What I’m Writing When You’re Not Looking
My mind is a complete and total blank at the moment, and later, I’m off to have my teeth cleaned. So in lieu of writing something new here, allow me to provide you a glimpse of what I’m writing when I’m not here — this chunk of text from my in-progress novel, which for the moment I’m calling The Android’s Dream. What you’re reading here is a chunk from chapter three.
I’m posting it for two reasons. One, it’s sort of an aside, so it gives away no material information about the novel’s plot, so it’s a relatively safe and non-confusing excerpt. Two, it’s a good snapshot of where my brain is these days; at any one moment if you ask me what I’m thinking, there’s a good chance I’m thinking something freakish and science fiction-y. Just like this: A description of a race of people I call the Kathungi.
The Kathungi were a people with a beautiful and artistic culture and a procreation process that utterly disgusted every other sentient species they had come in contact with. After a nearly month-long fertility phase in which the female Kathungi was enticed into a fertility cycle by her mate, both male and female Kathungi were pheremonally trapped into an uncontrolled “spew” phase: The female Kathungi would be randomly seized by a contraction of her egg sac, which would spew a milky, rancid-smelling fluid embedded with hundreds of thousands of eggs onto anything in the vicinity.
At the sight and smell of the eruption, the male Kathungi would follow suit with a greenish and even more foul-smelling milt that would coat the egg spray. The two substances would them congeal into a gelatinous mass whose purpose would be to protect and nourish the fertilized eggs until they hatched. By which time the Kathungi parents would be gone; rare among sentient species, the Kathungi were not nurturers. Kathungi eggs hatched into voracious, cricket-like larvae which ate everything in their path (including other larvae); it wasn’t until a much later phase that members of the vastly-thinned ranks of surviving larvae entered a pupae phase in which they grew the brains required for sentience.
The particulars and repercussions of Kathungi reproduction were visited upon earth not long after the UNE allowed non-diplomatic Kathungians to visit Earth on tourist visas. One young Kathungian couple decided to drive across the United States on a road trip and got as far as Ogallala, Nebraska before they were overcome by the spew phase. The two rented a room at the Sav-U-Lot Motel off of Interstate 80 and spent the next day and a half with the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door, coating the interior of the room with goo more than an inch thick in places. The cleaning crew quit rather than touch it; the manager ended up scooping up the goo with a dustpan, depositing it into the bathtub and running the shower head to dilute the stuff enough to let it slip down the drain.
One week later, guests of the Sav-U-Lot ran screaming from their rooms as millions of larval Kathungi, who had consumed the contents of the Sav-U-Lot’s massive and poorly maintained septic tank, migrated en masse through the plumbing in search of food. The manager rushed into one of the rooms armed with a flyswatter and a can of Raid Ant & Roach Killer. The Kathungi larvae ate everything but the plastic zipper on his pants and the metal grommets of his shoes; seven guests were never found at all. After consuming every organic morsel the Sav-U-Lot had to offer, the larvae, with their natural predators far away on the Kathungi home planet, set on the town on Ogallala like a Biblical plague.
The Nebraska governor imposed martial law and sent in the National Guard to eradicate the larvae. After it was discovered that the insects were in fact Kathungi larvae, the governor was hauled into CC court on the charge of xenocide and hundreds of thousands of individual counts of murder of a sentient species member. The bewildered governor served out the remainder of his term of office from the federal prison located (gallingly for a Nebraskan) in Leavenworth, Kansas. Shortly thereafter the UNE changed its visa policy requiring that Kathungi females visiting earth to be on birth control; under no circumstances would a female Kathungi who had begun her fertility cycle ever be allowed to set foot on planet again.
No, I don’t know where this stuff comes from, either. It just happens.