There are elves in my soup. This is pissing me off: I chose the ingredients very carefully, and small green twittering things simply aren’t appropriate. Besides, one of them bit me when I grabbed them and tried to stuff them into the waste disposal – I should have worn gloves. Without them at least the soup’s gone back to its proper colour: dark, noir even, with the correct dirty glints from streetlights in the rain. The smell is a bit unwashed, smoky rooms with a hint of gunpowder and French perfume, but I think that’s within spec.

There are still problems: every now and then something bubbles to the surface and I have to be quick with the strainer. The spaceships are easy, they’re large and obvious enough to grab and the lasers are a bit fucked from all the garlic so they don’t really fight back. The garlic, of course, explains why I keep on finding the bloody vampire teeth, which are slippery, and tend to vanish back into the depths with a slight sucking sound when I grope for them. Annoying. Hopefully they’ll disintegrate.

Stir, stir, stir. The danger is if you turn up the heat too high and it bubbles over. I don’t want a damned apocalypse, it’s not appetising, what with the burned smell and the clouds of smoke. I’ve tried very hard to balance the flavours here; it’s not as if I’m working from a recipe, but there are traditions, after all.

Soup for you? I made it myself.

12 thoughts on “Soup”

  1. Interesting, where? I wrote this and then went through and removed all the unnecessary commas, to which I am unfortunately prone, but perhaps I overdid it.

    I wasn’t quite aiming for simple metaphor, more for metaphorical embodiment, if that makes sense – this should have felt both real and metaphorical.

    1. I’d have put one in after “Without them”. But on reread, I don’t think so anymore. There’s a kind of speed to the tone that works well – see also the spaceships sentence.

  2. I love the imagery in this story, you do get the sense of the ups and downs of creation (of soup naturally). I also like the way the meaning behind the soup is open to interpretation.

    It does come across as a bit of a metaphor but not an obvious one. More of an allegory but for what is up to the reader.

    And I enjoyed reading it :)

  3. I loved this. It also made me laugh, and elves in my soup keeps on coming back at odd times to titillate me :-)

    There are so many great ideas here. While being fantastical, it conveys the practical process of making a tricky meal, and altering it as necessary very well. I also especially like the use of noir to describe the soup’s colour.

    My only issue is minor and grammar-related. I would break the apocalypse sentence with at least a semi-colon after apocalypse

    1. Ooh, good point re the semi-colon, cbraz. Long sentence is long. I tend to wander through my writing with a shotgun and randomly take down semicolons, I use them far too often, but I think you’re right, it’s needed here.

  4. This is perhaps about some kind of supreme entity making itself a bit of soup, which contains a bit of everything: from science fiction to fantasy. Things have gone a bit awry when elves get into the soup, but after they’re chased off, everything turns out OK.

    Or perhaps it’s just about authors and the things we write :)

    Some nits:

    > Without them[,] at least[,] the soup’s gone back to its proper
    > colour
    Neil mentioned his “punctuation gene”. Maybe this is one of those places. I added commas were I felt they could be added.

    Also, perhaps (although I think it works without a comma):
    > Soup[,] for you?

    > within spec.
    Great description :) Although doesn’t it perhaps imply there is some kind of recipe? (The narrator says that they’re not working to a recipe, later.)

    1. I love the different interpretations people come up with. I didn’t in any way intend this as a “supreme entity” sort of thing, mostly this is about genre and writing. Hence the idea of specifications, but no actual recipe: you improvise within genre boundaries. But whatever works for you :>. Any halfway decent piece of writing has to mean more than the author intended…

      Valid comments re commas – I was trying for a conversational style, slightly irritated, so quite possibly I overdid the informality levels with regards to punctuation.

  5. Great piece – I really like that the conversational light witchy silliness also has more serious overtones about creating things and unexpected results from putting things in. I also liked the obvious modernity of language contrasted against the traditional witch (caldron etc). My favourite bits are the first two sentences which in about 10 words set up both the fantasy and modern elements.

    The left field humour (like ‘ the space ships’) really worked for me. Also the Tom Robbin’s like use of hard to conceptualise metaphor (like ‘ dirty glint’s from streetlights’) worked.

    I would have preferred the first garlic (in the space ship sentence) to be something else fun (say the red wine/belladonna) so as not to repeat the garlic in the next sentence.
    The two sentences at the end are slightly distracting for me, I would have been happy with the there ‘are traditions after all’ to end the piece.

    1. Another fun interpretation – I was trying for kitchen rather than witch, hence the garlic, but of course all writing is a magical process ;>. The repetition is perfectly deliberate – the segue is supposed to go, garlic stuffs up the lasers, garlic suggests the idea of vampires, therefore there are also vampires in here (plus obligatory rather horrible puns). The point is a sort of continual, slightly demented switching between literal soup-making and the idea of slightly unruly genre elements.

      I should probably admit, this whole piece was sparked off by that repeated Pratchett/Gaiman idea that writing is like making stew, you put in new elements and ladle out the result, leaving enough bits for the next person who uses it. Except as far as I’m concerned it’s soup, and the elements fight back.

  6. Fun!
    And a bit mental.

    I also got a slight witch twitch – I was thinking giant cauldron potjie thing.
    And possibly a frog or two.

    Very cool and very different from anything else here!

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