Hey read this short story I wrote! It has everything! It has beer, human(s), not human(s), a critical look at everyday society and it’s super super short! Too short for an actual short!

(This is not the short that I’ve been working on for ages but rather something that showed up in my brain last night as I tried to sleep.. I wish I’d written it out then)

——

Limbs

“Hey Duncan!”

“Heeeey, long time no see Phyll.”

“You can say that again! I can hardly recognise you anymore with that fancy new getup!”

“Hehe, yeah I know.. It’s not really ‘me’ is it?”

“None-sense, you look terrific. Totally pulling it off. Hey, you want a drink?”

“Absolutely. Why else would I show this face around here, right?”

“The usual?”

“Ugh no.”

Phyll gives him a worried, if not suspicious, look.

“Stomach.”

He explains as if it says everything and Phyll nods heavily, clearly understanding all this implies.

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“Uh, I’ll have a beer instead.”

“Allrighty.” and turns to the barkeeper “One flaming tongue and one beer!”

“What kind?”

“Eh make it azure. Never got a taste for the bordeaux.”

“Coming right up.”

And up they come, straight from the bar.

“Cheers mate! To old friends.”

“The oldest!“

They take their first gulps enthusiastically, wiping away the foam after.

”So, hows the mines?”

“Oh it’s excellent. You wouldn’t believe these tunnels they have. They go on and on, a person can get lost in those if you’re not careful. But everything is really well arranged, laid out all right and proper like you know? And these shells are incredible! Created just for the job, did you know that? They can handle just about everything you can throw at them. I was even in an avalanche the other day! Did you hear about that?”

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“An avalanche?? Holy f - Are you okay??”

“Oh yeah, I’m fine!” he admits in a roar of laughter before leaning back towards him with a glint in his eyes.

“It’s these shells! I was under there for two days, but these things don’t crack for nothin’. So I just dug myself a little cove under there and I’ve got these pouches that suck up with fluid whenever they can. I mean it’s nothing you’d want to buy at a place like this, but it’s perfect for the type of situation I was in. I just waited it out until the rescuers came! Perfectly engineered for the job this body.”

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“Well I’ll be.. That’s amazing..!”

“Isn’t it? To tell you the truth, I was quite comfortable under there.”

Another roar.

“Haha well I can imagine you had some space there. Look at the size of you, you’re taking up 2 seats with that carapace of yours!” Duncan jostles him playfully, although the rock in response was Phyll just being nice about it. No way a lightweight like Duncan could’ve moved a creature such as that.

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“Well we aren’t all this size down there, but I got a really great assignment, I really did. Management over there has got things down right. Everyone contributes based on their ability’s and it really works out well. Even the tiny pebbles have to get moved you know?”

Another gulp.

“So how’s the human assignment working out? You’re looking great! A bit on the mushy side but great!”

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Another great big roar and Duncan winches jokingly before averting his eyes and starting a staring contest with his beer.

“Well it’s.. You know it’s good.. It’s okay.”

“Okay huh?..”

“It’s just that.. Well.. The expectations! It’s insane! I’ve never had an assignment like this. To even get through a day’s work I’d need 2, no at least 4 more limbs than I currently have! It’s so unevenly matched and everyone just accepts it!”

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Throwing up his measly two arms in frustration.

“Yeah.. I heard it’s a cultural thing with these humans. Unrealistic expectations. Apparently they each have to break at some point in their biological career in order to learn to push back. They haven’t created a society in which that doesn’t need to happen yet. It’s all very old fashioned.”

“I don’t understand how they’ve got this far.”

“Luck, hope. Those kinds of things. You know the usual.”

Duncan shakes his head and finishes his beer with shoulders hanging.

“Hey, how bout another one, on me?”

“..Can’t. I gotta go back home and figure out social.”

“..social?…”

“..social.”

“..You’re talking crazy my friend.. Aren’t you done for the day? This IS social.”

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“No social media. They’re never done these humans. After career-work they have to invest time in ‘social’ which isn’t about being social at all but about being some sort of brand or something. I’ve been human for 3 weeks now and I haven’t quite figured it out and I think people are starting to notice.. It never stops Phyll! This assignment will drive me crazy man I swear..”

“Jeebers.. Hey maybe you can get an assignment at the mine next?..”

“Yeh let me know if a job opens up. I need something calm after this. See ya..”

“See ya pall.”

——-

Thanks for making it all the way down here! I’d love to know what you think! 😁