Author : James Zahardis

Glxxo-Rgm looks up from her console at the colossal androids. Above their heads is a transparent dome that separates the Denshari flagship’s methane-enriched atmosphere from space. Glxxo-Rgm’s foremost right leg extends and the Loom materializes. She centers herself in the matrix of spires, pulls a polypeptide strand from her spinneret, and the web forms.

The colossus with pinkish skin and blue eyes stares down. “You propose we’re going to this planet hastily and without an appropriate treaty?”

Glxxo-Rgm cross-links a strand to her web.

The second colossus, similar to the first, except for his baseball cap, sneers at Glxxo-Rgm, faces the other android and says, “Please, Admiral Ooghrt–”

“–Ooghrt-Lxi, the Ravager, cryosleeps. I am now Thaddeus. Do you understand, Nahum?”

“Yes, Thaddeus. Why do you listen to this old fool, sir?! She cost us victory on Denzbxx! We lost the–”

“–Silence! Be satisfied that you are now Chief Ambassador. She’ll never make planetfall again!”

A young, leggy Denshari strides toward the Loom, and bows to Glxxo-Rgm.

“Weave, larva!” booms Thaddeus’s voice.

As the Denshari weaves, Glxxo-Rgm’s pedipalps curl down. She remembers Ooghrt-Lxi webcasting her demotion and promoting his nephew to her post. He doesn’t know his air-sacs from his spinneret, she thinks.

Thaddeus reads the web, “Transport–momentarily.”


Andrea “A-Day” Dadelomis sees two customers in the car lot. Look like Escalade types–probably some of Jayhawk’s wannabe friends, she thinks.

“Welcome to Deal Master’s–you want it, we’ve got it!”

“We’ve come to make terms with your world’s leader,” Nahum replies.

“Oh, you mean Jason, my soon to be husband,” A-Day says. “You guys bill collectors?”

Nahum’s colloquial/slang app activates. “We ain’t bill collectors. Need to confab with Big Man–set things proper between our peoples.”

Holy crap!–Jayhawk’s mixed-up with gangbangers! A-Day thinks. “Follow me.”

Synth-blood rushes into Nahum’s cheeks as he passes under the banner that reads: DEAL MASTER’S–BEST DEALS in DELAND and the ENTIRE WORLD!!!

Jason “Jayhawk” Hawkingston tries to rap along with a YouTube video. He sees the men, their thick gold chains. Damn, big money playas! he thinks. He turns off the video and sniffs his underarms.

“What’s crackalackin, fellas?”

“You the Deal Master? best deals on the planet?” Nahum responds.

“That’s what the commercial says, right? What can I interest y’all in?”


“Got Escalades, some–”

“Yes. Everything.”

Jayhawk turns to A-Day. “Excuse me, gonna show them the lot.”

Jayhawk escorts the men outside. “OK, what y’all really want? No disrespect–are you… Mafioso?”

“We want to establish a base on your world.”

“You want the whole place?”


Thaddeus nudges Nahum. “I offer the following gifts for your world: a slap-chopper, an auto-tune microphone, a pair of–”

“–Hold up, big baller, I busted my ass flipping foreclosures to get money for this place!–I don’t care if you’re Sopranos–y’all don’t–”

“–Silence!” interjects Thaddeus. “We’ll also give you ten million freshly minted US dollars!”


Thaddeus and Nahum escort Jayhawk to the Hummer parked across the street. Soon Jayhawk hightails back to the dealership with two duffel bags, and ten minutes later he and A-Day are driving home to pack for Acapulco.


Two weeks pass. A.J. Nelwood, an Apopka sod farmer, is inspecting damage to his turf incurred during a sudden hailstorm. He nearly trips over several stones lying on the grass. If thunderstorms can bring fish’n’frogs reckon hailstorms can bring stones, he thinks. As he walks away he fails to notice the spiders striding away from the stones or their tiny flag embedded in the grass.


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