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Submitted by Admin on Wed, 03/03/2010 - 21:27
by J.E. Melton
Sentient toilets had a vogue for a while in the capital city of the
Bergenalter Empire. Actually, they were a sessile flupe of the warrior
caste of the dominant species from Emkaron 6.
Cameron Nguyen Fishbeck hated the things. It creeped him out to think
of sitting and doing his business on what amounted to the oral orifice
of an alien organism. And the sound it made as an equivalent of
flushing was just gross.
But what really annoyed him was payday. His job as the bookkeeper for
the Municipal Nujjball Arena meant he had personal contact with the
flupes since their religion forbade them taking checks. They had to be
paid in cash.
"What do they do with it?" he wondered not for the first time as he
made his rounds dropping Impervine-wrapped bundles of coins and the
specially notched antique pool cue handles used as money in the
Bergenalter capital. "They're stuck to the floor, they'll live out the
rest of their lives sitting there, eating, well, I don't like to think
about what they usually eat. But every payday they get bundles of
money. Is it like an after-dinner mint?" He didn't know and didn't
care to find out that the flupes were essentially their race's
incubators and the money they got paid would ensure that no Emkaronian
warrior was born without a coin in its pustules and a pool cue on its
He made his way through all the toilet facilities of the complex,
dropping his little bundles and cringing at the lip-smacking sounds
the flupes made. He did his job quickly and tried not to think about
it at all. "It's exactly like throwing money down the toilet," he
Since nujjball is played with seven to twenty-three teams, each with
as many as 1942 members, the city found it more profitable to charge
the players and hire the spectators whose jobs consisted of rooting,
jeering and doing the wave at the appropriate times. Usually there
were more people on the field than in the bleachers and accordingly
the toilet facilities in the stands were smaller and generally cleaner
and better maintained. In fact, only one of the Emkaronians was
employed as living porcelain in the rooting section.
Not that this made much difference to Cameron Fishbeck who just wanted
to get the unpleasant task over. Finishing up quickly he hurried back
to his office just before the belching started. Luckily, there were no
games on so the arena had a minimum of workmen's compensation claims
to pay since the only one injured was the flupe who merely had a bad
case of indigestion. If some of the cheering employees had been there,
well, it's always nasty when the excrement hits the enthusiast.
But when the near disaster was over, and blue hockey-puck-size
antacids had been given to the gassy flupe the real source of the
problem was discovered. Too much wood for the Emkaronian diet.
Fishbeck had figured the paycheck wrong and delivered more than twice
the correct number of pool cue handles to the lonely flupe.
His boss called him into the main office and told him the bad news.
"Cam, you paid the fans' loo wrong."