Escape Pod 578: Cherry Squid
By Celeste Hollister
It was the cherry squid that did him in.
Outside his window, seventy stories up, the advertisement bloomed, melon yellow, racecar red. A shoal of squid rippled across the holo, a tangram pattern that morphed into a human face. Almost human, but with a Vrellan’s ruby eyes. Then a blush of shimmer-pink as the slogan scrolled onscreen: “Let’s All Share a Cherry Squid” in all caps like a scream.
Fresh cherry scent wafted on the air. Then the ad faded to black before replaying, an endless loop of fragrance and light.
“A stupid, looping nonsense,” Adam called it.
The Mobius-strip of cherry squid peeled out from its backlit blue. I said, “I think it’s pretty.”
“They try too hard to be like us,” Adam said.
I edged onto the oval of his windowsill and watched the sun plait silver into the spillways. I said, “They are like us. The scientists say we share a common ancestor. We just evolved differently.”
Adam crooked a three-pod stool against his vid-wall. He popped open a can of Dr Pepper, one from his dwindling cache of Earthly goods. He said, “You don’t believe that crap, do you? The whole Selkie Evolution thing?”