Plugs

Luc Reid writes about the psychology of habits at The Willpower Engine. His new eBook is Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories.

Susannah Mandel’s short story “The Monkey and the Butterfly” is in Shimmer #11. She also has poems in the current issues of Sybil’s Garage, Goblin Fruit, and Peter Parasol.

Alex Dally MacFarlane’s story “The Devonshire Arms” is available online at Clarkesworld.

Jonathan Wood’s story “Notes on the Dissection of an Imaginary Beetle” from Electric Velocipede 15/16 is available online.

The Otter Bakery

by Luc Reid

“Our specialty today is wasabi otter in puff pastry,” said the smiling twenty-something guy behind the counter. “Would you like to try a sample?”

“Don’t you have bread?” said the orange-haired customer, “Or bagels?”

“Sorry: we only serve otter. Otter pie, otter calzone … things like that.”

“With otter meat?” The customer looked disturbed, then thoughtful. “Is it any good? Tell the truth, now.”

“Well … it’s not bad,” said the twenty-something. “But the wasabi otter is really worth a taste.”

“I can’t believe you people. I just want a bagel. Why would you make a whole bakery that just sells otter?”

“We hate otters,” said a man who stepped out of the shadows behind the counter. The twenty-something winced. The man wore a Boston Red Sox cap pulled down inside a dark blue hoodie, and his face was completely obscured. His arms hung limply at his sides, ending in leather gloves.

“Imagine for a minute that otters had killed everyone you loved: your parents, your friends, your brothers and sisters, your lover … that’s how much we hate otters. So we raise them on an otter farm and slaughter them to be served as tasty treats for people with a sick enough sense of humor to appreciate it.”

 “You should be ashamed of yourself!” the customer said. “I wouldn’t buy a bagel from you in a hundred years.” She walked stiffly out, shutting the bell-rigged door with a violent jingling sound.

 “You’ve got to stop that,” the twenty-something said. “It’s not like we’re getting a ton of much business in the first place.”

 “People respond if you get them worked up,” said the baseball-capped man.

 “Boss, come on–” said the twenty-something, but the baseball-capped man turned away and disappeared through a door marked “private,” closing the door behind him.

 In the back room, he took off his cap and pulled back his hood, revealing himself to be an oyster on stilts. He slipped off his perch on the stilts and into an aquarium, where his one surviving friend was sitting at the bottom among their remaining hoard of pearls.

 “This isn’t going to bring your family back, Eddie,” said the friend.

 Eddie didn’t respond. He knew vengeance wouldn’t relieve the pain, but sometimes you just had to be satisfied with your available options.

 Happy as a clam, my ass, Eddie thought.

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One Response to “The Otter Bakery”

  1. Fluffy Says:

    April 29th, 2010 at 4:01 am

    a ton of much business?

    I loved the line, imagine for a minute that otters had killed everyone you loved.

    very funny