I’m posting this excerpt from SIDESHOW IN THE CENTER RING, my science fiction comedy of bad manners, for the amazing Sara Marian. Sara had a close encounter of the bandage kind with a vegetable grater. Life imitates art.
In this scene, Connie, the narrator, is going to the cannibal village to make a deal, with the native Tosun as her guide. Tiph is another native who doesn’t do much in this scene, but is important in the book.
Gifts for the Cannibals
excerpt from SIDESHOW IN THE CENTER RING
by Marian Allen
“Better take some gifts,” Tiph said. “These knife-swappers always want something on the side.”
“What kind of gifts?” I asked. “Beads and trinkets?”
“People who export jewelry all over the Terran Union aren’t going to be impressed by beads and trinkets,” Tiph
“No, I suppose not.”
“We’ll get something for them on the way out,” said Tosun. “I know just what they’d like.” While he spoke, he fastened his shield and weapons to his chestpack.
“Why are you taking those?” I asked, afraid of what the answer might be.
“If we go to the caves, I’ll need them.” Which was the answer I’d been afraid of.
“Where do we go now?” I asked. “The gift shop?”
“The kitchen. The Omata grow some grain and vegetables, and they keep some poultry, and they trade for fish and fruit, but one thing they never have much of: red meat. That’s one reason they became cannibals in the first place.”
“Oh, no we’re not.”
“We’re not going to the kitchen and… We’re not taking them any….”
“No, not people meat. These resorts that cater to you Terrans always have plenty of pork and beef and mutton, raised on-planet, always fat and tender. We’re going to take them some cuts of that. They don’t serve two-legged flesh at these Resorts. The Health Department would never allow it. You don’t know where people have been or what kind of health they’re in.”
“The other night, the headservitor implied–”
“She was just bragging. A little local color for the tourists. The only time any people meat is served at this resort is if somebody has an accident grating vegetables.”
“That’s good to know.” I made a mental note never to order the cabbage salad.
SIDESHOW IN THE CENTER RING is available pert near ever’ damn place.
A WRITING PROMPT BASED ON MY POST: Somebody has to rely on someone else’s expertise in order to make a deal.