‘Now, tell me, exactly why are you selling the rights to Earth?’ said the Chossey.
He’d already explained the reason in great detail but the Chossey didn’t seem to be the brightest spark in the inferno. And to be honest, it was just as well. This deal was important and he didn’t want a potential buyer to work out the drawbacks before he signed.
He’d schemed for months and it wouldn’t do to lose patience now.
Bohnan the Carbairian smiled winningly with both mouths, gritted his fangs and started again.
‘I’m getting old. I want to retire. I have a little holiday home in the Drosophila Galaxy and I’d like to end my days there.’
‘The what Galaxy?’
‘Never heard of it’
‘It’s not very well known at the moment but it’s a very up-and-coming location. Property prices are set to rocket. If you’re interested, I know of a very desirable little place not far from mine.’
‘Really?’ said the Chossey, his single eye lighting up with excitement, ‘Yes, I would be interested.’
‘But I digress,’ said Bohnan quickly, ‘there’s plenty of time to discuss holiday homes after we’ve settled the ownership of the Earth,’ he smiled encouragingly with both mouths.
Steady on old chap, thought Bohnan. There’ll be plenty of time to sell him property in an imaginary galaxy later. He just needed the Chossey to sign on the dotted line and then… then, he’d head to the furthest reaches of the universe and live out the rest of his days in luxury.
‘You don’t look old enough to retire.’
Bohnan paused for a second. Had he underestimated the Chossey? Was he attempting to smooth the deal with flattery? Or worse, was he suspicious?
The blank expression on the Chossey’s face suggested that neither explanation was the case. He was like a terrestrial dog with a bone, Bohnan finally decided, he simply hadn’t quite absorbed Bohnan’s reason for selling the rights and was merely trying to make sense of it all. The act of information processing was painful to watch, but he reminded himself that the Chossey’s stupidity should work to his advantage.
‘It’s not so much that I’m old,’ he began, ‘but I’m feeling old. You know how it is. Some days it’s a struggle to get out of bed. I’m tired and I long for some rest. And then again, there’s my war wound,’ he said, rubbing his scaly thigh.
The Chossey nodded sympathetically.
Bohnan pressed on ‘And that’s why I want to sell the rights to the Earth.’
‘But you don’t exactly own the Earth yet, do you?’ said the Chossey.
Bohnan had anticipated this – even the Chossey would have noticed that he hadn’t yet staged his invasion of the Blue Planet.
‘I’ve lost interest,’ he said casually ‘I prefer the chase to the kill but I’ve done the necessary preparation and all that now remains is for someone bold and brave, such as yourself, to walk in and take over.’
The Chossey licked his blubbery lips in anticipation.
‘Mankind is now in such a weakened state that they’ll be unable to resist an attack,’ continued Bohnan.
‘How d’you know they’re so weak?’
‘Because I weakened them.’
‘That’s part of the deal. I explain how the human race has been completely undermined and how you can claim the Earth’s riches… and you pay me three million Goron ducats.’
If the Chossey had possessed an eyebrow, it would undoubtedly have shot upwards towards his hairline. As it was, the single eye opened so wide, it was in danger of popping out.
Bohnan fought back laughter. He’d happily settle for one million but the Chossey had to believe that what he was offering was priceless.
‘No,’ said the Chossey ‘you’re asking too much. No planet’s worth that, especially one that’s overcrowded with revolting human beings and is full of disgusting water’.
‘Without giving too much of my secret away, that’s the beauty of it.’
‘What? Human beings and water?’ asked the Chossey.
‘Exactly. The wealth on that planet is incalculable. Trust me, I’ve been watching the humans for countless Earth years ‘
‘I know,’ said the Chossey smugly, ‘we’ve been watching you watch them.’
‘Have you?’ said Bohnan in mock surprise.
He knew exactly who was observing him at any given moment and had detected the clumsy surveillance of the Chossey. Interestingly, the objects of his examination, the humans, were completely unaware of his presence or the fact that they’d been monitored for years.
His performance of astonishment at being observed had fooled the Chossey, whose fleshy lips were drawn sideways into such a wide grin, they looked like they were in danger of bursting. Bohnan had the overwhelming urge to reach across and slap the stupid, self-satisfied smirk from his face. With great restraint, he resisted and instead, scratched at the scaly creases in his neck. Small insects scuttled out of the deep crevices and darted about in panic over the rough, reptilian skin, looking for sanctuary. Bohnan seized one of the creatures between two claws and studied it absent-mindedly.
‘Mankind is as vulnerable as this…’ he said as he exerted a fraction more pressure on the creature’s carapace. The crunch was scarcely audible.
With fore-claw and thumb, he flicked the remnants of the unfortunate bug into the air and wiped his paw down the front of his stained vest.
A cruel gleam lit up the Chossey’s eye.
‘As easy to crush as that, eh?’
‘Easier.’ Bohnan slid the contract across the desk.
The Chossey picked up the pen.
Bohnan held his breath. Surely he wouldn’t be foolish enough to sign without reading it? But there was always hope.
‘How?’ asked the Chossey.
‘How can they be crushed?’
‘You simply land on Earth and take over. There’ll be no resistance – I can guarantee that. Then you simply help yourself to the resources. As I said, the humans will surrender without a fight.’
The Chossey glanced up at the ceiling with a far away look in his eye.
He’s hooked, thought Bohnan and held his breath again.
‘No,’ said the Chossey sharply, ‘no, the price is too high and I need more information.’
‘We can come to some sort of arrangement, I’m sure.’
It’s time to exert a little pressure, thought Bohnan and casually moving his hand under the desk, he pressed a small button.
‘Yes, I’m sure we can come to a mutually, satisfactory agreement,’ he said as a sequence of rapid bleeps rang out.
‘Excuse me, please,’ said Bohnan, turning a knob on the console on his desk.
On the far side of the wooden-panelled room, concealed doors slid apart silently, revealing a screen which clicked, blinked and lit up.
‘Bohnan, my old friend…’ the face that had spoken, broke up into a series of lines and zig-zags but the voice was still audible. ‘I hear you’re selling the rights to Earth. Don’t accept any offers before I get there! I’m just leaving the Drosophila Galaxy – I’ll be with you soon.’
‘Harlix! How good to hear your voice…hello…Harlix? Harlix?’ said Bohnan, ‘damn, he’s gone...’
‘Bad signal,’ commented the Chossey, who had picked up the pen again. ‘How long before he arrives?’
Bohnan breathed a silent sigh of relief. The Chossey had fallen for it. He really believed that his ancient rival, Harlix, was on his way and was interested in buying Earth.
It hadn’t taken Bohnan long to mock up the communication using a clip of an earlier call from Harlix and then a voice simulator to produce the message and it’d certainly been worth the effort.
‘Would you accept one million Goron ducats?’
Bohnan chewed his thumb thoughtfully and pretended to consider the offer.
‘I was hoping for a bit more than that. Perhaps we ought to wait until Harlix arrives and see what sort of offer he makes.’
‘Two million. I can’t go higher than that.’
‘Done,’ said Bohnan quickly, making the Chossey jump. ‘Sign here.’
The Chossey seemed rather bewildered by the speed at which Bohnan had agreed, and he hesitated.
‘Here,’ said Bohnan tapping the contract with his fore-claw, ‘and here.’
The Chossey laboriously signed the paper twice and looked up.
‘Now. I want to know how you weakened the humans.’
‘I’ll tell you everything, when I’ve seen the ducats.’
The Chossey withdrew a large pouch from his baggy coat and tipped the contents on to the desk.
‘One million,’ he said.
Bohnan banged his fist on the desk.
‘We agreed two million!’
‘You don’t expect me to carry around such large sums, do you? I’m not that stupid!’
Bohnan had scanned the Chossey when he’d come aboard the ship and knew that he had two money pouches in his coat. He seized the contract and pretended he was about to tear it up.
‘I knew I ought to have waited for Harlix,’ he said regretfully.
‘Wait! I’ve just remembered. I brought out a little extra cash this morning.’
The Chossey reached into the other side of his shapeless coat and extracted another large bag. He tipped the contents on to the pile of coins on the desk.
Bohnan laid the contract down and swept the money towards him.
‘Now,’ he said with a self-satisfied smile, ‘I’ll tell you what I’ve been up to for the last few years. After much research, I’ve discovered that water, mixed with human fat can be converted to fuel.’
The Chossey gasped ‘No!’
‘Yes, it’s true. There’s a whole planet of humans just waiting to be converted to fuel.’
‘How?’ asked the Chossey, his eye wide with excitement.
‘Here’s the formula,’ said Bohnan, sliding a large, fat, sealed packet across the desk ‘but it’ll take a while to read, so best save it for later,’ he added as the Chossey started to open it.
‘Not that the method is complicated,’ Bohnan added quickly as the Chossey frowned and looked doubtfully at the envelope, ‘there’s just quite a lot to read, that’s all.’
The Chossey would find out soon enough that the pages were filled with chemical symbols and scientific formulae that had absolutely nothing to do with fat or fuel but let him do that in his own time.
The Chossey placed the information in his pocket and patted it.
‘So, how d’you get the fat out of the humans?’
‘Just squeeze,’ said Bohnan, ‘humans crush remarkably easily.’
‘How do you get rid of the blood and other stuff?’
‘There’s such a high proportion of fat, compared to the rest of the body that you don’t need to take any special measures. Just press a human, allow the resulting ‘soup’ to settle and skim off the fat. Simple.’
The Chossey nodded with approval.
‘Squeeze, settle and skim,’ said Bohnan.
‘But what happens when the humans run out?’ asked the Chossey.
‘That need never happen, if you manage them correctly.’
‘Yes, you just need to establish fat farms.’
Again, Bohnan had the almost uncontrollable urge to slap the vacant look off the Chossey’s face and stop the echo. He moved slightly, jogging the desk and the ducats clinked together, reminding him that he would soon be free… and fabulously rich.
He made an effort to relax.
‘Yes, fat farms,’ he said through clenched fangs, ‘to breed fat humans.’
‘But you would need so many humans to make it cost effective,’ said the Chossey.
‘Ah!’ said Bohnan; ‘if you’d been observing the humans closely over the last few years, you’d know...’ he held his breath, hoping that in fact, the Chossey hadn’t been watching Earth.
‘Go on…’ said the Chossey.
Bohnan breathed a sigh of relief – obviously he hadn’t been monitoring them.
‘Well, if you’d been looking, you’d know what sort of shape the human race was in.’
He opened a drawer, withdrew a photograph that he’d previously cut from the Universal Guinness Book of Records and slid it across the desktop. He’d carefully removed the caption – Earth’s Fattest Man and Woman.
‘They’re huge!’ gasped the Chossey, staring in fascination. ‘And that’s…,’ he said, pointing to the distended, sagging flesh.
Bohnan nodded with satisfaction, ‘Yes, that’s fat.’
‘Are all the humans that size?’ The Chossey’s eye was large and round.
‘No,’ said Bohnan, ‘these are just small ones. Mostly humans are bigger.’
The Chossey gasped as his mind played with the possibility of all the fuel that he’d be able to make.
‘How did you grow them to that size?’ he asked, shaking his head in amazement.
‘That’s the beauty of it. They do it all by themselves.’
Bohnan leaned back in his chair, folded his claws across his chest and smiled smugly.
The Chossey shook his head in awe, ‘Simply ingenious…’
Bohnan allowed himself the luxury of basking in the glory for several seconds, then abruptly, he scooped up the pile of Goron ducats, deposited them in a leather pouch, which he dropped with a jingle of coins into his coat pocket.
He offered the Chossey his paw, ‘Well, it’s not often you can say that you gave someone the World and really mean it.’
‘Sold someone the World, you mean.’
Bohnan shrugged. ‘I’d hate to delay you any longer. I expect you’re keen to investigate your new investment and start the squeezing. I’m quite keen to get away on holiday myself…’
‘Ah yes, you said you’d let me know about that prime piece of property…’
‘I’ll be in touch,’ said Bohnan curtly, herding the Chossey towards the door.
The escape plan had been conceived many months ago and by the time the Chossey realised that Bohnan wasn’t aboard the decoy vessel travelling to the Tyrraenic Empire, he would be safely speeding past Capella, towards the outer reaches of the Auriga Galaxy. Two million ducats would buy him anonymity and a life of unimaginable luxury. Goron currency was highly prized by Aurigans, who were renowned for minding their own business – especially when offered some loose change in recompense. Anyway, it would take the Chossey a while to discover that humans were not all as large as Bohnan had led him to believe. That is, if he managed to land at all. There’d been several attempts to colonise Earth and they’d all been met with ferocious resistance. Humans might be ugly, smooth-skinned creatures but they were vicious when roused.
Not my problem, thought Bohnan, as he set his course for the Aurigan Galaxy, both mouths whistling in harmony.
About the author
Dawn’s three previous books in the ‘Chronicles Chronicles’ series are ‘The Basilwade Chronicles’, ‘The Macaroon Chronicles’ and 'The Crispin Chronicles' published by Chapeltown Publishing.
You can follow her here on https://dawnknox.com
on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SunriseCalls
Amazon Author: http://mybook.to/DawnKnox
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