Challenge #01588-D127: Culture ClashsteemCreated with Sketch.

in #fiction3 years ago


how to be a good (Insert name here) Citizen. Let's hear it from one of the Lizard cultures. --Knitnan

"And who's your daddy, little one?"

Preek didn't understand the human's question. She had never known the word before this moment. "I have a Pripa and a Seppa[1]."

"I have trouble with all these new words," confessed the human. "It's so confusing. What's wrong with 'he' and 'she' and 'mommy' and 'daddy'?"

Preek was only four years old. She had yet to hear the phrase "chronically inaccurate" nor had an opportunity to apply it to anyone else's speech patterns, so she just bluntly said, "It's just wrong," to the human.

"Nothing wrong with a mommy and a daddy," smiled the human. "It's nature's way. You need a mommy and a daddy to make littles like you."

Preek thought hard about this. She knew 'mommy' and variants of it from some of the offworlders in her class. What was currently giving her trouble was the 'daddy' part of things. "What is a daddy?"

The human's smile dropped off their face. "Oh. I see. Don't you worry, little. I'm gonna rescue you." And without another word, Preek felt herself scooped up by warm hands and held close and comfy against the human's warm body. Pripa and Seppa had held her like that, but there was something... scary... about the way the human was walking.

Preek had yet to absorb the word 'ominous', either.

People got out of their way, fast. Humans were predators, Preek remembered, and predators had a way of walking when they were in hunter mode. Preek was still play-catching, and had yet to master it.

They got to the local offices of the Cogniscent Rights Committee, where most people came for information and rarely came to report a complaint. There, the human sat Preek on the counter and bellowed, "I want to report a case of child abuse! This poor little darling doesn't even know what a 'daddy' is! She's being raised by immoral people!"

The bored counter clerk took one look at Preek and her tail stripes and said, "Sir, that little girl is a C'nemid."

"So?" said the human.

"C'nemids are an entirely female species. They reproduce by induced parthenogenesis. Besides, a loving parental relationship of any combination cannot, therefore, be abuse."

The door slid open again and two grownups rushed through as soon as their bodies could fit. Preek recognised them in an instant. "PRIPA! SEPPA!"

"You scared the life out of us," both parentals chorused, but they did it while scooping Preek into a big hug. Tails and all.

"Did the human try to eat you?" worried Pripa. "We're going to get you a nice steam bath and some fat grubs just the way you like them. You've been through a lot."

Preek didn't think she'd been through that much, but wasn't about to turn down fat grubs in butter sauce. "I'm okay, Pripa."

"Hey," objected the human. "I'm standing right here!"

"Excuse my spouse, kind human," said Seppa. "We've heard a lot of alarmist news that Deathworlders consume more... Havenworld-type species."

"But... cogniphagia is banned," said the human. "Name's Dirk, by the way. Late of Greater Deregulation West."

"Ah," muttered the clerk. "That explains everything."

[1]: From "primary parental" and "secondary parental". The primary is the one that does the majority of the running around and caring for the young. The secondary parental is usually the one that earns the household keep.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / icetray]

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