Some of my best stories start with a title. R.J. Blain once dared me to write a story titled Faceplanting is Always an Option (we were talking about NaNoWriMo a couple of years ago) and more recently the line The Squirrels Are Back in the Attic from a television commercial inspired another story.
Taco Tuesday had to be a story. I mulled it over for a long time before writing it, including the concept of the Tako Taco, which is a play on the Japanese word for octopus. In the story, I refer to it as “Cthulhu on a Hardshell.”
Eventually, it developed into Eddie’s story, a BMX star who is a spokesperson for a major taco chain. Eddie is amped up to film a commercial on the moon. His sponsor has designed an entire ad campaign around him riding his BMX bike in and out of some giant craters. The low gravity allows him to do some pretty terrific stunts, but sticking the landing isn’t as easy as one might think.
Here’s a excerpt:
Eddie had toured three continents and dozens of cities in his career. Each had a distinct flavor, from ancient Samarkand’s exotic spices to modern Detroit’s subtle flair. In the two weeks he’d spent on Luna, shooting commercials and making appearances with his BMX crew he’d visited eight cities, each of which was as different from each other as they were from the cities of Earth.
Nothing compared to Sparta. For one thing, there was a taco truck on every corner. Eddie suspected that might be partly on his account, or rather for his sponsor’s ad campaign, which featured his face plastered across the sides of the trucks as well as billboards, park benches, and both inside and outside the trains of the truba.
“Good thing you like tacos, eh?” said Cameron, Eddie’s agent, manager, and best friend.
Eddie took the paper-wrapped taco Cameron handed him and opened it carefully. “This isn’t a tako taco, is it?” He poked at the contents of the soft tortilla, trying to uncover what might be hidden inside.
“No octopus,” Cameron said. “Oh, and the powers that be have decided they’re not going to make you pretend to eat it. They’re going to play up the ‘everything but the tentacles’ angle and make a big joke about how people who like a little Cthulhu on the hardshell are even more badass than you are.”
It’s no accident that this story came out on election day. There is a slight nod in the plot to the idea of moving to the moon, as many people may wish they could do after the 2016 election. (As I’m writing this, the presidential race is still very close and I have NO idea who will win.)
Please enjoy the story and share the link. As you can see by Mousie Maud on the cover (the mouse with the SHORT SHORT! sign) this is a shorter story, less than five thousand words, and it’s free. (Apologies…some markets like Amazon take a few days to make it free but you can get it on Smashwords.) And if you like this one, please check out the other stories in The Cities of Luna!