Interplanetary Commerce Part 2

In case you haven’t read it, you can read the first part here. The story that comes before can be found here.

 

And in the Flomcarpian hinterlands the workers harvest the flowers of the grpflarkpf bush from which the distillate, called grpflarkthguk, an beverage that is extremely addictive to Flomcarpians, is made. However, since the harvesting only is carried out only once every twenty seventh conofloovst – approximately every eight and a half Earth years – and the distillation process as well as the logistics of the distribution of the final product is so time consumingly complex, it is much simpler and more convenient to import the Earth version which comes, as it does, in five hundred gallon sealed vats rather than in runs of a mere thirty gallons at a time as is the case with local grpflarkthguk production. Also, Earth produced and imported grpflarkthguk does not leave it’s imbiber with a gut curdling aftermath of a hangunder the way the local variety does to those who overindulge..

As can be deduced, the demand for Earthling grpflarkthguk had grown exponentially on Flomcarp to the point that the male humans from the Croatian province of Greoticz whose urine contains the same strain of proteins and amino acid derivatives as the grpflarkpf flowers of Flomcarp, have been hard pressed to piss enough to keep up with the demand. Delivering a minimum of five hundred gallons of the effluvia of the target group to the spaceport each and every second Monday of the month before the interstellar transport Bastard Trader took off for Grantius II and its satellite planet, Flomcarp, was becoming more and more of a logistical nightmare for the company that had originally signed the lucrative contract. What had been called “the product” by the warden of the penitentiary where Gordon Sleachak was incarcerated, was labelled “liquid gold” by those with a more poetic bent in the company from which it was marketed. Such a dilemma was not lost on the chemists in their private barroom by on Earth.

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There were methods for getting the liquid gold in high quantities.

“Are we talking about volume or just quality of product?” asked Phildic.

“Something of both, I would guess,” Georgewell, answered glumly.

“Then it should be easy to come up with a solution,” was Raybury’s offering for consideration.

“Like what?” asked a testy Alduxly.

“I dunno,” answered Raybury. “Just putting the notion out there is all.”

“I think I have it,” Zacimov said. “And this time I don’t want there to be any argument on who came up with it.”

“So, tell us,” said Alduxly, slightly irritated since it seemed that Zacimov was not going to say anything more on the matter. “What is your solution to this vexing problem?”

“Simple dimple,” was Zacimov’s reply. “Dilution and freezing.”

“What do you mean?” asked the bartender. “You mean you’ll water down the piss that you send out to Flomcarp?” He was worried that they had gotten the idea from what he regularly did to the liquor that he served them from his bar.

“I see what he means,” said Raybury. “Good show, Zacimov! But what’s this about freezing?”

“Another simple crimple. We change the formula just enough so that we send it watered down, then frozen, then we shave and flake the resulting ice into something like snow. What will fill a five hundred gallon drum will actually be a lot less as snow than it would be in its liquid state.”

“I see,” said Phildic as he blew bubbles in his martini. “That’s quite devious of you, Zack, my boy.”
“Please don’t call me that,” whined Zacimov. “The name is Zacimov, and only that.”

“All right, That,” Phildic kidded. “If you wish, then That is what we’ll call you from now on. I still like that devious turn of mind you’ve just exhibited, though. And it’s a scheme that just might work – and make us richer than we are now.”

“A notion of genius,” said Georgewell. “Let us raise our glasses for a rousing cheer for our good friend, That.”

“Here here!” four of the chemists chimed in excitedly. “Three cheers for That!”

Zacimov groaned in regret for having corrected Phildic at all on how he wished to be addressed. They may be brilliant scientists, he thought, but for all that they were really just a bunch of schoolboy dolts playing with colored waters in a laboratory, hoping for something to explode in their faces. “Here here,” he said desultorily as he rose and raised his glass with the rest of them. “Now if you’ll excuse me, gentlemen, I have to go and take a leak.”

“Oh, goody,” said Georgewell, excitedly. “I’ll come with you!”

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Makes you think twice, doesn’t it?

***
“Hey, Sleachak!” yelled the guard through the criss-crossed bars. “Get up! They’re calling for more of your golden whizz-tonic.”

“More piss?” groaned the slowly waking con. “But I just took a long leak for’em not more’n an hour ago.”

“They still want more, pal,” the guard said as he unlocked the door to the cell. “Here, I’ve got a pitcher full of water for you. That should get the old juices flowing pretty quick.”

Sleachak moaned again as he accepted the first glassful. “When I signed on for this,” he said before drinking. “It was for a promise of an early release.” He guzzled the water and handed the glass back to the guard for more. “Just tell me that getting out is worth all this bother.”

“Should be,” said the guard. “At least there won’t be anyone making you piss a couple of quarts about every hour on the hour.”

Sleachak raised his glass, the second of many more to come. “I’ll drink to that,” he said.

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They could have used easier methods.

***
On Flomcarp, the first shipment of the product, called Yellow Snow, arrived and was being sampled by the Flomcarpian offload team at the spaceport. The first one to spoon a heaping helping of the frozen yellow flakes into his ugly maw said nothing, just closed his orange and bleary eyes in a pantomime of ecstasy. His workmate was more vociferous in his expression of appreciation. “Manna from the Glregoxian heavens of the third moon,” he said, using an ancient analogy which no one understood any longer. “Wunnaful, just simply wunnaful!”

“Oh, schicklnotz!” chimed in a third worker with a curse as he suddenly grabbed his head in agony after having scarfed down an entire dish of the stuff. The sight of one of these ugly creatures in a slobbering feeding frenzy caused the human crewmember of the Bastard Trader who had been delegated to guarding the vessel to have a hard time holding down his recently completed breakfast. “Frloognak freeze!” cried the indigenous offload team-member as he massaged a region of his head that could be assumed to be his temples.

“That’s nothing,” said the first one as he used his third leg to help hoist him to a standing position. He dropped the dish from which he had been enjoying the just arrived frozen elixir and hurriedly turned toward the door that led to the lavatory. “This stuff is so strong it’s giving me a horrible case of the grotzlotgsh.”

“Grotz-what?” asked the earthling making it apparent that he had no training in Flomcarpian street lingo.

“It mean he got the shits,” explained the one who had the frloognak freeze.

“Oh!” said the Trader’s crewmember. Quickly deducing the gist of the situation, he moved away from the open door of the spacecraft and took the first step toward going AWOL in order to follow after the gut wrenched Flomcarp native. With visions of chocolaty goodness dancing in his head, he called back, “I’d better go see if I can help him, then!”

 

By Stephen Faulkner who is just a regular guy who likes to take apart the world and put it back together in amusing ways. He is looking for people who share his singular style and sense of humor. Steve lives in Decatur, Georgia with his wife and five cats.

©2016, all rights reserved
published with the permission of the author

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