Where I'm From, We Eat Our Parents
by John Wiswell
His name is not "Fiend." His people don't have proper mouths, and so anytime Clarissa says his name it sounds wrong. Human mouths make it sounds like "Fiend." The homonym is unseemly, but he puts up with it for her. He'll put up with anything for Clarissa.
"They'll adore you, Fiend," she says, sitting up in her wheelchair to fix his tie for him. "Just be yourself."
"Skree," he says. His tentacles give away his nervousness, continually straying to fiddle with his tie. He keeps forgetting that the tie isn't a tentacle. They don't have non-human fashions in this city, and his tentacles keep oozing out the sleeves and neck hole of his off-the-rack Big & Tall. He feels shameful beside her in that sunflower print dress.
A moment after they ring the doorbell, out walk two aging humans. They are all measured smiles and graceful sagging. Clarissa hugs them both.
"I'm Stefanie," her mother says, waving both hands as though fanning herself. "Come inside! Dinner's almost ready."
Her father wears a charcoal gray suit that perfectly fits his two arms. "So you're Fiend? We were starting to doubt you existed."
"Skree," Fiend says, as politely as he can.