Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Fate Soup

So like I said, I write a bit. My main project right now has the working title Fate Soup (unless I come up with something better). Set in mythological Greece, it follows three heroes on a quest to save the world: Lizzie, a beautiful warrior with impulse control problems; Athos, a wizard who can’t cast spells or do pretty much anything else; and Bertrand, the sprite who has to keep them pointed in the right direction. Along the way they face incompetent gods, nonsensical prophecies, riddling trolls, a lobotomized dragon, and a fire-breathing chihuahua.
The book is widely considered by people living in my apartment to be Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for the Harry Potter generation.
Along the way, it also reveals the mysteries of the universe, such as “why do bad things happen to good people?” (short answer: the gods are idiots) and “why are your testicles on the outside of your body?”
Here’s an excerpt from the current draft:

It was the dawn of time - properly speaking, just after the dawn of time, as Gaia was rocking Time in her arms so he would go back to sleep. The youngest of the earth spirits was standing on a hill trying to get the attention of one of her oldest sisters. Around them, the other spirits completed the beasts and fish and fowl that would fill the newly-made earth.
"We've got stomachs left over," one shouted.
"There's room in the cow," another replied.
By the sea, two were arguing furiously.
"You used up all the gills? How am I supposed to finish these whales?"
"There's lots of lungs left."
"Oh, that's brilliant. A sea creature that can't breathe in water."
"Well, if you hadn't spent all week making them so big - "
"Is that what this is about? I get it. You did this on purpose. You're jealous because Mama liked my whale idea but she didn't like your ridiculous 'brontosaurus'."
The youngest earth-spirit cleared her throat, but her sister's head stayed bowed over the fish whose scales she was polishing. More voices drifted up with the breeze.
"You stole my animal!"
"Did not. My mole is a marsupial. Yours is placental. They're completely different."
"It looks exactly like mine!"
The youngest earth-spirit cleared her throat more forcefully, and at last her older sister looked up. "I already told you, no."
"Not after you put the koala's pouch on upside-down."
"It was an honest mistake." The youngest earth-spirit wrung her hands. "I promise I'll be more careful this time."
"We're almost finished. There's nothing left for you."
Sorrow flooded the youngest spirit. She flopped down on the grass and sobbed into her hands.
Her sister sighed, and finally said, "All right. There are some extra parts over there. If you can make something out of them, go ahead."
"Oh, thank you!" the youngest cried. In her delight, she leapt forward to hug her sister, hardly noticing the squishy feeling under her knees. Then she ran down the hill.
"You crushed my flounder!" her sister screamed.
The youngest of the spirits worked quickly, her hands shaking with excitement. To get to design her own creature all by herself, and right after she thought she wouldn't get to do anything at all! When she was done, Time had fallen asleep, and Gaia had come to check on their progress. The youngest spirit cradled her animal in her arms, careful not to brush the poisonous spurs, and ran to show it off.
But when she reached the crowd around the goddess, she saw their mother was frowning.
"What do you mean, the mammals aren't breeding?" said Gaia. "They're not mating?"
The oldest of all the earth-spirits shook her head. "They do sometimes, but the males aren't very interested, and the females never get pregnant."
"Mama," said the youngest, holding up her creation. "Mama, look! Isn't it beautiful? It's a 'platypus'. Don't you think it's wonderful, Mama?"
"It's lovely, dear," said Gaia without looking. "Have you checked their testes? It sounds like the testes aren't working right."
"The testes," said the oldest. "I knew we forgot something."
The earth-spirits erupted into a chorus of recriminations: "That was your job." "You drew up the master plan." "You're in charge of reproduction." "You were supposed to doublecheck the blueprints." "I was busy." "You were wasting time making duck penises." "Was not." "Oh, I could hear you giggling over there."
The hubbub was punctuated by Time's wail. "Doesn't he ever stop?" Gaia moaned. "You girls fix this up while I settle him down." She headed off toward the brook by which she had laid her baby. "Mama's coming, Crony-wony," she cooed.
The oldest earth-spirit sighed. "This is a mess. We're going to have to redesign the boreoeutheric abdomen. No pinochle tonight."
A groan rose from the crowd.
"I'm not happy about it either," said the oldest. "But Mama said to fix this, and ever since Cronus was born we've been behind schedule."
Then a voice piped up. "We can round up the males and tack some testes on."
"We mustn't - " the oldest began, but the other earth-spirits were already dashing off to find mammals. "At least put the testes in a bag!" she shouted after them.

Once Gaia managed to get Time back to sleep, she looked at the world she and her daughter spirits had made. And the goddess saw that it was mostly pretty good.

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