Balancing the Budget

‘Ma’am?’

‘Yes, What is it?’ Queegella did not look up. It was the end of the tax year and her department’s budget for the next fiscal year needed finalising. She looked up now. Hellitron stood in the doorway. Maybe Queegella thought, there was a cost saving there in her doorway. She made a note.

‘Ma’am?’ he repeated.

‘This better be important, Hellitron.’

He swallowed, at least his left head did. His right head glanced nervously over his shoulder. ‘I… we think it is… important, that is.’

‘And?’ She tapped a claw on the desk. Hellitron was pretty, though, and she needed a new nest mate for the next breeding season. Maybe, there could be some leeway in the budget after all. She crossed out her previous note.

‘It is Experimental Batch XAWS213B.’

‘Again?’ She sighed. Experimental Batch XAWS213B was one of His pet projects. No matter what Queegella and the other department heads had said about the inadvisability of it, He’d insisted on going ahead.

‘Intelligent life,’ He’d beamed at all of them. All paying attention with both heads. After all, He was the boss.

‘Not again,’ Queegella had whispered to Juolaz sitting on her left. Juolaz winked back with the right eye of her right head. ‘Remember what happened last time?’

Juolaz had nodded both heads, turning them into nods of earnest enthusiastic approval as His gaze fell upon her.

Last time they’d sent a flood to wipe out the so-called ‘intelligent life’ that had infested Experimental Batch XAWS213B. But the wily buggers had built boats. Not only that they’d created a couple of new religions to explain the floods and how it was all some other tribe’s fault. Queegella had high hopes that the ensuing religious wars would solve the problem of intelligent life for her. But in the end they’ grown out of religious wars too.

‘They’ve invented space flight.’ Hellitron’s voice came from his right head as the left one adopted a look of outrage and concern.

Yes, Hellitron was excellent husband material. Maybe even as tasty as her last husband. Queegella licked all four lips, remembering the look on her last husband’s faces as she devoured him from the feet up, saving the best for last. She’d got a decent clutch of young off him too. Pity she’d had to eat him as they mated, but that was nature for you. She just wished that He would let nature take its course in the experiments rather than coming up with crazy ideas like intelligent life all the time.

‘That’s awkward,’ she said eventually.

‘What will happen when their space vehicles hit the sides of the experiment tank?’ Hellitron was nervous now, knowing why his superior was eying him like that. But he was male. It was his duty to breed and then be eaten by his mate. It was nature’s way.

‘We could try another flood?’

Queegella shook both her heads. ‘With the boats they have now? No chance. They’ve invented weather forecasts too. We’ll need something better than that.’ She curled a claw towards him, gesturing for him to come closer.

Hellitron hesitated in the doorway. One head smiled eagerly, knowing it was approaching mating season. The other searched for an exit.

‘There could always be an accident,’ Queegella said, one mandible of her left head nibbling along Hellitron’s thorax.

‘An.. an acc… accident, what do you mean?’ Hellitron’s papers fell from his claw spreading across the office floor.

‘Space flight is a risky business after all, remember what happened to experiment RWS124XC?’

‘I was a nestling back then.’ Hellitron shook his heads, sweat dripping down his body as he watched the razor sharp claws of his superior slowly reaching for those parts he would only use once in his life in the moments before his death. ‘I need to…’ he pointed with his claw. He gathered his papers from where they had spilled on the floor and ran for the door.

‘An accident? Good.’ Queegella smiled with both her heads. She made another note on her spreadsheet. Maybe a disaster in Experimental Batch XAWS213B that destroyed its whole tank was just what she needed to make her budget balance. She smiled from head to head again. It had been a good day at work, not only had she balanced her budget, she had also found herself her next husband… however temporary.

 

Published by David Hadley

A Bloke. Occasionally points at ducks.

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