The Starving Activist is the sometimes-home for words. AR Neal (that’s me) finds them, cultivates them, and leaves them here. Enjoy.

Grammar Ghoul Press Challenge #2: Innocence is Overrated

I told them it was a mistake, that I hadn't meant to land here; but before I could protest they made me their ruler, their king, their smile-and-wave-to-the-crowd-for-crying-out-loud-pope. Their teeth and claws drew fanatical blood: what's a guy to do but go along?It's been a week and a half since I landed. They won't let me off the throne except to go to the toilet and sleep. Even then they crowd me, these creatures, my subjects. They scratch and pull to get close to me, they touch me everywhere, exploring my body. I am not one of them and somehow that makes me closer to deity.My third day here, one of them brought me a history of their world. Remember that rocket from 20 years ago? The one with the two astronauts, and the mice, gerbils, and frogs that never came back--the one the news said blew up in space? It was a lie. They crashed here. My subjects are their descendants. It's like no genetics lesson you've ever had. I can't describe it.I was like a rock star the first week. I had played nice, had gone along; they were innocent little things, right?  It was all love, rapture, and worship. But then they wanted something from me, something I couldn't give. They wanted me to take them back to Earth, but there is protocol and regulations and besides, the rocket was busted--I thought I could repair it and I tried to tell them the rules and regulations and that I couldn't bring them back with me. They burned the rocket to the ground after that. That's what made me a little ... off, you know? That, and them. They smell--can you imagine it? Amphibious human rodents. They used to sit at the foot of this throne and worship me. They moaned and chanted. They grabbed at me and chewed at me until they drew blood to show their love.Yesterday I hit one of them. It was a light tap, you understand--just sent it sprawling across the floor. It shrieked and got up. But I couldn't sit here another moment like this, with the scratching and the biting and the watching. I couldn't stop. I started kicking and punching every one of the little parasites, but they kept coming, kept grabbing, kept clawing.I'd laugh if it wasn't so ... I don't even have a name for it. Or for them. In hindsight I guess the way they are is a matter of genetics. You throw a bunch of stuff in the blender and this is what you get. They didn't want to hurt me, maybe. I mean, maybe the way they are is the only way they know. Maybe the clawing and biting was innocent, really, like your new puppy. But my reaction changed things. I guess you reap what you sow.I don't know what they are going to do to me. They let me make this recording and promised they would send it. They want someone else to come. They want me to ask someone else to come. They're smiling at me right now because they know that word: come. But please don't do it. These things can't be allowed to get to Earth. I'm glad now that they burnt the rocket down but next time they might try to fly it. And they'll crash, but they'll learn from it and the time after that, they might get it to fly. Please tell my family I love them. And if one day you feel a tug at your trouser leg and there's something that looks like a frog-man-rat hybrid at your feet, kill it.


I was writing a friend just yesterday and mentioned that I wasn't writing for prompts other than the Scribe's Cave Picture Prompts lately, but how could I not participate in a community called Grammar Ghoul Press?! I just discovered them; I think the Detectives would be pleased. I offer the 609-word (or 618, if you prefer to believe Word over WordPress) piece above for the second writing challenge. Click on Pope Innocent and his throne or the Ghoul Baby below to visit the page and link up.

WIP Update: When the Subject Gets Tough

WIP Update: Feast or...What?