Grease in the Warp Drive

They made the little fried sausages, covered them in void wrap to preserve them against the inevitable Time we were up against, and put them deep in the hold, behind the cooling units of the nav computers. When I say they, I mean the Cooks. We were sent two cooks on our million year mission, but we ever only saw one. The other appeared exclusively in special treats: a bit of cheesecake for a birthday, three eggs in the omelet for the crew member that had their arm gnawed off by radiation burglars.

Where they put those sausages, there was a fan, a great, galactic fan, capable of blowing in the most alien of winds. But we had found nothing here. Nothing but space and time and the sausage winds that blew when we flew near a heat source and that great, big fan turned on. The entire void craft would turn into a holiday stroll from sausage cart to sausage cart down some forgotten European riviera. Everyone would go mad, talking about all the times they’d encountered sausages in their lives. Cutting themselves to ebb the flow of memories. Talking incessantly in five languages, none of which the others knew, ending their speeches with grand gestures which seemed to imply that the speaker would like to be turned themselves into a sausage.

Take my thinking meat, they seemed to say, and stuff it into my innards, along with the rest of my innards and some blood for good measure. We had all been around each other long enough to get the gist of their ravings.

No one thought to track down the invisible cook and simply ask for the sausages, though of course, that might require teamwork, and we were all dreaming of a greasy, piled-on plate of tube steak all our own. No one talked of murder, of course, but talk is little but pregnant vibrations. We would never talk the sausages into our mouths. A sausage was a tooth’s business, tooth and arm, fist and feet. The hard parts of the body had no subtle language.

Once Were the Fowls Full of Human

He came walking up, raving about bird sandwiches, about how he’d walked all this way because “the shiny-eyed fuckers” couldn’t tell one lake from another. They’d put him down all the way out in Boone county and he’d not a bite to eat all damn day.

We hadn’t see Teddy Two-Knuckles since he’d set up a “human versus one hundred mallards” night at J.J. Jolly J’s. They said he’d been approached by a couple of guys afterward with an extra dimension to their movement, sporting webbed shoes and gorgeous headdresses.

This wasn’t the sort of town where you went asking questions. Answers crawled from the sewers, fell from the sky like toilet ice. So we ask much explaining out of Teddy this time, even though he smelled as if he’d been sitting in pond scum smoking jet fuel. We let him in, of course, let him sit on a leaky wooden chair and offered him coffee and marijuana. He refused both.

“Bird sandwich. I need cannibalism right now. The only thing that will do.”

“But Teddy, you ain’t no bird.”

The cracks in his head formed from the inside. Instead of answering, he fused his mouth together with melted skin and let the pecking turn to quacking as his brain emerged beak first, wet with skull drippings.

“I ain’t I ain’t I ain’t,” proclaimed the newborn duckling as it fell to the ground by gently rolling down Teddy’s slumped corpse.

“Who ate all the bread?” came the question from the kitchen. The duckling watched as I drew my bread knife from its scabbard.

All of these questions in the air and none of the answers.