A DVD of the Aardman animated film Chicken Run, distorted.

Marigold leaned back in her chair. “That's it?”

“That's it? What do you mean, that's it? It's the only full-length claymation film that's ever been completed,” Alex bit back aggressively. “This is cinematic history!”

“Sure...” She regarded the screen with a level of criticism. “And that's all they could do with it?”

“What would it be otherwise?”

“Something really stylized and cool, you know? Like an urban gothic movie... with a cool little girl or something.”

“Oh yeah, right. And I bet your cool little girl movie will be an instant cult classic, like Chicken Run was.”

She turned her head to look at him, and he could feel her gaze penetrate the back of his skull. “What even is your problem? Why are you being so defensive about this?”

He ran his tongue over his teeth uncomfortably. This was his opportunity to back down. “I'm ready to die on this hill,” he said instead, digging his hole even deeper. “Chicken Run is the greatest work of fiction ever made.”

That got her to smile, though he was pretty sure it was just because she was trying not to laugh in his face. “Okay, now I know you're bullshitting. But it's good that you're actually standing up for yourself for once.”

“I liked the chickens,” Josie added thoughtfully. “But where were the humans in all of this?

Marigold put her wing on her chin. “Hmm. I'm pretty sure they were somewhere in there.”

Alex raised his finger to speak, but he just sat there incredulously with his jaw hanging open, and then ultimately put his hand back down and kept quiet.

Chicken Run, warped as to be unrecognizable.