Author : Eric L. Sofer

Humanitarian, Not Vegetarian

We were assembled for the yearly Meal of Thanks, and we had imported food, delicacies from Earth. Dad gets it through his job; he works for a corporation that does space exploration. About forty years back, they found this planet, Earth, and its inhabitants, Humans, and it turned out that we can eat Earth food. I don’t like it, but the rest of the family loves it – and it was what we having for the Meal.

I was helping my mom with appetizers, preparing Spanish peanuts and Brazil nuts. I was more than happy to be in the food prep chamber because Great-Uncle Goje joined us this year. Dad said Uncle Goje was actually born on Earth, but I don’t know if I believe that. Dad says a lot about Earth that must be fabrications. Example: he says Earth people live in square constructs called “buildings” instead of caverns. How could someone want to live in a fake cavern?

I brought out the snacks with a spon for each bowl. My stupid little brother was hanging on Uncle Goje’s every word. The old beast was going on about how he had been on Earth long before we ever landed there, and he wanted to live in peace, but there wasn’t anyone on Earth like him. Except for his old friend, “Mr. Cong” – “…and they treated him like a king, I tell you!” Uncle Goje sputtered.

I settled down to suffer when mother came out. “Hope everyone’s hungry! There’s plenty of Earth food Earth tonight!” My mother had worked overtime this year – to make my dad happy, I think. After the Observation of Silent Gratitude, Dad had to name every single thing, as if he personally had gone to Earth, caught everything, and prepared it.

“That’s Virginia ham, that’s Canadian bacon, those are French fries and Idaho potatoes, and these are called Brussels sprouts,” he said, pointing at each container. “English muffins, Belgian waffles, Hungarian goulash, and Elle, this is called Irish stew – I bet you’ll love it!” he said to me. I thought he’d probably lose that bet, but I showed respect – it [i]was[/i] the Meal of Thanks. My stupid brother, picked up something from a bowl – I think Dad called it Swiss cheese – and started to pop it into his mouth.

“Aarg!” my mother hissed at him. “You remove the stasis field from that or you’ll get sick as a spinner, and I’ll have to take you to the med center!” Aarg stuck one of his tongues out at her when she turned away and used his spon to remove the stasis field, and stuffed the wriggling bit of food into his maw.

As predicted, the family dined with gusto, while I just toyed with my food. At last, Uncle Goje leaned back in the special split back chair we have for him, to accommodate his back spines, and asked Mom, “’Thra, my dear, do you mind if I smoke?”

She sighed and nodded, and Uncle Goje puffed out three rings of smoke, and then ignited them with his breath, and I took my cue. “May I be excused to do homework, Dad?”

“Go ahead, Elle,” he answered. “And Aarg! Stop playing with your food!”

My little brother lifted a claw as a small piece – I think it was a German rye – screamed and struggled as Aarg grabbed it with his fangs and gnawed it to pieces. I ducked down the corridor into my chamber, and into my slime pit.

I don’t care what the rest of my family says. I hate Human food.

 

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