Thanksgiving may be over, but as those of you who celebrate it in the US are picking over your leftover turkey, feast your eyes on this disturbing main dish. Is it disgusting? Yes. Upsetting? Sure. But does it also inspire you to write some fiction about foodstuffs with a humanoid face? If so, post your culinary tale in the comments.
This piece from artist Evan Campbell is titled "Funeral Meats" (via Geyser of Awesome), and the cooked carcass is actually made from gelatin. So without the paint, this little guy would be edible. As always, we invite you to write a story based on this gruesome image.
Here's my response to this delectable monstrosity:
"I don't eat anything with a face," I told Tatio as I poked the creature on my plate with my fork. It momentarily shuddered, almost like a Jell-O mold and almost like a dreaming animal.
Tatio's underlids fluttered with amusement. "In the time we've been together, I think I've seen you wolf down a pig's worth of bacon."
"I don't eat anything with a human face, then." I let the fork drop to the table but quickly picked it up again when my table mates turned to scowl. There is nothing more frightening that a Ferazhad offended by poor table manners.
Tatio sank a talon into her own creature's body, wedging the carcass open until a fluffy stuffing burst from its abdomen. "It's not a human face. It's a Nifflepaug face, and you will eat it. It's traditional."
"I've been to lots of Ferazhad weddings," I said, wondering if the dish would seem more palatable if I rotated the face out of view, "and I've never seen one of these...things."
"You've never been to a pentagamous wedding," she explained. "Do you have any idea how many exams Seedle and her wives had to pass in order to qualify? It's a cause for special celebration." She pointed a long fingernail at my plate. "Nifflepaug celebration."
"Uh-huh," I said, making no attempt to conceal my doubt. "But why does it look so human? That can't be a coincidence."
Tatio chewed far more slowly than was necessary before replying, "Well." And then she paused.
A smile curled across her lips, revealing row upon row of glittering teeth. My heart pounded in reply. Maybe I could convince her to forget the Nifflepaug, forget the rest of this wedding, and spend the rest of the night in our room. Finally, she leaned over and murmured in my ear, "Breeding."
I almost laughed, despite myself. "Breeding?"
"When we first learned about humans, several Nifflepaug breeders thought it would be funny to breed 'paugs that looked like humans. They're actually feathered, so they don't look much like you guys until they're cooked."
"Hilarious," I deadpanned. I let my fork hover over the dish, which was beginning to sweat its fragrant juices. "What does it taste like?"
Tatio licked my cheek. "A little bit like you."
Here is McPherson's story:
That's me, on a plate, cooked and naked. It's a long story of how I got here, won't bore you with the details. Not the end I expected and certainly not the end I deserved.
I remember my great grandfather telling me that the planet would be ours some day. All who walked in the sun would respect our kind and no living thing would fear us. We would rule with justice and equality. Those were times of enlightenment and optimism, an age long gone, a future never realized.
I am the omega, the last, a sad end to a dynasty cut short by mistakes, mistrusts and misguidance. Perhaps it was meant to be but I give thanks that my wife, my children, my kind didn't live to see this day.
My flesh is tender with a slight hint of musk, I recommend a hearty Cabernet Sauvignon to enhance its flavor. Then bury my bones deep within the earth, this Earth I once called home.