“What is that thing?” Alex asked.

In between the two of them, standing in the middle of the floor, was some sort of yellow rhombus-shaped thing on legs. It was… waddling, or wiggling, or something – he didn’t like it, he didn’t like looking at it.

Josie regarded it, quietly at first, and then raised a single finger to give their assessment: “I have no fucking clue.”

They both watched it writhe around on the floor. Alex found himself wondering where it had come from. Why was it in his office?

A deep, imposing voice called: “Little Shells!” Suddenly, through the door stepped an enormous man with a massive yellow head. “Don’t run around naked! Put some sauce on!”

The little whatever-thing stopped in its frantic motions and then jumped once into the air, like a kernel of corn being popped on the stove. “Why, pappy?”

“Because you’re not just pasta! You’re Pasta Roni® pasta! With real ingredients, like:”

“Hold on,” Alex said, clutching his head. “What the heck is going on here?!”


“Our sauce is the secret to a homemade taste,” the man explained patiently, gesturing vaguely in Alex’s direction. “Now put some sauce on!”

“Me?” Alex asked, voice trembling as he pointed towards himself.

Just as suddenly and inexplicably – a light turned on outside. Not a mere streetlamp, it was as if the moon itself had been switched onto maximum brightness. And a voice, not unlike Alex’s, began to speak:

Thanks for helping me raise a thousand dollars towards moving out. Things are crazy right now. The world feels bitter and unforgiving. I've been getting afraid of religion again, for some reason?

What the fuck, Alex thought, but at this point it was all so overwhelming he settled for huddling in the corner and cowering.

Josie stepped over to the window and looked outside. They tilted their head once one way, then the other, like they were a cat considering a fly on the windowsill. Finally, they spoke: “So you're the one who made me?

Oh my God. Yes. Why?

Why did you give me so many problems? Why couldn't you have done something nice for once?

What? Oh. I mean, the world is horrible, isn't it? It doesn't feel right to make a story where everything is fine. That feels like lying, I think.

Josie humphed, and then turned to Alex, arms outstretched. “Are you seeing this shit? Even God is traumatized!

Alex meowed.