We met my Staffy pal Rizza and his master wandering the hills of the Gleniffer Braes, both enjoying the freedom and fresh air. Rizza was finally home after a forced extended stay at his granny's and his master was home after a forced extended stay at her majesty's pleasure. He was still declaring his innocence to my master as they strolled across the heather, the smell of alcohol reminding us both that actually his innocent belief was more owing to a memory blackout than any miscarriage of justice.
I was dying to hear all Rizza's southside tales but instead Rizza was being uncharacteristically reserved. He seemed nervous and kept eyeing my master suspiciously. Finally I snapped and demanded he explain himself. He only had questions.
"How long has your master looked like that?"
"What do you mean?"
"The pale, gaunt, skinny-faced look."
"I dunno. He's been on a diet."
"So what's with all the boiled sweets he's sucking?"
"What are you getting at, Rizza?"
"Nothing... not sure... have you noticed anything odd about his sleeping habits?"
"He's been telling the mistress about his nightmares but he says that's down to stress at work."
"No unusual bite marks?"
"Spit it out... what's on your mind?"
Rizza paused then stared me right in the eye and declared: "I think your master has become a 'sugar vampire'."
"A sugar vampire? One that only drinks the blood of diabetics?"
"No. It's a creature of the night that's become a slave to their sweet tooth."
"But it's daytime."
"And see how many of those Werthers he needs to sustain himself. How can a man with such a craving have lost so much weight?"
"Diet and exercise?"
Rizza didn't respond. He was watching the two men converse. "I bet he's got a secret sweetie stash in his car. Have you been getting regular walks at Barshaw?"
"Most nights, unless the weather's really bad."
"So he could drive and secretly munch on the way!"
"He does always have a couple of sweets on the walk too. It's funny watching him retrieving the wrappers if they fall out his pocket on a windy night. I always thought he was being litter aware but maybe he was just wanting to avoid detection."
"Now you're getting it. What else have you noticed?"
"He's always hungry."
"That's another sign. We need to kill him. He needs a cake through the heart!"
"Whoooaa... Cake? Who's got cake?" I interject, salivating. "We're not wasting cake on mastercide."
"We could try to save him I suppose. How many teeth has he lost?"
"None that I know of."
"Then we're not too late. Here's what you do: tell the mistress!
"No, just tell the mistress. She'll either kill him or cure him with guilt."
"Sweet! I'm glad you're back. I've really missed you."
"So any chance of some doggy for good times sake?"
"No and, just to be quite clear, I love you dearly, but go near my rear and I'll bite your balls off."
"I've missed you too."
And we ran and ran and ran until nightfall. The masters were furious. It was only supposed to be a short walk, not a couple of hours. Mine had run out of sweets and his was getting a headache, sobering up. I decided not to tell the mistress straight away. She was too worried about the length of time we'd been away. I'd wait and we'd spring the intervention on him later once he'd calmed down from his sugar crash.