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Brazen Hearts, Fresh, On Sticks: Chapter One

Chick Lit takes a critical hit. Josie is your typical young goblin, selling freshly grilled human hearts outside the mall, trying to survive her ruthless family, and pining after that dreamy hobgoblin who just stomped into town. Each week (ha) in this podcast, she describes part of her story to you, another human whose heart she will soon be selling on a stick.

Click here to listen to Chapter One. To subscribe to the podcast of Brazen Hearts, Fresh, On Sticks, listen in streaming or other formats, or to read more about it, point your typewriter to:

* Due to differences in language, culture and the range of frequencies audible to goblin ears, some "romance" content may not be accessible to humans.

So far I don't see anyone on Oort-Cloud mentioning podcasts, but it seems like they're fairly open to pushing the genre, so maybe they're open to formats other than text. In case you prefer text, I'm posting the script below, but the it seems kind of flat compared with the recording.

Brazen Hearts, Fresh, on Sticks
Chapter One

Hi, my name's Josie. Of the clan SKEK urn geg OSH urrgke! ke ke! You've probably seen me around the West Side mall, or in the courtyard. Because I'm a heart-monger? So you’ve probably heard me yelling, "BRAZEN HEARTS! FRESH! ON STICKS!"

No, I suppose you wouldn't have seen me around, because if anyone had recognized a human around there, they would have torn you apart. Well, you must have met my dad or my uncles. They harvest free-range humans. Uh, they make raids into human settlements. Or you might have seen their corporate logo on the flag before they brought it down on your head, the SKEK urn geg OSH urrgke! ke ke! Brothers Carnage Distributors LTD?

I don't know why I'm telling you all this when you're gonna be all, probably not all ground up, they'll harvest the valuable sweetmeats and drumsticks. And we'll grill your heart if it's big enough, but most of the rest, you know, it's easiest to just grind the arms and bones and torso.

I'll let you in on a little trade secret: we advertise "brazen hearts, fresh, on sticks" but, you know, they're fresh and on sticks, how can we really confirm which ones are most brazen? Plus my uncle Ginchy thought "brazen" meant they were cooked on a brazier. It works, people still want to buy brazen hearts.

People think brazen like feisty. If it's a cowering animal, uhhh, I'm not even sure what you people eat, what, dwarves or something? Like if someone said, "Here, here's a dwarf hand and he was all cryin’ and whining when we cut it off him?" You'd say, "This doesn't appeal to me."

But like if it was a fist, maybe he had an axe in his hand when we cut it off him, you'd know he was fiesty, plenty of blood running through this fist, it's not going to be deprived of oxygen or orgone or the lesser humors, whatever. People just think it tastes better. You want boring hearts? Old, wimpy hearts? This guy died of a heart attack? No, you want it on a battlefield, you know, torn still bleeding from a warrior king, you know.

Anyway, I'm sure we'll find uses for all your parts, don't worry about it. But I gotta tell you about this, uh, in the courtyard this afternoon, you wouldn't believe the tusks on this bastard. I know there's stigma between goblins that hook up with hobgoblins, but I feel safe telling you this. Because I know you're going to be eaten piece by piece. But I mean you never see the smaller beings, the ones that use bones for tools and whatnot, the hill people, you never see them with an axe or a pick where a goblin tooth tied to it is the main focus of the weapon. I mean the longest you see is what, three inches long? You see them poking out of clubs, but it's more like a little spike, like I said, not the main focus. But with hobgoblin tusks, they get four, five, six inches. I seen a guy with an eight inch tusk that grew back in towards his eyesocket, he had to get it filed down every so often. That's the kind of thing that humans are proud to use in headdresses or necklaces or just the whole weapon is one of those tusks tied to a stick, now you got yourself a weapon.

But this hobgoblin I saw today was stompin’ into the courtyard. He had an entourage of like... Well, he had one guy, he had kind of a troglodyte squire and this uh... talking llama with fangs. Which, I'm not sure if it's a llama or alpaca, but uh. It was really big enough to be his steed. So I'm thinking it was part of the entourage, I mean the thing was talking back to him. He paid more attention to the llama than he did to the troglodyte.

Aaaaanyway, so I was all, "Good morn, Sire! Would you like a brazen heart? Fresh. On a stick!"

He had some foamy drool on the edge of his one jowl. He looked at me while he was doing this which, I mean, I was, mm mmm mm. He was wiping it off with his hand, looking at me, and then he wiped it down the front of my tunic.

Which, you know, in our culture, it's kind of, I liked it but it's not really the way. I'm not sure how things are supposed to go with humans, how potential mates confirm interest in each other. Goblinoid culture, you really want to get him to spit directly on you or bite you. It's really more of an insult to wipe your sputum on somebody. I mean I kind of took it like, um, there's spit involved, and... it's coming toward me. And he put it there very knowingly. So to me that's as good as if he had propelled it through the air onto me. But technically it's not something like, traditionalists like some of my surviving aunts would not have taken it to mean that they had been accepted into his hearth or that they should start knitting booties or anything. I'm a romantic, so I took it as an indication that he wanted me.

Anyway, so this troglodyte that came along behind him pushed me down and started clawing through my basket of hearts. I fought him back as part of the negotiating process, you know. Making an offer shows that you're weak, you don't have the courage to take things you want, so the usual process is one beast shows his interest in a product by attacking or taking the product. Seller counters this by taking as much of the customer's possessions or coins as possible, you basically have a duel, and if all goes well, the customer and seller both survive with the product they wanted and the best price that could be gotten for it.

So anyhow, I ended up stabbing him in the forearm and getting four bucks out of his shirt pocket before he got away from me, and he managed to take two hearts on sticks.

I asked him what the big guy's name was, but I don't get troglodyte language at all. He was just bluhluhluhbluhblblbl. Made some noise. You know... FOREIGNERS! God!

But anyway, the alpaca, I'm still not sure, he introduced himself. His name was Brett, this speaking quadruped, whatever he was, llama, alpaca, whatever. Brett told me the master's name was Sre (h)Aaaagg. Um, and he talked normal like this the rest of the time, Brett did, so I assume when he threw it out like that like "Sre (h)Aaaagg," that was the accurate pronunciation of the hobgoblin's name.

Anyway, so uh, I'm kind of, I'm restrained. I'm a little more, I'm shy, you know, I don't pursue it the way some ladies do. It's why I don't mate as often as the rest of the girls. I try to go through the motions but, without, you know, I don't want to be forward about it. You know, you're supposed to rip his pants off or pull his tunic up over his head so he can't see and so it traps his arms, humans do that too, don't they, when hockey players are trying to mate? Then if you get his interest enough, it's gonna happen.

But I'm more…. Dad claims that my mother was human. It's just an insult. I'm not sure if it's true or not. Was it, I can't remember if it was uncle Phil? I don't know, somebody consumed her at some point after I was born. It was a rough couple of decades at Thanksgiving when the family got together, you know, "Hi Ginchy, Hi K-rock, Hi Phil, thanks for devouring my mate Phil." But they patched things up. They had to see each other every day at work, so you get over it.

Naturally anytime I do anything unusual or disobey the clan or the traditions, they want to say it's because I'm half-human. So I don't know if that explains my shyness or if it's the way I was raised. Dad wasn't a great explainer about dating or menses or stuff like that. He'll tell you all about field-dressing a long-pig, the right mix for brine when you need pickled hogfarmers feet. Not so much with the lady-stuff.

So I don't go for that, I'm more reserved. I tried pronouncing his name.
"Sre (h)Aaaagg, Sre (h)Aaaagg," and um. Undoing his belt-buckle, loosening his belt. And he coughed on me, which was great. For a minute I thought he was spitting on me, some came out, you know, and got me on the ear, um. Oh and it was soooo warm.

But then he backhanded me with the same hand that he had wiped the drool off, and I was out like a lamp. I was laying in a heap against the wall of the courtyard when I woke up. I kind of checked my tunic and breeches, but they weren't torn. I wasn't sore so I don't think he was in the mood to mate after he knocked me out. HOWEVER, there was a dirty rag on top of my basket of hearts. He had left me alive, PLUS he had covered up my hearts so they wouldn't get too many flies, PLUS he didn't steal any of the hearts.

I think he likes me.

… Aaaaaaanyways. Thanks for listening to me. Your head is pretty good size, so we might get a better price for that raw and separate than if we ground it into the hume-burger. Tell you what I'll do, I'm going to pray to my grandmothers, I like to include all of them even if some of them are human, and I'll ask them to catch your soul when it crosses over, and try to force it into the body of some other human in your same old settlement, like maybe one of your siblings or cousins. Then when we catch that body in raids next week, I can tell you more about how things are progressing between me and Sre (h)Aaaagg.

Ready? Here it comes. Kiss kiss. [Grinding, sawing, tearing sound effect.]

End of Chapter One.

Copyright (c) 2006 by Rob Northrup, some rights reserved.
Chapters of Brazen Hearts, Fresh, On Sticks are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

kelson.philo's picture

This is really quite, quite

This is really quite, quite funny. I need to read the rest! A most interesting take on the lifestyles of modern monsters. “Free Range Human’s” simply, ah, slays me.

You have a fresh and

You have a fresh and interesting style. I would like to read more. And yup, I'm one of those text preferers. Dunno what it is - even if the vocal talent delivering a story is phenomenal, I still always prefer intaking a story in good old fashioned written alphanumerics (William S. Burroughs when he teamed up with The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy [specifically the Danny the Car Wiper story] is the only exception I can think of).