The spacilisk’s feet hurt. They hurt very badly, in fact. They were so sore that, while he could slither about pretty well, it was hard for him to stop, or turn, or even to get properly started, really.
Of course, no one understood this, since they were all elves and elves have no idea just how much spacilisks use their feet. They think spacilisks slither and slide and their feet just dangle there for no reason whatsoever, but they’re wrong. A spacilisk’s feet are terribly important, and it is most uncomfortable when they hurt.
“I need different shoes,” said the spacilisk to his elvish keepers (his name was Craig, which he would have told anyone who asked, which, of course, they did not). But they just looked at him strangely, as though they didn’t understand what he said. They simply couldn’t fathom the fact that a spacilisk needed properly fitting shoes just like everyone else.
Craig supposed it would be different if there were more spacilisks here with him. Sadly, however, he was alone. He had been captured when he was very young from his home planet, where there had been jungles and lakes and plenty of spacilisks like him and above all shoes.
Perhaps if there were another spacilisk here with him to tell the elves that their feet hurt then the elves might listen.
But, of course, there was just him, and it seemed that nobody really cared just how much discomfort his poor feet were really in.
It wasn’t that the elves didn’t care about him at all; they did, in their own way. They tried to make his habitat here in the elven zoo as much like his home as possible. He lacked for nothing in terms of food or trees or water to swim in. But they simply didn’t understand about his feet.
All he needed was a few pairs of shoes for his damnably sore feet.
One time a little elvish girl seemed to look at him through the bars of his enclosure with compassionate eyes. “My feet hurt,” said Craig to her, as he did to anyone who came within earshot. “I need some better shoes.” The little girl looked sad, then brightened. She bent down, took off her own shoes, and flung them over the fence.
The shoes were far too small for him, of course, nor were there enough of them (she had only two feet, while he had ten). The little girl got into terrible trouble for her kindness, too. Her mother spanked her, and she was led away crying. Craig was touched by the girl’s gesture, but while it was nice it did no good for anyone in the end, since the little girl got spanked and Craig still didn’t have any shoes.
Then, one day, a new spacilisk was deposited into Craig’s enclosure. “Hi,” said Craig. “My feet hurt.”
“Hi,” said the new spacilisk. “So do mine.”
And while this really didn’t solve anything, still it felt better to have someone else with sore feet to complain about it with, and so Craig was just a little bit happier.
Columbkill Noonan has an M.S. in Biology, and lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She teaches Anatomy and Physiology at a university in Maryland. In her spare time, Columbkill enjoys hiking, aerial yoga, and riding her horse, Mittens. To learn more about Columbkill please feel free to visit her on Twitter @ColumbkillNoon1.