As they say, “the first quadrillion is the hardest.” Although, I don’t agree. It’s my experience that the first quadrillion is the softest. It’s so soft in fact that it will flow right through your fingers like a handful of O2. None-the-less, you want to become a quadrillionare, so here’s my advice.
The most important advice that I can give is this: never go anywhere in the galaxy without your own condiments. This cannot be stressed enough. Do not under any circumstance travel without a deluxe assortment of sauces and spices. I maintain a swank supply that I keep on my person at all times. It has a decent selection, but a few of my favorites are ground pepper made from Toonisian fire grubs, blue salts from the mines of Sparsog, and a fish oil sauce called froop, whose recipe is still unknown even though a research facility that covers one of the entire moons of Lystra has been devoted to discovering its secret ingredient. There are no exceptions to this rule; always carry your own condiments.
Once you’ve acquired a set of condiments your next step is to find a ship. I have a suggestion from my own wealth of experience. Don’t buy a Safron Class Star Cruiser. The commercials make it look perfect, but it’s not. The cabin space is about as ample as a troludide’s belly button cavity. If you’ve never seen a troludide, maybe this will help. Imagine eating, sleeping, piloting, and relieving yourself in a living space no bigger than a size medium t-shirt.
What’s worse, the Safron that I bought leaked sealant fluid constantly. My O2 costs were ridiculous. I wonder what that misty stream of foggy stuff is that is venting off into space, I would wonder. Oh, nothing. It’s just your air supply, which is the only thing that stands between you and a blood boiling, eye popping dose of death galore. Space is like the rest-stop stranger with unwashed hands who is waiting to do unspeakable things to your breathless body. With every second that my precious oxygen leaked from my Safron into the economic wasteland of outerspace, I imagined that gritty fingernailed stranger leaning in for a smooch.
It’s almost impossible to get the air mixture right in a leaky Safron. The first nine months of my Galactic Career I felt loopy from lack of oxygen. It got so bad once that I spent forty six hours contemplating the deeper meaning of the word “pancake.” All of my communications logs for those two weeks were filled with slurred speech and cross-eyed babblings about the value of maple syrup.
So, don’t get a Safron Class Cruiser. It’s a total piece of junk. If you’re really going to compete in the galactic market you need something like a Zion 4, or a Transient Mark III, or my favorite, a Nebula Star Juicer. I know, it’s a silly name but it’s well worth the twenty one billion. They’re fast, decent gas mileage, but most of all they’re sexy. Even the notoriously asexual turd beetles of Kidron 5 would get aroused in the presence of a Nebula Star Juicer.
My first experience with a Nebula revealed how much I needed to own one. I was looking for investors for a building project on a little world in the Anxtron Cluster. Anxtron 4 was a real sweaty armpit of a place. The humidity was so high that a nasty form of green algae grew floating right in moist mid-air. The place constantly had the smell of wet space boots.
Second only to the smell was the emerald green tint that the algae gave the atmosphere. It’s hard to get used to a sky whose color is that of stagnant pond water. Even a one hour visit meant you had to have your lungs sterilized. Otherwise you run the risk of growing Frazillion algae worms in your bronchial passageways. Frazillion worms can putrify your entire chest cavity within a matter of days. So other than those few drawback, Anxtron 4 was a lovely place.
I would have loved to do my first commercial building project in more prime real estate. Anxtron 4 was not ideal, but building permits were absolutely free. That’s the exact kind of open door policy that attracts a businessman of my caliber. As far as I was concerned, that meant conditions were perfect.
I had no working capital but I needed to get the ball rolling. It took hundreds of calls to find anyone that would even meet with me. I was a nobody trying to sell a building project on the green stinky end of the galaxy. After about three weeks of working the com-lines, I finally found a group of potential investors.
They were from Drogspunge, a little world on the edge of a blue giant star system. Now you need to know a little about Drogspunge to understand these guys. For any humanoid world with reasonable evolutionary development, I can almost guarantee you haven’t ever seen anything like a Drogspungeon.
Maybe a little background would help. About a century ago the administration of The First Citizens Interstellar Bank was looking for a location for a corporate retreat. FCI Bank, like most, was interested in the cheapest option available. The Bank President at the time, Calsedon Ander Coggins IV, was talked into doing their yearly convention on a newly discovered planet called Drogspunge.
Over a hundred tellers, accountants, and loan officers piled into fifteen transports headed for the unheard of location, then thought to not be inhabited by sentient life. The weekend retreat was billed as a time to recharge and hone business banking skills.
The convention’s keynote speaker suggested that each attendee practice their sales pitches during the intermission. He advised that everyone rehearse on anything nearby, inanimate or otherwise. The practice was intended to help the bankers become comfortable with the sales process.
One unremarkable loan officer named Bufford T. Hollowbody was sitting outside eating a tubular fish sandwich. The intermission was almost done so he decided to practice a quick sales pitch before skipping back into the convention hall. There happened to be a large slimy slug inching by at that exact moment. Bufford engaged the unthinking slug in conversation.
“Might I interest you in a business loan with only a ninety-eight point seven percent interest rate?” Bufford practiced. He expected no response from the gastropod mollusk. He was about to continue.
“I’ll take it!” the Drogspungeon slug said. To Bufford’s extreme surprise not only could the giant slug speak, but he accepted an extremely exorbitant interest rate. After getting over the shock of a talking slug, Bufford had the Drogspungeon sign the papers, which made a terrible slimy mess.
Before long every teller, loan officer, and bank branch president had talked a whole host of Drogspungeons into uncommonly high loan terms. Drogspunge had an immediate boost in business capital. As a side note, Drogspungeons were so enamored by what they later learned to be “business attire” that they made the three piece suit the official apparel of the entire planet.
Much of the galaxy is populated by humanoid life, so Drogspunge has never been a popular tourist destination. Since the recognition of Drogspungeon Sentience by The Galactic Council For The Recognition And Classification Of Sentient Life (also known as TGCFTRACOSL)only a total of seventeen visitors have ever vacationed on Drogspunge.
In an attempt to increase visitation the Drogspungeon Visitor Bureau lobbied to have a new law put in place. As a result, the law now states, “Native Drogspungeons must lick equally, and generously trade mucus with all off-world visitors regardless of their race, nationality, or mood. It shall be unlawful for any Drogspungeon to refrain from skin tasting any visitor.”
It was thought that this new “equal tasting” law would show the rest of the galaxy how accepting the Drogspungeons were of other cultures. The Drogspungeon visitor bureau published this new law in a brochure called, Come Let Us Taste You, which was sent all over the galaxy. However, it functionally brought tourism revenue to zero, where it has stayed for a number of years.
So, back to my story. The only meeting I could get was with a triad of suited slugs. They weren’t my first choice, but I probably wasn’t theirs, either. Most of the galaxy wouldn’t associate with Drogspungeons on account of their customary greeting method, which involved a round of what could only be described as body rubbing and snot tasting.
I would have preferred investors who were a little more man shaped, but I wasn’t in a position to be choosy. At least they dressed nice. I convinced my potential investors to come see the building progress on Anxtron 4. That was a risky move considering the building project hadn’t started yet.
Here’s where the ship comes in. I rented a Nebula Star Juicer for a week. This on its own was money I couldn’t afford to spend. I had to rent it on credit, which was a risk unto itself.
I loaded these three dudes, in suits and ties in my rented Nebula. It was early in the day, but slime was already soaking through their suit jackets. I could see three distinct trails of snotty slime following their every move. I hoped that the mucus would come out of the upholstery.
Drogspungeons are extremely competitive. Although, you have to know what to look for. They licked each other the entire trip. I’m told it is a sign of supremacy to lick an opponent and have them not lick back. Since their entire bodies look like giant mucus covered tongues, it looked more like a full body make out session. Apparently it is a televised sport on their home planet. It’s broadcast all over the galaxy, but the ratings are always a little lacking. The Drogspungeons never seem quite satisfied with the sport broadcast’s tepid off-world reviews.
Although it was nasty, it’s exactly what I wanted. I needed to build tension and rivalry between these three slimers. They were playing right into my hands, but it was clear I would have to wash my hands when this was all over.
Now, remember, no work had begun because I had no money to start it. That didn’t mean I didn’t have a plan. It’s all about appearances. I had called a contractor on Anxtron 4 about a week earlier. The conversation went something like this.
“Hey, I need to hire some bulldozers.”
“Ok, what kind of work do you need us to do?” the guy asked.
“None, I just need you to push some dirt around for a little while at such and such a location.” There was a long pause as the guy tried to understand what I was asking.
“You just want us to push some dirt around?”
“Yeah, I just need you to look like you’re doing something when I show up with my investors. I’ll bring them in, walk them around, bark some orders, then we will be off,” I explained. I could tell the guy thought it was strange.
“Ok, we can do that,” he finally said.
“Oh, and one more thing,” I added. “It’s not my land. I mean it will be, but it’s not yet so don’t post the work site on your logs.” This took some real convincing because I was technically asking him to break the law. I promised him payment on completion, which was another risk I shouldn’t be taking. If I didn’t convince the investors, I wouldn’t have the money.
So we landed on Anxtron 4 in the designated location. We touched down right in the middle of the work, if you could call it that. It was perfect. There were bulldozers, backhoes, hovergrinders, you name it. It really looked like something was happening.
I had a bottle of wine, and imported calibra eggs from Estro 6. I didn’t know if the calibra were supposed to be squirming around, but the Drogspungeons didn’t seem to mind. In fact, they were delighted. Since Drogspungeons don’t have internal digestive systems they have to dissolve and absorb their food through their mucus glands. They poured the wine over their slimy bodies, and stuck globs of calibra eggs to their skin.
I showed them around as the calibra slowly dissolved into gelatinous bubbles and were sucked in through their exodermal layer. I even stopped one of the bulldozer workers to gesture and give demonstrative instructions. I couldn’t tell if the investors were impressed because I was unsure of the location of their faces. Still, I cast the vision as dynamically as I could.
“See gentlemen, we are already moving forward on this. I have a line of interested investors as long as my arm. I’d love to work with you three, but we need to move quick, because there are others ready to jump on the opportunity.” It was a total lie, but I was going for broke. Actually I was already broke and I was probably going for dead. If they didn’t take the bait, that is exactly what I’d be.
I could tell as I flew them back to their planet, I had them on the line. They were excited about an off-world project. very few Drogspungeons ever get such an invite. It was clear as they ramped up round two of the lick-fest and by the new heightened level of snotty discharge, that they were excited to be part of it. I was only too excited to take their money.
It’s weird what a hand full of cash will do to a man. I found that it gave me a million and one ideas. I began to make all kinds of plans. It just so happened that I no longer had much interest in the building project on Anxtron 4. I was more interested in putting the Drogspungeon’s money to use on more personal endeavours. Needless to say, I decided to steer clear of the Anxtron Cluster or Drogspunge. It didn’t take long for me to be labeled an outlaw in that sector.
Now, back to the business at hand. You want to become a quadrillionare. Let’s assume you have your condiments, and your ship. This brings me to my next point. Never spend your own money when you can spend someone else’s. There are a few reasons for this. If you spend other people’s money, there is an almost limitless supply of capital. I’ll give you an example.
So there I was, broke and floating aimlessly through the dark depths of space. This was about five years after my little con in the Anxtron Cluster. I had done a string of good jobs, badly. There had been some close calls, but this particular trip was proving to be the worst. It was a long haul run down the galactic corridor. I miscalculated and ran out of fuel right before the IG-54 course correction. If you don’t know the turn I’ll fill you in.
You’re supposed to bear twelve degrees off X axis at exactly twenty four thousand clicks from Oddsidion, the closest star. Oddsidion is a yellow dwarf, with two massive gas giants for kids. At the time of year I was barreling through that sector they were both on my star-side. I ran out of fuel just in time for an unfortunate meeting with one of the twin giants. I was falling, and speeding up fast.
It wasn’t long before I was headed right for the biggest gas giant you’ve ever seen. All I could do is watch as it swelled bigger and bigger. It had a bright purple hue and before long it filled my entire fore window. I had charted the impact and knew that within fifteen minutes I would be dead. I always expected my last few minutes of life to be poetic and meaningful. However, all I could do was sit and stare. The enormous purple orb was the only thing I could see as my ship began to skim against the upper wisps of the planet’s atmosphere. That’s when I saw it.
Coming over the horizon of the planet like a shooting star was this weird oblong ship that was shaped something like a wart riddled foot. It left a greasy wake of black smoke behind it as it fired its thrusters. It was coming right at me. A glimmer of hope began to send little shafts of light across my dismal situation.
I had never seen a ship like it before. It looked like it was made entirely of spare parts. What was even stranger was that the thrusters seemed to be chemical rockets. Only vintage hotrods still used chemical rockets, I thought, but this was no hotrod. It came screaming across my bow leaving a dark trail that dissipated in the thin atmosphere of the planet. It circled my ship a number of times before anything happened.
I was fairly new to galactic travel at the time. I had heard the stories of interstellar buccaneers but I had never expected to see them this close to the galactic corridor. An ad hoc ship built from scratch can mean one of two things. Tinkering gypsies sometimes had throw together vessels. Gypsies were hard bargainers and couldn’t be trusted, but generally were harmless.
The other option was that pirating scavengers had picked up my distress signal. If that was the case, I’d consider it a good day if they filed the serial number off my ship and marooned me on a deserted planet. It was much more likely that I would wind up dead. Considering the odds of surviving a collision with that purple gas giant, I was ok with pirates. The options had me worried, but I was just happy to see someone with means of rescue. Space pirates are more scavengers than anything else, I told myself.
By that time I had acquired a Nebula Star Juicer of my own. The Anxtron job afforded me that luxury. I had it painted a beautiful red. It probably looked like a gem stone floating there in space. I felt a jolt and a tug. It had to be a tether. The ship moaned as they began to tow me away from the deadly gas giant. I could feel the gravity pulling at every inch of my body. I felt like I was going to vomit from the G-force.
As the planet shrunk below us, I tried to open com with them. They apparently weren’t feeling very talkative. After about ten attempts I resigned myself to the mystery and sat back in my chair. My stomach had calmed, and I was feeling pretty happy to be alive.
They towed me to this rickety looking station on the back side of the star. I wouldn’t have been surprised if it was powered by diesel combustion, or some ancient thing like that. Now this was the point that I was starting to get a little uncomfortable with the new arrangement. It wasn’t looking like gypsies.
I gathered that these guys were not out to make new friends when, instead of knocking on the hatch like I expected, they took a cutting torch to the hull. That’s right, a liquid plasma cutting torch. I threw my vacuum gear and rebreather on as quick as possible. I didn’t want to get caught with my pants down, if you know what I mean.
I didn’t have many options. I considered trying to fight them off. However, I was pretty sure that they would blow a hole in my hull so big they could fit a Larishian bloat whale through. The fact that they were going at my ship as if it were the last can of sardines in the galaxy cast serious doubt on their powers of diplomacy. I had to think quick. I grabbed a marker and a piece of scrap cardboard from an old carton of eggs, and began to pen a sign. I was betting everything on my penmanship.
Pirates have very few redeeming qualities, but they have at least one predictable attribute. No matter how much money they have, they always want more. If it’s shiny, they want it. If there’s filthy fun to be had, they’ll have it. If it squeals when you skewer it, they will skewer it. It’s why they’re pirates.
They finally melted through the door like it was warm butter. They made a huge mess of it. The atmosphere, which wasn’t cheap, was gushing out the new jagged hole they had cut in my ship. I had to stay focused though. I knew if I made one wrong move, I was a goner.
Three vacuum suited dudes stepped onto my vessel with guns in hand. They could have been worker droids for all I could tell. Their vac-suits looked like they had been made out of beer cans. I was shaking and found it hard to stand in the rushing air. Both my hands were in the air, and in my right I held the sign that I had made. It read as follows:
“I am very rich. Will trade my money for my life.”
It was as good of a plan as I could come up with in the amount of time I had. It didn’t seem to matter at the moment that the sign wasn’t exactly true. I wasn’t rich, not hardly. However, I had access to a whole heap of cash. It just happened to be cash that I didn’t own.
I had left the construction market after I fled from Anxtron 4. So for a few years I had been working as a cargo courier. I wasn’t one of those slimy, take-any-job-you-can-get kind of haulers. I carried high end stuff. I hauled only premium manure.
It was a special blend of crap that growers from all over the local star systems would pay top-credit for. Apparently fertilizer was in high demand. As I told my clients, “I don’t take crap from just anybody. I only take the best.” It was a silly slogan but it got a laugh every time.
The point is, I had finally turned over a new leaf. I had built a relationship of trust with my clients. I had all but two of them on retainer. Retainer is the holy grail of cargo work. I had fought hard to keep my con on Anxtron under raps, had spent years growing my reputation, and now I was glad I had.
In the long haul courier game, time is money. It’s much more efficient for a client to pay expenses directly, than for me to keep track of receipts and expense them back. As a result, I happened to have access to twelve different expense accounts from a whole range of clients. They were intended primarily to pay fuel costs, but at the moment those twelve expense accounts were about to come in very handy.
The biggest pirate stepped in close and ripped the sign from my hand. I’m pretty sure he couldn’t read, because he handed it to thug number two. Thug number two showed it to thug number three and they both smiled. I knew in that second that I had them on the line.
You’d think they would have treated me like the meal ticket I was. After dragging me aboard their dumptruck of a space station, they interrogated me for a few hours. If you’ve never been interrogated by space scavenging pirates, I highly recommend experiencing it at least once in your life. It gives perspective for everything else that ever happens to you.
Knowing that I survived a space pirate interrogation, I am confident that I could face anything. Even the ravaging symptoms of the Molthusian Intestinal Gopher hold only a fraction of the kind of fear of those three hours did. In fact I would gladly invite a host of small rodents to take up residence in my bowels, if it meant I never had to see another pirate again. Just don’t ever make me spend another second in a dim room with Traul, Bossion, and Lammie. Even their names sounded piratey. The interrogation went something like this.
“Where da money?” Traul said.
“I don’t have it here; it’s in a number of accounts.”
CRACK. Lammie or Bossion would hit me before I could finish. Any word that was unfamiliar would warrant a solid punch in the mouth.
“Don’t be talkin dat fancy talk,” Bossion said.
“Please gentlemen, be reasonable.”
“I tink he gots it hid up his rumpus,” Traul said.
“I assure you, there is nothing that you want hidden in my anus.”
It took hours to explain that I didn’t have the money on board. At one point they all three left me for about an hour to search my ship. Boy, were they disappointed when they cracked open my cargo bay and found nothing but a mountain of crates full of steamy cow dung.
“Why you carry all dat skat?” Traul asked when they returned. It wasn’t aggressive, he was genuinely curious. I tried to keep my response to the simplest explanation.
“I’m a courier for-”
“Der he goes again, talkin that fancy talk.”
It went on like this for hours. Finally I convinced them we would have to take a trip. I don’t know if they ever understood the greater concepts at play, but they at least were able to grasp the basics.
“So, you mean da money isn’t here?” Lamie said, finally seeming to understand.
I actually had no idea how much could be drawn from the twelve expense accounts that I had access to, but I was pretty sure it was more than my ship was worth in scrap.
They kept me tied up but dragged me to their ship. I had explained that we had to fly to the nearest “civilized world” so that we could make the transaction. I don’t know how many times they hit me, but my jaw hurt for weeks after that little encounter. It still clicks a little when I open it too wide. Maybe they had forgotten that they were winning, because they still continued to punch me every so often.
“Anxtron Cluster,” I heard the pilot say. Now that was ironic. I had done some work there, but it had gone bad. To be totally accurate the reason it had gone bad, was because I had not done the work. I was sure I still had some enemies there.
“Which planet?” one of the pirates asked.
Don’t say Anxtron 4, I thought. It was 4 that I had hired all those bulldozers. I had conned the Drogspungeons. I owed so much money to the Commonwealth of Anxtron 4 that I was as good as dead. I had an arrest warrant outstanding.
“Anxtron 4,” the pilot shouted back. Well, the day wasn’t turning out any better. How uncanny that Anxtron 4 was the closest planet, although I’d hardly call it civilized.
I’m sure, as soon as we touched down, the authorities were notified of my arrival. Fortunately for the pirates, and unfortunately for me the so-called authorities were as slow as the Snail Men of Capfron Minor. I wasn’t sure which would be worse, the police fulfilling their arrest warrant, or these goons clearing out my clients’ expense accounts.
All in all, it turned out to be a really exciting day. We found a nice little banking establishment. I’m sure the tiny wrinkled lady behind the counter was the one that finally hit the silent alarm. In all I handed over about seventeen trillion credits, before the pirates sniffed out trouble.
“Da fuzz,” Traul said. The three creeps waddled out the door and ran for it. They didn’t even bother to take me as a hostage. I could hear the sheriff siren in the distance. His cruiser was bearing down on me.
So, I was a free man, for forty eight seconds. That was exactly how long it took the local law enforcement to park, greet the little old lady, put me in handcuffs, and inject me with some sedative.
Now, let’s review. Carry condiments. Acquire a ship. Spend other’s money. The next most important tip is, take free rides whenever offered. I was offered a free ride that I absolutely could not refuse. Here’s what happened.
I had never had a chance to spend much time on Drogspunge. So it was a lucky break that I got a free ride there. The pirates made off with the loot and my Nebula Star Juicer. I was left with a mountain of debt, and a price on my head. How did I get a free ride, you may ask.
I was extradited there. Although I was a criminal on Anxtron 4, Drogspunge had priority because technically I had committed investment fraud there first. My Drongspunge investors had apparently filed an indictment against me. I had an all expenses paid trip to the slug world.
After a lengthy flight in a cramped little ship I was deposited unceremoniously on the steps of some drab looking building. All the buildings on Drogspunge look like they have been constructed out of petrified vomit. I was brought into a room and made to stand in a line with five other Drogspungeons. The smell was like a mix of rotting oatmeal and jock strap. I don’t mean to sound calloused here, but all Drogspungeons look alike to me. The ones lined up next to me didn’t have any clothes on.
A minute or two later three slugs in suits and one in uniform walked in through the gnawed passageway that passed for a door. I was number four in line. The suited gastropods started at the end of the line. The slimmers in business attire circled around the first suspect and did a gang-bang style licking. A frantic orgy of mucus tasting continued for about thirty seconds or so. After the mayhem died down one of the slugs spoke.
“Nope, that’s not him,” one of the suits said. They moved on to the second suspect and started the slimy ritual all over again. This time it lasted longer. I could hear the juicy smack as their snotty skin rubbed feverishly along each other. Long tendrils of sticky discharge stretched out between the slugmen as they moved apart.
“He doesn’t seem familiar,” a different suited mollusk said. They began to move my direction. I had never imagined a police line up could be so sticky. At this point, I was in a real, “don’t touch me” mood. I had run out of gas, been robbed by pirates, extradited by slugs. It was shaping up to be a bad day.
I thought it might even rival the intergalactically recognized worst day ever, made popular by a non-fiction book called Frosbarn’s Afternoon Stroll. The Interstellar Library had fifty six volumes on that single incident. Allegedly, Todd Frosbarn, an office appliance repairman, was out for an early evening walk when he was picked up by a whole flock of Toonisian Donkey Hawks. They carried him to a high precipice, where they spent the better part of the night cramming chewed bits of Toonisian fire grubs down his throat. He survived the night, but his resulting acid reflux became so bad that he had to eat a quarter pound of chalk resin every night for the rest of his life.
I was having the kind of day that even Todd Frosbarn could appreciate. It was my turn to be licked and I was really starting to perspire. I wonder what the salt in my sweat would do to these slugs. Maybe I should sweat some more, I thought. The three suits were moving my way. That’s when it hit me. It wasn’t much, but it just might work.
As the group began to tongue the next slug in the lineup, I reached into my jacket pocket. Do you remember what my first bit of advice was? Always carry your own condiments. I opened the little leather carrying case and thumbed through my collection. I wasn’t sure if it would work, but it was the only plan I had.
“That’s not him either,” one of the slugs said. They slid down the line and squared off with me. My skin was already starting to tingle, and my eyes felt like they were on fire. I hoped my little plan would work.
The first Drogspungeon leaned in and began to caress my face with his body length tongue. It felt like being enveloped in a snot saturated blanket. I felt another start licking me from the back. I was being sandwiched between the two mucus sponges when the third joined in. I could feel the slippery stickiness of the third working his way up my arm. The whole affair only lasted a few seconds but it was an experience I’ll never forget.
It might have lasted longer if I hadn’t covered my sweaty body in Toonisian fire grub pepper, and blue salt from the mines of Sparsog. The three suited gastropods recoiled at my flavor. Now you have to understand that Toonisian fire grub pepper is known to be the hottest ground condiment in the known galaxy. One pinch can turn even the most experienced of stomach linings into tattered shreds. One of the reasons it’s so effective is because it calcifies the bodies natural defense against spices, which is mucus.
The three suited slugs could immediately feel the effects of the Toonisian powder. Their soft hydrostatic dermis began to harden within seconds. It wouldn’t be fatal, but they would think twice before laying a tongue on me again. They wouldn’t be able to taste straight for at least a week.
“It burns,” one of my accusers said. The others agreed, as they sulked off. I was held in custody for another two days. Eventually I was informed that my accusers had dropped all charges. The Drogspungeon judicial system required positive flavor identification. Word spread quickly through Drogspunge. I was given the name Fire Skin.
The rumors were inflated of course. In one version, I had killed an entire regiment of military slugs with the discharge of my bilateral mucus glands. It played in my favor though. Not even the law enforcement would get near me when I was released.
It was part of Drogspunge’s foreign policy that everyone was welcome. Under their own law they could not refuse to lick me. However, I had not experienced a licking since my former investors had a taste. The Drogspunge Visitor Bureau insisted that the government could not banish me because of the hit that Drogspungeon tourism would take from the bad press.
The Drogspungeon judicial system brought up that their equal tasting law allowed no citizen of Drogspunge to refuse a lick. This caused such an uproar that it threatened to tear the entire planet into two factions.
There was an entire propaganda campaign that followed my release. I didn’t want to be on Drogspunge any more than they wanted me there. I just didn’t have a ship. I had become such a folk villain that there are probably still horror stories told to young slugs about the legend of Fire Skin.
In the end, it was an organization called, Mothers Against Unprotected Tasting that figured out the best solution. They took up a planet wide collection. They went door to door discussing the dilemma that the planet was facing. When the collection was made, they offered me 1.3 quadrillion galactic credits to leave their planet. Of course I took the collection, bought a ship, not a Safron, and left Drogspunge in my dust.
So no matter what, always carry your own condiments.