Funny Fantasy Speculative

Does anyone shortlist a fuzzy-faced terror beast when sifting through applicants? Goolop certainly had respectable underworld experience to be considered for any jobs in his search. However, something on his CV would likely hold him back. So he briskly hammered the backspace key and typed out his new alias, Steve.

               ‘Ready to submit,’ said Goolop to no one in particular. His gruff voice ricocheted off the softly lit studio apartment walls. Most dwellings in the city’s Monster Quarter were unusually small, given the varying sizes of most of their inhabitants. Goolop’s home was no exception. In fact, he felt it was far smaller than most other apartments in the area.

               Flicking through endless browser tabs, he attached the completed CV and smirked at being prompted to prove he was a human before each submission. Steve was, after all, a human name. Therefore, it didn’t feel like a total lie to Goolop. He would find a way to pass as a human if he landed an interview.

               In all the excitement of submitting Steve’s application, Goolop had not noticed his phone vibrating itself onto the floor. The unexpected thump caused his terror beast threat response to kick in. So, he rubbed his hands along the ribbed spikes protruding from his forearm before checking who had been trying to contact him so desperately.

               Goolop, pub now. The simple demand from his friend Gregthor was not unexpected. He always wanted to go to the pub. Goolop could not really judge because he rarely declined the invite.


               The Behemoth Arms pub was an unassuming establishment. Given its proximity to the human public, it was a bar that remained just out of sight. Nestled between two buildings that would have been condemned had there not been a need to convert them to monster housing. That did not stop Goolop and Gregthor from meeting there most days to debrief about the injustices of life. As always, they hunched over two freshly poured drinks, enjoying the slither of summer sun hitting the hodgepodge of outdoor seating.  

               ‘Goolop, you gotta be joking.’ Gregthor said as he slammed down what was likely to be the first of many amber ales. ‘A software developer? Humans aren’t giving jobs like that to us. Just apply for an out-of-sight job like the rest of us.’

               ‘I have to try,’ Goolop replied. ‘The dimensional spill happened almost six years ago. We aren’t going anywhere, and we can do more than just sort through garbage or pack Amazon orders.’

               Gregthor released a blast of air from his lime-coloured snout that blew the peanuts off the table next to them. If he were a human, it would have been called a sigh. Nothing that trample-snout demons ever did could be accused of being subtle, which made them stand out even more than most monsters stranded in the human world. Their rainbow-coloured skin made them stand out everywhere. With snouts the size of a newborn human baby, anything that came out of them would stop traffic, probably because it would blow the traffic off the road.

               ‘You know I am right, Gregthor.’ Goolop said, lowering his tone an octave to keep their conversation hidden from the tackle beast bartender, who had just arrived with a second round of drinks. ‘It is time one of us made a stand. I was a great software engineer in our dimension and can be again. Humans need to recognise that we can be of value to society.’

               ‘What bleeding software engineering company will want to interview a monster named Goolop with blue hair all over his face.’

               Goolop did not see any reason to mention that all the companies he applied to thought they were reading Steve’s CV. He knew his blue hairy face was nothing a razor and a bit of fake tan couldn’t fix. Goolop was determined to get his hoof in the door. If anyone figured out what he was, they would already be so enamoured with his high-quality work and sparkling personality that they wouldn’t care. He could already see his furry mug all over TV and the internet as the world started to change its mind about the new arrivals.

               Gregthor stared down at his friend, which he did with everyone, given that he towered over most living creatures, even when sitting. Goolop did know what to say, so he continued to nurse his drink and wriggled in his seat so the escaping afternoon sunlight remained on his face. Gregthor’s lack of support sent a deflating pang through his ego. Although he understood it, no monster had successfully gained any equality.

               Humans had been terrified of them since an interdimensional rift tore through spacetime and spewed thousands of monsters from the underworld into the human world. The lack of uniformity in their grotesque appearances caused an instant distrust. Only by human standards did they appear so disgusting. They may look like monsters, but they were peaceful people—most of them vegans.

               ‘You know your boy Gregthor will always meet you at Berther’s for a beer.’ Gregthor said in a tone that suggested an olive branch was being extended. ‘Remember that if you become a big shot in the human world.’

               The clink of their colliding glasses was made more satisfying by the swig of beer that followed it. Gregthor had always been such a loyal friend. Goolop was glad they got sucked into the rift together.

               They shared round after round until the afternoon light had been replaced by the cool chill of the evening. The types of debates that only happen over a long afternoon at the pub raged on between the two friends. Who might be president in the underworld right now, and why weren’t humans more open about the fact they were all clearly bisexual?

               It was nearing time for Goolop to bid his friend farewell when he became distracted by something on his phone. An opportunity that Gregthor took to order another round. Goolop didn’t care; the message he was about to read was infinitely more important. It was also likely worth another drink. He fumbled his sausage-like fingers through the phone's interface, desperate to read the full message behind the preview on his lock screen.

               ‘Goolop.’ Nothing. So Gregthor used his trademark roar. ‘Goolop.’

               The whole bar was now looking at them. Even a few monsters had run to their apartment windows to see what the noise was. Most looked disappointed to see it was just a trample-snout being a trample-snout.

               ‘You’re not going to believe this.’ Goolop said, eyes glued to his phone screen.

               ‘What, what is it?’

               ‘I think I got a job interview.’

               ‘Bloody hell.’ That was all Gregthor could say.

               A week later, Goolop found himself avoiding eye contact with the receptionist for his would-be employer. Feeling a wave of panic through his body anytime she glanced in his direction. Hoping she didn’t notice just how caked on his fake tan was or how plump his razor burns were. Thankfully, the suit he found in a second-hand clothing bin was the perfect fit. Goolop was at least blessed with the average height and physique of a human named Steve.

               A constant stream of people flowed in and out of the glass panels on either side of the half-moon-shaped reception desk. Beyond them looked like a land of fun and adventure. It almost resembled the software company Goolop worked for in the underworld. However, humans had more ping pong tables and fewer scolding hot lava pools for employee relaxation.

               ‘So sorry, Steve,’ Cheryl said in her perky tone that Goolop found condescending. ‘Mister Tucker will be right with you. He is just finishing up a meeting that ran over a bit.’ The way her overapplied lipstick accentuated her smile terrified Goolop for some reason. Some humans could be as intimidating as the inhabitants of the underworld.  

               He nodded back at her in acknowledgement, afraid he would sound more like a Goolop than a Steve any time he spoke. Although he knew he should get used to speaking in Steve’s voice if he got the job.

               ‘Whoop, he is ready for you now, Steve. Go right on through.’

               If Goolop had an office like this, he would never go home. It felt like stepping into a video game arcade for kids. Which was not that unusual given that Mister Tucker looked like he was still in high school. He also took comfort that wearing shorts to work appeared to be acceptable.

               They exchanged the usual pleasantries about whether Goolop had trouble finding the office and how warm it was outside. Mister Tucker poured over a copy of Goolop’s CV on his tablet computer and asked what he did and did not know about the company Interactive Fresh. They even shared a light joke or two. All in all, it started well.

               The technical questions came next, and Goolop breezed through them. Programming languages may have different names in the human world. But he had already researched them and could relate them to their underworld equivalents. He even shared an insightful response as to his thoughts on declarative vs. imperative paradigms such as functional and object-oriented programming.

               ‘You’ve done it all, Steve.’ Tucker said, oozing confidence with every syllable. He flashed a smile, exposing a mouthful of symmetrically white human fangs. Suddenly, the desk was no longer separating them. Tucker was right inside Goolop’s personal zone, leaning casually, the disarming grin still present.

               ‘I could be a huge asset to your team here at Interactive Fresh Mister Tucker.’ Goolop said, no longer having to try to sound like Steve. He was Steve, and he was going to get this job.

               ‘One thing though, Steve.’

               Goolop could feel the spikes in his arms trying to escape.

               ‘You have done it all. Yet, you have not worked anywhere in over six years. I also couldn’t find any of the companies you listed as your previous employers.’

               Shit, Goolop thought to himself. Shit, shit, shit.

               ‘It is almost like you stopped working when all those freaks arrived downtown.’

               The unplanned question triggered the reaction that Goolop hoped to avoid. He saw shreds of fabric from his shirt flying at Mister Tucker’s face like mini-plaid missiles. His ruse was over, and he could not control what would happen next.

               ‘You have got to be fucking joking.’ Tucker exclaimed, barely able to hide the disgust on his face. ‘How did you even get into this part of town? Get the hell out of my office.’

               Goolop’s heart sank, but something else quickly took over. Something he had not felt for a long time. Saliva flooded his mouth, and heat swelled in his cheeks. He couldn’t take his eyes off Mister Tucker’s arrogant little head.

               Tucker recognised his misstep and attempted to reestablish the distance between them. But it was too late. Something had awoken in Goolop that had been asleep for a long time.

               The receptionist burst into the office to investigate all the ruckus. She looked at Goolop, hunched over what remained of her boss.

               ‘This is exactly why you people can’t get jobs.’



September 15, 2023 11:25

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Dana Hambleton
06:00 Sep 22, 2023

This was really interesting! I liked how you built a whole world. You can really see it being a part of a bigger story. And poor Goolop. He deserved that job!


David Willett
00:53 Sep 23, 2023

Why thank you for the feedback. I enjoyed writing this story and plan to explore Goolop’s world more in the future. :)


Dana Hambleton
01:17 Sep 23, 2023

Yes! I can't wait to see more :)


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