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Clarified Blather

Scalzi Story

Wherein I take a band name from Scalzi’s Next Band Name list, and spend no more than 20 minutes writing the story with the band name as a title.


“You sure about this?”

“Yeah, I already said I was, didn’t I?”

“Yes, but, yeah, I’m not sure anyone is really going to believe us when we announce this.”

“Probably not at first. It’s not like we don’t have the proof right here.”

Richards looked down at the white mass sitting in the bowl on the table. What he really wanted to do with that mass is shove half of it into his mouth, and take the other half home, to dole out sparingly on alone-nights when he had the house, especially the kitchen, to himself. He wouldn’t tell his wife about the mass, he didn’t really want to share it with her.

Thompson looked at Richards looking at the bowl, and understood what he was feeling. He had been a boy when the last cow had died, remembered his parents discussing it at the dinner table: his father declaring the end of society and his mother expressing delight that an innocent animal would no longer be tortured and slaughtered for food. An entire industry was struck down in the Cattle Blight of 47, showing a country, and the world, just how far deep the hand of the cattle industry reached.

He was young then.

He was old now.

Richards and Thompson had found the cows living in a remote Transylvanian village, amongst a Gypsy clan that had treated them as pets. After the discovery, Richards had not only managed to confirm their immunity to the virus that had killed every other cow in the world, but he had also, much to Thompson’s surprise, secured enough of the farmer’s herd to guarantee a diverse line for himself. Thompson was happy for Richards.

“Do you want to do a side by side comparison at the press conference?” Thompson asked, as Richards, who continued to stare at the bowl.


Thompson asked his question again.

“Really? You want to have blather next to butter, in a side by side comparison?” Richards looked back at Thompson, clearly surprised.

“I’m suggesting it.”

“At the conference where there will be hundreds of people we don’t know?”

Thompson didn’t answer.

“No,” Richards said. “No, I don’t want that. I want to have enough butter to show people that the cows exist, enough to give to the Genetic Corps for them to confirm it is what we say it is, and then I want to start auctioning this stuff off. Someone is going to track down where we have the cows, and I want to have the funds to protect them before someone does find them.”

Thompson looked at Richards a moment longer. “Okay. Don’t expect the Federal Blather Producers Association to be particularly happy about this.”

“I don’t,” Richards answered. “I don’t expect them to be happy about this at all.”

Thompson turned and left to prepare for the press conference.

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