By Greg van Eekhout
Read by Ben Phillips (of Pseudopod)
Introduction by Ann Leckie
First appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction
“What’s that?” I ask.
His smile reveals several gold teeth. “Come from dragon turtle. You see giant dragon turtle wash up in San Diego? You see that on news?”
“I’m not really up on current events.” Especially not as regurgitated by state-controlled news organizations.
He nods enthusiastically and edges more powder into the envelope. “This come from San Diego dragon turtle. Wife’s younger brother, he lifeguard. He scrape some turtle shell before Hierarch’s men confiscate whole carcass.”
“What’s it for?” I ask, indicating the powder-filled envelope.
“All sorts of stuff. Rheumatism, kidney stones, migraine, epilepsy, bedroom problems … All sorts.”
“No, thanks,” I say as I try to shoulder my way back into the crowd.
“Get you girls,” he calls after me. “Make you animal! Guaranteed!”
Dragon turtle can’t do any of those things, of course. Not that it’s genuine turtle he’s selling. I figure it for flour and sulfur, with maybe the tiniest pinch of rhinoceros horn thrown in. You can’t even put a street value on the genuine stuff these days.
I know. I’ve experienced the genuine stuff. It’s in my bones.
Rated R. Contains yellowed bones and violence against children.
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