Thursday, July 8, 2021

“Metamorphosis” • by Jonathan Worlde


We’d finished our meal of giant barbequed slug at Curios Café, Planet Argonne’s favorite expat hangout.

The wait staff were all local non-lethal juveniles, with characteristic four arms and four eyes on long stalks. Our waiter delivered the check with a big smile. I paid with my Galaxy Yuan card.

On the way out Tanya asked, “Robbie, did you leave a tip?”

I’d forgotten about tipping here. I returned to look for the girl with lovely eyes. But she had just prematurely metamorphosed as I returned, and, losing control, was devouring a Martian trader.

Making a hasty retreat, I told Tanya, “I’m pretty sure that wasn’t our waiter anymore.”

¤     ¤     ¤

Paul Grussendorf is an attorney representing refugees, a former Immigration Judge, and a consultant to the UN Refugee Agency. His legal memoir is My Trials: Inside America’s Deportation Factories. He writes genre fiction under the byline of “Jonathan Worlde.”

Jonathan Worlde’s neo-noir mystery novel, Latex Monkey with Banana, was winner of the Hollywood Discovery Award with a prize of $1,000. Recent short fiction appears in The Raven Review, the 2020 anthology Ghost Stories of Shepherdstown, and in Cirque Journal. He is also a traditional country blues performer under the stage name Paul the Resonator, whose CD is Soul of a Man.




And now, a few words from the publisher:

Bruce Bethke here. This week The Pete Wood Challenge is bringing you seven new flash fiction stories, all of which key off some slight variation on the phrase, “I’m pretty sure he wasn’t our waiter.” In an ideal world we’d like to see you express your appreciation for these stories by taking a closer look at our books and magazines, beginning with either STUPEFYING STORIES MAGAZINE proper or something in the STUPEFYING STORIES PRESENTS line—

But if you already have all the books, ebooks, and audio books you could ever possibly use, then I’m going to pull out my old public radio hat, dust it off, put it on, switch to my on-air voice, and tell you that Stupefying Stories and Rampant Loon Media are supported by the generosity of readers and listeners like you. If you appreciate the kind of programming we’re bringing you, please show it by clicking this link or the button below to make a donation today. All major credit cards are accepted, and all donations go directly towards paying the authors and artists who create the content that you’re enjoying on this site.

Please don’t make me escalate this to the coffee mug and tote bag level.