuckie, are you insane or what?" asked Phil.

"Yeah Phil!" said Chuckie, "I'm crazy. I'm looney, ok! I kissed the cousin of my best friend, but to tell you the truth, I hated it!"

"Good for you Chuckie!" said Lil.

Chuckie however had run off to another section of the backyard, gasping for breath. His friends rushed to his side.

"Don't slap him on the back!" said Tommy. "You might make it worse!"

"What do we do then?" asked Phil.

Just then, Chuckie stopped gasping for breath.

"Sorry guys" he said, "I had another asthma attack."

"Don't worry Chuckie" said Dil, "if any of us kissed Angelica, we'd have an asthma attack too!"

They all laughed.

"Besides, if I really wanted to kiss someone, I want it to be someone I care about and who cares about me" said Chuckie.

"Someone like Kimi?" asked Phil.

"Hey!" said Kimi, "I can't kiss him, I'm his sister! Although...that's not a bad idea!"

"I was thinking about Samantha!" said Chuckie.

"I knew that" said Phil, "I just wanted to make a funny!"

The Rugrats laughed again.

"That was pretty funny Phil" said Lil. "What do you think Chuckie?"

The Rugrats noticed that Chuckie and Kimi were kissing and hugging.

Later that day, at supper time, Chuckie had another asthma attack. He rushed into the living room, gasping for breath.

"I'm so worried about Chuckie" said Kira, "what if he has this disease his whole life?"

"That isn't something we want to think about" said Chazz.

"I read this book in the library today" said Kimi. "It was called `Paddle to the Amazon'. It's based on a true story about a father named Don Starkell, and his two sons, who paddle from Winnipeg, Manitoba -- that's in Canada, you know -- to the Amazon river, in Brazil. It got them into the record books as the longest canoe trip which only took two years!"

"Kimi, what does this have to do with Chuckie's condition?" asked Chazz.

"One of the author's sons had asthma. And some hot tropical climate cured him!"

"Really?" asked Chazz. "Where?"

"Mexico!" said Kimi.

"That gives me an idea!" said Chazz. "Let's take Chuckie to Mexico to cure him!"

"Chuckie!" Kira called, "how would you like to go to Mexico to cure your asthma?"

"I would love that!" said Chuckie.

"I'll call everyone else and invite them to come along" said Chazz. "We're going to Mexico!"

So it was decided. The Finsters, the Carmiicheals, the Devilles, and the Pickles would be flying to Mexico that Friday. Until then they packed and prepared.

"Kimi, how about we take this beautiful, genuine, Mexican dress for you to wear?" Kira suggested. She held up a lovely dress with a red silk skirt and a black velvet top. Around the middle there was a cloth band that was tied in a bow in the back. Mexican designs ran along the band.

"Where did you get that?" Kimi asked.

"In Mexico, of course," Kira replied.

"No, I mean what were you doing in Mexico in the first place?" Kimi explained her question.

"I was never in Mexico," Kira told her daughter, "It was a gift from your father."

"My real father?"


"Well, then what was he doing in Mexico?" Kimi wanted to know.

"As you know, his parent were very rich. One day, when I was 13, they went on a one-year long vacation in Mexico. While he was there, your father bought me this dress. I was about your age, so it should fit you," Kira informed her.

Later that night, the Rugrats got together to discuss the trip some more. Only Chuckie was absent. He had went to bed early.

"This is a really great idea that you came up with Kimi!" said Tommy. "I've always wanted to visit Mexico! Just think, we'll eat mexican foods such as tacos and tortillas, dance to the Samba, buy mexican souveneirs, and even visit great mexican landmarks such as Paricutin, Aztec temples, and the El Chichon volcano!"

"Yes" said Kimi. "But we're mostly going to help Chuckie."

"But Kimi, what if this plan doesn't work?" asked Lil. "What if Chuckie's condition gets worse? What if he dies?"

Kimi was silent and hesitant.

"Well...that couldn't happen! Not to Chuckie! Could it?"

"Relax guys" said Tommy, "Asthma isn't deadly. Chuckie will be fine! I've even ready that book myself.

"Oh" said Kimi. "I hope this idea works. After all, this may be weird guys but...I love my brother."

That night, Kimi couldn't sleep. Chuckie's coughing kept her up much of the night. She began to worry about him. But it was a good thing that she was trying to help him. First thing Friday morning, everyone would leave for Mexico on the next airplane.

Lying in bed, Kimi said a prayer.

In his own bedroom, Chazz was praying too -- not to God, but to someone just as close to his heart:

"Melinda, please, help Chuckie in his time of need."

Finally Friday came. The families drove to the airport in a hired limo van. They luggage checked and Stu sent it on the luggage compartment. Then they boarded the plane.

They'd flown for a while when a boring looking flight stewardess came to their seats.

"What kind of samwich ya' want?" she asked dully.

"I'll have a cucumber, mayo, peanut butter, and m&m sandwich," Dil told her hungrily.

"I'm sorry. We don't serve those kind of sandwiches," said the stewardess, "We've ham, turkey, tuna, an' veggie samwiches."

"Fine, then I'll have turkey," Dil said.

After everyone had gotten their food and eaten it, Chuckie began to wheeze and gasp for breath.

"Chuckie are you having another asthma attack?" Kimi asked worriedly. Chuckie tried to talk but he couldn't, so he just nodded his head.

"He's having a very bad asthma attack!" Kira cried, "Worse than any of the others! And we're stuck here on an airplane!"

Chuckie laid his head down. Blurred and worried looking faces hovered around him. Their voices seemed distant. Then everything went black.

"Let me have a look at him!" Lucy cried, getting from her seat and making her way over to Chuckie.

"We really need to take him to a hospital, but I'll do the best I can," Lucy told Kira, Chas, and Kimi.

After a long time, Chuckie awoke. He was lying on his seat in the airplane. Lucy was standing over him.

"He's awake!" She told his worried parents, sister, and friends. Chuckie sat up and looked around.

"What happened?" he asked.

"Well," said Lucy, "You had a very bad asthma attack, and we were all very worried. So that's why from now on, I want to take this inhaler too (she handed him a new inhaler). You use it just like your other inhalers, except I want you to take one puff every hour."

"Every hour!?" Chuckie exclaimed in disbelief, "Well, OK."

Kimi felt very sad. She couldn't bear to see her brother so sick. That's why she was taking him to Mexico to cure him.

Kimi ran to the bathroom and closed the door. She sat on the floor and started crying. She didn't like to see her brother suffer.

Just then, she heard a knock on the door.

"Are you alright in there?" asked a young man.

Kimi stopped crying and opened the door. Outside stood a young man with brown hair.

"What's troubling you young lady?" he asked.

Kimi dried her tears. "It's my brother" she said. "He's got asthma and he's really sick."

"Where are you heading?"

"To Mexico. I read in a book written by Don Starkell called `Paddle to the Amazon' that his son was cured by Mexican climate."

"I know" said the man.

"How do you know?" asked Kimi.

"I'm Dana Starkell" said the man.

"THE Dana Starkell?!" cried Kimi in disbelief. "You're the boy with asthma?!"

"Yes. But I was a young man in my late teens by then" said Dana. "Now I am as healthy as a horse."

"Wow", said Kimi. "Could you do me a little favor?"

"Sure," said Dana.

Kimi whispered something to Dana.

"I'll do that for Chuckie," said Dana. "Well, happy trails."

Dana walks back to his seat while Kimi waves to him.

A little later, Kimi rejoined her brother.

"How are you holding up?" she asked.

"Not so good" he said.

"Hang in there Chuckie" said Kimi. "We'll be in Mexico soon. Then we'll find a nice hot tropical spot where we can rest and cure you."

She gave her brother a big hug. "I love you Chuckie" she said.

Phil laughed. "You love your brother!" he teased.

"Mind your own business Phil" said Kimi.

"If you love him so much, why don't you marry him? Ha!" laughed Phil.

Kimi glared at Phil. Then she continued to hug her brother.

"Everything will be alright" she said.

Just then, a voice was heard over the intercom.

"Good morning folks" said the stewardess. "This is the Trans-Latino Airways flight 711 to Acapulco, Mexico. We'll be landing in thirty minutes, so please fasten your seat belts, put up your tray and put your seats in the upright position. Welcome to Mexico."

To Be Continued

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