TERRITORY • by Debora C. Martin

Daisy is an orange blob like me, like everyone we know, like everyone in our territory. We don’t know anyone who isn’t an orange blob, but we’ve heard that green blobs have entered other parts of the territory. I am frightened.

Last night, there was a meeting. We arranged ourselves on soft settees in the main dome, so as not to feel the cold, stone floor below us. Being blobs, twenty of us easily squeezed on the legless settees. First, we made a row. Then, we made a second row on top of the first row, making sure to shift parts of ourselves into the crevices left by the first row. Then we assembled the third, fourth, and fifth rows. We were content to be close to each other as we listened to Roman, our leader, speak about the green blobs.

Roman said the green blobs were in our territory. He said our brothers and sisters from the populous area at the edge of the territory thought this a good development. They pitied the green blobs, whose leader was heartless. However, our brothers and sisters in remoter parts of the territory were angry. They claimed green blobs would suck up our mineral-rich geyser water. They said they threatened our existence. This made me uneasy.

Roman asked that we come forward and share opinions and questions about the situation. Daisy, seated in the bottom row of the settee closest to Roman, rolled off and moved toward the center of the dome, causing the blobs directly above her to ooze into the resulting open spaces.

Daisy leaned to the right and asked, “What would happen if green blobs split in two and made more green blobs?” Then Daisy leaned to the left. “Would there be more green blobs than orange blobs?” Leaning forward, Daisy asked, “Would our way of life change?” She leaned back. Then she spun, in order to be seen simultaneously by Roman and all occupants of the settees. She posed three additional questions. “What would happen if orange blobs and green blobs got very close to each other? Would we have green/orange blobs? Wasn’t it our responsibility to protect orange blobs and let green blobs protect green blobs?” Finally, Daisy moved to one end of the settee, politely signaled a blob to condense itself, and climbed to a space in the top row. I struggled with what Daisy said, realizing for the first time that I wasn’t as afraid as she was.

Roman said the blobs in other parts of the territory had many of the same questions. It was rumored that green blobs ate orange blobs, and though there was no proof, many blobs believed it. They were terrified. They’d built a portable stack of blobs, ten blobs high, to secure their communities, and required every blob to report to the stack once a week for security duty.

Roman informed us that the leader of our most populous sector thought the stack of blobs was a bad idea. Instead of erecting defenses, that leader instructed orange blobs to scale other orange blobs and make temporary shelters for the entering green blobs. The green blobs were provided geyser water as needed.

The meeting continued for hours. Dozens of orange blobs rolled off the settees, seeking answers and expressing trepidation. We were tired and limp when Roman closed the meeting and indicated there would be another one soon.

Daisy and I stuck very close together so it would be easier to roll home, but I could feel the thing we didn’t share. I was certain a blob was a blob. She was not.

Debora C. Martin lives in Maine and writes short fiction, flash fiction, and creative nonfiction. Her work has appeared in the anthology, Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet, Vol. 3, and in Microfiction Monday, Parentheses Journal, Storgy Magazine, and Typishly.

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