August 21st, 2020

meow, cat, Siamese, catty

A Belated Writing Challenge Response

Unlike Indies Unlimited's weekly Flash Fiction Writing Challenge, where there's a hard deadline, things are rather relaxed at More Odds than Ends. This week one of the participants ended up finishing after the new week had started, but decided to put theirs up anyway on their own blog. Their prompt was "At a restaurant, you order calamari. The cloche is lifted, and a talking squid named Calamari gives your table a personalized stand-up comedy routine."

I'd seen that prompt, and was glad I hadn't gotten it, because it brought some rather wince-inducing possibilities to mind. As I've mentioned before, I'm not overly fond of anthropomorphized food, because it automatically brings to mind images of it being eaten, which has overtones of horror to me. Yes, I know it can be played for laughs, as in Through the Looking-Glass, when Alice cuts slices off the Pudding after being introduced, or the "Meet the Meat" scene in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. But I'm more likely to anticipate an image more akin to the Gordon R. Dickson short story that became part of The Magnificant Wilf, which involved a banquet in which a gelatinous alien was presented as a course, and first sang to them a song of its pending destruction.

However, I was happy to see that it instead became a happy story of discovery, as our protagonists befriend the little squid alien and get a tour of the galaxy before they come home to get Earth's tech base brought up to galactic standards.