Sunday, July 9, 2023

“The Mercy of Martok” • by Julie Frost

The delectable scent of banana wafted from the kitchen. Martok, Destroyer of Worlds—called “Clyde” by those who knew no better—wiped a cleansing forepaw over his nose to get a better whiff, but, yes, it was unquestionably banana.  

Whiskers twitching, he sat up on his hind legs, ignoring the suddenly-no-longer desirable fresh dandelion greens in front of him.

“Hey!” he demanded. “Give me some of that!”

Of course, the foolish humans didn’t understand Basic Guinea Pig, and the young human male wheeked back at him, gibberish for the most part, with cursing sprinkled in. Sometimes the people withheld the banana peel, and Martok decided that if they refused to share this time?

Well. There would be consequences.

The other pig, Fozzle, circled him, vibrating and swaying his butt, before popcorning into the air with an excited shake-and-squeak. “It’s gonna be great!” he exclaimed.

Martok wasn’t as positive. “We’ve been defrauded from our fair portion before, even though it’s not as if the humans even eat the humping peel.” Sometimes the peel ended up in the trash, of all places. A criminal waste. He prepared an incantation that would firebomb the house if they were thwarted yet again.

Fozzle—what a ridiculous name, really, he was such a suck-up—eyed him doubtfully. “Cly—I mean, Martok, is that a good idea? I really don’t want to go back to the shelter.”

Martok ignored him. Going back to the shelter would be a small price to pay if the next human slaves actually took care of them properly, rather than teasing them.

The adult male human walked out of the kitchen and dangled the banana peel over their heads. The guinea pigs, of course, understood human language perfectly. “Beg, Clyde,” he said. “Come on…”

It was beneath Martok’s dignity to beg, and he nearly immolated the human on the spot for his insolence, but that would have annihilated the banana too. His nose led him inexorably upward, front paws tucked against his chest. Fozzle, the traitor, didn’t give a poo about his dignity, and he sat up with much more alacrity, front paws waving for balance as the fatter pig nearly toppled over.

Barely out of reach… but there. Taking advantage of Fozzle’s instability and shoving a foot into his face, Martok snagged a corner of peel and yanked it from the human’s fingers. “What about me?” Fozzle asked.

“Go whistle for it,” Martok answered, mouth full of delicious banana goodness, whisking it out of his reach and munching as fast as he could. Mmph, scrumptious.

“But—” And then the human offered Fozzle his own hunk of peel, and the race was on to see who could finish first and steal the other’s. This time, however, they were evenly matched, and peace reigned between them. Martok, as befitted his station, took the hammock when they settled down to digest.

Satiated and sleepy, nearly relaxed enough to actually sleep with his eyes closed, Martok decided to allow the humans to live. Today.


Julie Frost
is an award-winning author of every shade of speculative fiction. She lives in Utah with a herd of guinea pigs, her husband, and a “kitten” who thinks she’s a warrior princess. Her short fiction has appeared in Weird World War IV, Talons and Talismans, Straight Outta Dodge City, Monster Hunter Files, Writers of the Future, StoryHack, and many other venues, including, of course, Stupefying Stories. Her werewolf PI  novel series, Pack Dynamics, is published by WordFire Press, and a novel about faith, hope, love, and redemption, set in Hell, Dark Day, Bright Hour, will be available on Amazon soon. Visit her on Facebook at




Made in DNA said...

Ha! The dichotomy of cuddly monsters.