Talking Story


The fun-sized candy calls eat me, eat me, eat me to Josey Brackenburg. No, she resists, but an hour later Josey heaves herself behind the steering wheel trailing empty wrappers like breadcrumbs. Gotta start line-drying my jeans, she thinks. Stupid dryer’s shrinking them.

In her grocery cart she chases apples with caramels, adds popsicles for their sticks, and stacks cases of soda underneath—no diet-death chemicals allowed in her house, thank you very much. Rounding the bakery, pumpkin chocolate-chip cookies leap off the shelves, perfect for midnight snacking. Not until Piggly-Wiggly’s checkout does she remember. Halloween. She needs more candy.

With twenty bags jammed in the trunk, Josey hitches herself back into the driver’s seat, popping the button on her jeans. Cruising past the drive-thru, she scans the line stretching around the block and reluctantly parks. No time to wait. Waddling in, she super-sizes her biggie fries. Hot grease and salt sizzle as she drags them through her peanut-butter malt.

Catching her eye, Annie hefts her triple burger. “It’s perfectly normal to gain a few pounds before winter,” Annie laughs. “We’ll diet later!”

Josey pats her swelling muffin top. “Carrots sticks and rice crackers in January,” she grins. “But through the holidays let’s all get fat and happy!”

In space Zargog adjusts a dial. “You’re right, Captain. The mountain species are more susceptible than the coastal varieties. Scans also show fewer contaminates.”

“Excellent. Inform Chef the calorie ray is optimized. Harvest Fest will commence as scheduled.”

Zargog smacks his lips.

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