Cap had the orders in his hand. “Don’t eat the Romans. That’s what it says.”
“Don’t eat the Romans? That’s funny. Then, why are we here?” I had to ask.
“We are here on orders. Don’t eat the Romans. Do everything else but. Take samples. Herd them up. Put them on ice. Just don’t eat any. They probably kill you. We’re not here to hunt.”
“You’re no fun. We get more assignments like this the navy will have to redo their recruitment poster slogan, JOIN THE NAVY AND SEE THE GALAXY, TRAVEL TO FARAWAY, EXOTIC LANDS, MEET INTERESTING ALIENS AND EAT THEM, to what? Offer to exchange contact info? Make a date? Are we going soft, Sarge? Who’s running this show now?”
“Don’t eat them. That’s an order.”
“What if we get hungry?”
“Eat your own.”
“Bite your tongue.”
“That’s an order.”
“Roger that,” I said, turned and left Capt. Angst, my platoon commander, and returned to my post.
“Don’t eat them?” I heard the captain repeat under his breath, questioning the orders to himself as I left his office. The captain put his instructions from headquarters down on his desk. Maybe Romans are poisonous like certain kinds of mushrooms. Anyway, orders are orders. He had no idea.
Al Simmons lives in Alameda, California. His work has recently appeared in Forage, Your Impossible Voice, Echo Literary Review, Placeholder Magazine, Blue River Review, Ariel Chart, Peacock Review, Star 82 Review, Disappointed Housewife, Alcyone, a Magazine of Speculative Fiction, Writing Good Poetry Newsletter, Soft Cartel, Former People Journal, The Sum Journal, Rune Bear Magazine, and Genre: Urban Arts. See more at firstname.lastname@example.org.