“What the hell am I supposed to do with those?” I said, glaring at the frilly pink socks dangling between Hummer’s pincers. “I’m twenty-two, not two.”
He grunted and tossed them over his armor-plated shoulder.
“Just stick to looking for band aids,” I said, and carried on riffling through the racks. “Or even better, try and root out some shower gel. You stink worse than these rotten rags on my feet. Damn this war, and damn you and the rest of those… cockroaches!”
With a swipe of a claw, he smashed the contents of the shelf he’d been picking through to the floor.
Today, here on Eustachia, it’s a different ballgame altogether. First of all, they don’t eat anything they can cook. My guard in his white apron serves me Eustachian wafers at prescribed intervals. Though they come in different flavors, I’ve yet to distinguish any difference between them. Imagine a piece of hide from a zulkof, maybe a baby zulkof (if you’re lucky), that you chew and chew and chew, turning it over in your mouth again and again, sucking down the juices, before finally—if you’re a foreigner like me—spitting it out in sheer fatigue and boredom. One thing I must say for it: it does kill the appetite and stall the cramps for a while.
One day the ringmaster gathered everybody in the circus: clowns, acrobats, jugglers, lion tamers, bearded ladies and strong men. Everybody, including the Kitteridge brothers, stood in the center ring while the ringmaster revealed that the circus had gone bankrupt. “I am afraid,” the ringmaster announced, “that I do not have the money for your last payday. You are free to take anything you like.”
Always keep an eye on the clowns. Before the ringmaster could even finish his last word, the clowns were already scurrying about and looting anything worth stealing before anybody else could get to it. They were vicious.