Friday Fictioneers: Messin’

I pledgeTime for the Friday Fictioneers with another prompt from our Fairy Blog Mother Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

The task is to write a story: beginning, middle, and end, in 100 words or less. You can find all the Fictioneers’ stories when you click on the Froggy. Please read, comment, and if you like, join the fun. Everyone is welcome.

This one jumped at me… didn’t want to give me time to think about alternatives, just was nagging, nagging… and the title song didn’t behave any better. What can you do when a story is nagging?

dale-rogerson
Image © Dale Rogerson

Messin’

“Over there, in the water. What is it?”

“A chair. They threw a chair away. Just like that. Into the lake.”

“Unbelievable. Leaving their garbage left and right, letting it fall where they stood. Animals.”

“Yes, they behaved like locusts. A plague on the planet. Unable or unwilling to control their breeding, swarming when overcrowded, exploiting all resources, destroying everything, wherever they went…”

“Right. They were living by instinct, not reason. The few still around aren’t any different.”

“We’ll do better.”

“We will.”

“Locusts are a delicacy.”

“So I hear. What do you think, how far will the similarity go?”

(100 words)

Since this doesn’t seem to be as crystal clear as it is to me: The speakers are two beings on a planet who talk about beings (possibly humans) on the same planet who were there before them, some earlier ones are still around. It’s up to the reader to decide if these new beings are evolved humans, Aliens, robots, evolved cockroaches… and according to your interpretation there may or may not be cannibalsim involved. To speak with Rochelle: “Chomp, chomp…”

(80 words–this week is fail 😉 )


The title comes from Manfred Mann’s Earth Band.


1200px-CSIRO_ScienceImage_7007_Plague_locusts_on_the_moveFeatured image: “CSIRO ScienceImage 7007 Plague locusts on the move” by CSIRO. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CSIRO_ScienceImage_7007_Plague_locusts_on_the_move.jpg#/media/File:CSIRO_ScienceImage_7007_Plague_locusts_on_the_move.jpg

Most commonly called grasshoppers, species in the family Acrididae vary greatly in shape, size and colouring, but all possess large hind legs well developed for jumping. They have short antennae, a short ovipositor and well-developed wings. Grasshoppers are active during the day and can produce sound by rubbing a row of pegs located on the hind legs against part of the forewings. Most species feed on grass (as their name suggest), but other vegetation is also consumed including leaves, stems and even dead eucalyptus leaves. The name locust is given to those species that are known to build up in large numbers. Locust swarms then migrate across vast areas causing almost complete destruction to all green vegetation, especially agricultural crops. The Australian plague locust is a native species of Australia and is one of the most economically important species in Australia. At times this species is known to build up in great numbers forming swarms that migrate across central and eastern Australia eating their way through almost anything green. This species can be recognised by the black patch on the tip of the hind wing and the red colouring on its hind leg. The body of female Australian plague locusts is usually green, but when swarming is brownish in colour.

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76 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers: Messin’

  1. Dear GAH,

    I also thought you might be hinting at cannibalism. Although if these are another sort or being, eating humans might not be considered cannibalism. Right? Of course right!

    In answer to your rhetorical question…when the muse strikes, you obey. 😉 Nicely done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    PS I hear the chomping sound as I write. 😯

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    1. Dear Rochelle, how can you all not understand what I think… 😀
      No, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize it was unclear. I wrote an explanation above that is 80 words long, hah. So much for multiple entries… This is made of fail…
      Anyway, thanks for laughing with me about it. Chomp, chomp…

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    1. Thank you. I’m sorry about the unclear-ness. It would help me if you told me at which point things became confusing. I left the speakers’ identities vague because I thought it wasn’t important who they are, just that they are different. Obviously I was wrong.

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      1. Um, okay, I feel awkward now.
        For me (and you should know I am not too smart) it did not ‘become confusing’ at any point, it was just never clear what sort of creature was talking.
        So it was equally unclear, to me at least, whether or not that mattered.
        Or whether I had missed something.
        But, and again speaking only for myself, that meant I found it difficult to feel any empathy for the voices.
        But then I tend not to empathise overmuch with people who use the word ‘animals’ as a derogatory term.
        Does this help at all?
        Will I get my big pink Elephant chum to say something funny now?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Please don’t feel awkward. I want and need criticism, and this helps. Thank you. That doesn’t mean that the pachyderm isn’t welcome. 🙂
          And, actually, you understood the story exactly how I meant it. I deliberately kept it vague.

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  2. Would a superior being (either from another planet or an evolved human form from earth) do a better job at looking after the environment and caring for our home than we are currently doing?
    …Then again, can they really do any worse?

    Good piece of writing and very interesting take on the prompt!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Akash. That is exactly the question I wanted to raise. Being environmentally conscious is one thing, but eating people? Is it sufficient to declare that they are animals? How about us, many feeling free to hunt whales, kill elephants, kill or experiment on primates just because we said they are animals… So, are they really any better than us?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve always wondered that. Vegetarians do ask me why I eat chicken and beef when I love dogs and other pets (a little different than the unnatural killing of whales and elephants, who are hunted for profit, though). It’s simple – I want to and I like the taste. Tomorrow, I wouldn’t expect a superior species to look at humans and say “It is wrong” to eat us. If they think we’re tasty or offer them more protein than chicken, they will. Same goes with a lion – a don’t expect a wild, King of the jungle to avoid me. He thinks he’s top of the food chain, and so do I. We may not be when a superior being decides to visit.

        Also, I noticed you apologizing for the unclear nature of writing in some of your other comments, and just wanted to tell you: Never do that! Let us folk rack our brains trying to decipher the genius behind a very obvious explanation.

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        1. Thanks for that thoughtful reply. About the apologizing: I see these weekly prompts as an exercise in writing, and I welcome and appreciate critique. While I agree that the reader should be challenged to think, noticing that my writing leaves the reader guessing makes me try to find out why, to learn from it. I think this is especially important in such short pieces as the 100 word stories.

          About the Vegetarians, yes, this can be a bit of a bind. I find it odd when Vegetarians have dogs and cats, actually, but it depends on why people don’t eat meat. I eat meat on occasion. What I mind is the way we treat the animals we eat while they live, and the overconsumption of “choice cuts.”

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    1. I’m sorry about the confusion. If you don’t mind, where did it begin to be unclear? Is it the dialogue, or the whole setting, or…?
      In any case, beings talk about other beings who were there before them. It’s up to the reader to decide if this is about Earth and humans or somewhere else. I tried to keep it vague, may have been too vague. 🙂 In the end, they consider eating the ones who were there before them.

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  3. I was OK until you mentioned the locusts. I understood the two beings who were talking to be newcomers to the planet, just bringing the locusts into it made me wonder if I’d got it after all. Anyway, never mind. I’m no stranger to people not understand my stories… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Hmm… the locusts. I think I see the problem now. Good to remember for next time. It would either have to be more generic on the locust-like-insects side, or clearer on the speaker side.

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  4. Great story! Before I read your explanation I had gone with aliens having taken over the planet, appalled at what the previous incumbents had done to it and were in the process of mopping up the few survivors, with a bit of gravy and a nice Merlot by the sounds of it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I met someone once who was salivating at the mouth as he described the delights of fried locusts. That star rating didn’t tempt me though.
    But we are behaving like ‘plague on the planet’ indeed. True story I take it then.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I admit, I’m not tempted by insects and worms either, but if I had to, I’d go with the locusts. It could become a good protein source if we don’t stop population growth anytime soon. We’re acting out our potential, I think: we’re highly adaptable and aggressive. But if we don’t want to end up like any population that’s grown too big–poisoning ourselves, getting killed by plagues, and running out of food–we better get our acts together. /End rant… 😉

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  6. I always love the possibilities of any ambiguity…
    Have just been watching the resourceful grey squirrel in my garden give his face and then his tail a wash in water collected on leaves on my roses. He doesn’t need a chair or anything much that is going to mess up his planet; he plants his larder of walnuts in my grass and what he doesn’t come back to eat often sprouts AND he enjoys the occasional yummy grasshopper (which thrive since I threw out my lawnmower).
    These protagonists are so obviously two highly developed squirrels I’m surprised nobody else has spotted it.
    Highly enjoyable and thought provoking piece when I see the amount of waste we humans generate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have me laughing out loud here. Of course they are squirrels, why didn’t I mention that? What a story, do you have pictures of that squirrel? And why did you throw out your lawn mower? I’m glad you liked the squirrel tale. Thank you. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My squirrel never stays still long enough for a photo! He has been seen eating a large round biscuit whilst sitting on the fence but you’ll have to take my word for it.
        Confession time – I haven’t actually thrown out the lawn mower, but it is malingering in the garden shed now I no longer use it.
        I read somewhere that beautiful green garden lawns can be the least green aspect of gardening and the London parks now leave at least some areas unmown. So I now trim my patch of front grass a couple of times a year with shears and I keep the back garden grass shorter, but also trim with shears. Admittedly I have a very small garden but I now also share it with more wild flowers and more crickets and grasshoppers since I stopped mowing. Hearing crickets in a South London street is quite unusual!
        Nice to know that doing less is sometimes the right thing to do! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Absolutely. A flawless, green lawn is not a very natural thing, great that you can let the grass and wildflowers grow in places. The difficult thing is mowing just enough to not get bushes and trees overgrow the area. 🙂

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  7. Gah….This was an interesting piece in that it kept leading me down different paths ….First I thought some Humans were commenting on other humans who are littering the world and calling them ‘animals’ until this line: “the few still around aren’t any different.”” . This showed that the two speakers are not humans but not animals either – because they use ‘animal’ as a derogoratroy term…..that was confusing because they seem to have the same sense of superiority as us humans -that we are better than/different than animals. If this was an alien i guess they would categorize all creatures on earth as “Animal” wont they?

    If not for that confusion , it makes a great story . As Rochelle points out ..it is not cannibalism if they are not of the same species.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ansumani, thank you for that great input. I think if the Aliens/robots/evolved beings were anything like us, they’d feel suprior to anything they don’t understand and which seems less advanced/has different ethics than they have. If they were different, they might see the dominant species on the planet, what it claims to be, and how it acts. My intent was the latter, the last lines were meant a bit tongue in cheek, joking about something they would not (yet) consider seriously doing… but it becomes clearer to me where I was too vague. In such a short piece, I think it’s better to clarify who the speakers are.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. When you think about it, if another species is so evolved we appear as slovenly animals, they might consider eating us as some of the people of Africa eat what they call “bush meat”, the wild animals such as monkeys and zebras, etc. in the forest. Look how humans were treated in the “Planet of the Apes” movies. I didn’t think you meant that, but wasn’t sure who the others were. Good story though. Well done. —- Suzanne

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