Férovej obchod [Fair Trade] published in XB-1

Hey there! It would appear that I kinda jinxed it in my last post, when I said that the COVID-19 pandemic seemed to have been coming to an end. Every day, numerous countries report record numbers of infections, restrictions are being put back in place, borders are closing down again… it’s a déjà vu and not the good kind. That’s not to say that coronavirus is the only problem the world is currently facing – on the contrary, the entire year of 2020 feels like several plots of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic stories mashed together.

Speaking of stories: the first of the two short pieces that I wrote in/translated into Czech was published in the September issue of XB-1, the Czech magazine of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. The story, entitled “Férovej obchod” [“Fair Trade” in English], sees its main protagonist, Ray M. Holler, up to his neck in trouble with some very unpleasant criminals, although this time around, it may not entirely be his own fault. The English version hasn’t been published anywhere, but I have plans for it – I’ll share them with you in due time.

In the meantime, enjoy a sneak peek of the story below and take care!

“Who are you?!”

My head snapped back as a fist the size of a bowling ball landed on my chin. It belonged to easily one of the largest human specimens I had ever had the pleasure of encountering. The guy was by my estimations at least two meters ten and a hundred sixty kilos of muscle and fat, and unfortunately for me, very proficient at punching stuff. I had a feeling that even if I weren’t currently tied to a pillar and could actually put my hands up, I’d still have ended up beaten like a schnitzel.

“Who do you work for?!”

Another question, another punch. This time he was aiming straight for my nose, so I tucked my chin a fraction of a second before the impact and let his knuckles connect with my forehead. It was a feeble gesture considering the entirety of my current predicament but the giant had already caused me so much pain that I just really wanted to return the favor, no matter how futile it seemed in the long run.

I expected him to yelp in agony–frontal bone of the skull is considerably harder than any of the bones in the hand and the wrist so you can do the math–but he didn’t so much as flinch. Instead, he laughed amusedly, grabbed me by the hair and gave me a good old open-palmed slap on the cheek. Ironically, this hurt more than any of the previous punches and I felt a tooth loosen. 

“Wait!” I grunted.

The guy let go of my hair and stepped back, but not too far, staying within reach of his meaty paws. He hadn’t done so because of my plea, of course, or of his own accord–as you could have probably guessed, he wasn’t exactly the one in charge. That particular role belonged to another individual in the room who was also the one supplying the questions.

Vebhod walked up to me, his face a mask of barely concealed rage. Next to my torturer he appeared grotesquely small, like a child or an oversized doll. Granted, he was a Liktonian, and they were generally smaller than humans but even for their standards, he was a bit on the shorter side. That, however, certainly hadn’t stopped him from pursuing his dreams and becoming an interstellar asshole. 

“Yes?” he gritted through his teeth and looked me straight in the eyes.

I looked away and spat the broken tooth along with some blood out onto the floor. 

“What is it that I am supposed to answer?” I said with a fake perplexed expression. “You are asking too many questions. I am confused.”


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