Five hours ago, Miles warned Murphy that it probably wasn't a good idea to feast on Peeps so close to show time.
Two hours ago, Murphy tore the wrapping off of her second package.
And now she sits, slumped over her desk with her eyes half-open and her hair tangled in the battleground of empty chocolate egg wrappers. Her breathing is labored and she desperately holds on to her stomach, as if that will keep her rampaging inner warlords of nausea at bay. Alas, she can only mutter an overly-long, drawn out, and excessively pained, "Oh, God."
Her gaze travels to the two empty Peep boxes, laying on their sides and littered with leftover sparkles. "You," she hisses. "Damn you. Next year... next year I won't- oh. Oh, boy. Oh, geez."
She hasn't had to use it yet, but she's come close several times, and this recent bout of gut churning forces her to yank the trash can closer to her again. A few sketchy seconds pass, and then finally, it's gone. For the moment, anyway.
It returns with a vengeance when she hears Frank say, "Geez, Murph. What did you do?"
"Don't... talk so loudly," she says through clenched teeth.
"This is truly disgusting." He surveys the damage and shivers slightly, and as soon as he spies the Peep boxes, his jaw drops. He gingerly lifts them off the desk like they're important pieces of crime scene evidence. And, judging from the complete and utter absence of anything remotely resembling a Peep, it appears that they are. "How did you even-"
"They make them in so many different colors now. There's... there's green. And blue. And purple. And pink." Murphy says the last one like it's a slur.
"So I wanted to taste them all."
"Well, you obviously did that."
She nods slowly. "And they were incredible."
"Not so incredible now, though, right?"
Murphy's eyelids slip shut and she sighs.
There are more footsteps on the carpet, but they stop very abruptly.
"EW," the new voice declares.
"Corky, if you take one step closer to me, I'll kill you."
"Oh, like you could in your condition. Look at you! Look what you've done to yourself!" Corky scrunches up her nose and looks as if she's fighting off nausea of her own. "It even smells like sugar in here!" Her expression suddenly turns serious, and she glances at her watch. "What's the damage, Frank?"
"Well, let's see," Frank replies, rubbing his chin slowly. "I've counted two empty Peep boxes, five Hershey wrappers, one M&M container, and I think a Cadbury egg might've existed here at some point."
"Oh, God," Corky says. "And we've only got half an hour until the show!"
Frank nods. "Yep, and I'd say we're off to a great start already."
Murphy hears another set of footsteps, and of course, they stop short.
"Oh, good Lord."
"Jim," Murphy says, her voice full of unabashed pleading. She weakly flops a hand onto her desk and reaches out for him. "Help me."
He takes a giant step back. "No! Not when I don't know what's in that trash can!"
A final set of footsteps make themselves heard. They're much much slower than Corky's or Jim's had been, and have a certain sauntering quality to them.
"Well, well, well. What do we have here?"
Murphy groans. "Miles-"
"No! No." He puts a hand up despite the fact that Murphy's cheek is still squished up against her desk and she can't see the gesture. He pauses and inhales deeply. His gaze begins to travel over the trash scattered across her desk, and he nods extremely slowly, like a teacher who's caught a student passing notes during a test.
"Two empty Peep boxes. Five Hershey wrappers. One M&M container. And what is that smudge near the lamp? Is that caramel?"
"Cadbury egg," Frank offers.
"Well... I'm glad to see that my advice was obviously taken to heart."
Murphy groans again. "Miles."
"I think I'll remember it forever," Miles continues. "That image of you with your cheeks stuffed like a chipmunk, as you snidely proved to me that, yes, you could handle massive amounts of marshmallow. You could eat enough marshmallow to give ten kindergartners a sugar rush. What were the exact words you used? Something about an iron stomach?"
"An iron stomach, trained by Easters past. Immune to the ill effects of candy overdose, especially on the Wednesday before Easter. What was I thinking, trying to warn you?" He extends both of his hands to her in one sweeping motion. "You're clearly the Easter Bunny's champion! The queen of chocolate! The lord and master of the Peeps!"
"Teach me, oh wise one! Teach me how I, too, can conquer it all!" Almost as if they snapped, Miles's eyes suddenly become wild and crazed. "Teach me the art of gorging myself on Easter candy 30 minutes before I have to go on NATIONAL TELEVISION!"
And that is, naturally, the straw that breaks the camel's back. Or, rather, the camel's stomach.
Murphy collapses into her chair at the anchors' desk. Jim not-so-subtly scoots himself and his chair away from her.
"Are you sure you're going to be all right, Slugger?" he asks.
"Well, let's put it this way," she says, staring ahead blankly as she fiddles with her microphone, "it's all out now."
Jim quickly busies himself with the papers in front of him.
Corky leans forward and asks, "Murphy, what are you going to do during my interview?"
"What am I going to- what?" She stops and thinks for a moment, and suddenly, a strange sense of foreboding washes over her. "...Who are you interviewing, again?" she cautiously asks.
Corky bites her lip.
"Three senior members of a Hostess bakery."
Murphy freezes. Jim leans away and braces for impact.
"I'll be right back." It takes her all of two seconds to throw down her microphone and vault out of her chair.