Beware the Squish

The sun will burn out in five billion years (give or take a few years). And when it does, our earth will eventually wither and die. 

There’s a pretty good chance that humankind will be extinct long before the sun goes dark, however. With population exploding worldwide, land resources won’t be able to regenerate fast enough for people to survive.  

The world will soon be starving, confirmed Dr. Janice Fuller during her five-page novel-ending soliloquy. What was everyone going to eat in the future? “Bugs were a solution,” she said. “Vegetables and meat substitutes made from plants were another. They both had great potential, but each of these solutions relied on land mass for production. There wasn’t enough of it, even if we found ways to grow food on every desert and iceberg on the planet.”

Fuller and her colleagues at England’s National Nutrition Laboratory had a crazy plan to solve the existential crisis. They developed a squid-salmon hybrid that was fast growing and easy to farm. They called it “Squish.”

Unfortunately, all their ambitious gene manipulation and recombinant DNA techniques only resulted in an unpalatable mess. the Squish tasted like ammonia, apparently. With a shrug, they flushed their failure down the toilet.  

Not only did the hybrid creatures survive, but they also mingled with sludge from a nearby nuclear plant. Readers will undoubtedly be thinking to themselves: “Wait a minute. Why was a secret research laboratory located next to a nuclear facility anyway?” It sounded like a conspiracy theorist’s dream scenario, didn’t it? 

The Squish quickly mutated into a squad of unfathomable “squid things” that traveled up and down the Bristol Channel eating cows, dogs, pretty girls, fishermen and naked witches. After filling their bellies, they were pumped up and ready to spawn. And that was a bad thing according to an NNL biologist.“Squid males get extremely aggressive at mating time,” he warned.  

In order to stop the fast and aggressive waterborne predators, a former M15 agent and a local journalist get together to compare notes. They both agreed that the Squish could spark a worldwide disaster if it wasn’t destroyed. 

Feeding Frenzy is told through the eyes of Hickory Hollis, an independent contractor with Her Majesty’s Armed Forces. Hollis is an affable fellow who travels the countryside in his unglamorous Fleetwood Tioga. Interestingly, he keeps a copy of The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham at his bedside for late-night reading. 

The novel ends in a scramble of Tom Cruise-like military heroics. Helicopters, high-tech harpoon guns, explosives and derring-do combine to eradicate the Squish. Or maybe not. 

Hollis couldn’t help but wonder what other unholy hybrids the scientists at the NNL were working on. He had a feeling that he would be recruited again to help squash another Squish-like monster in the near future. To be continued?

[Feeding Frenzy / By Robert Fael / First Printing: March 2023 / ISBN: 9781922861573]