The Clarkl Soup Kitchens


Clarkl is a planet of cold days and even colder nights. Although Clarkl's star is not visible from Earth, Clarkl's advanced technology allows its natives to visit Earth and take Earthlings back to Clarkl for work.

In the early 2070s, the American government entered into a contract with the people of Clarkl to manage and staff farms and kitchens to feed some of the large numbers of Clarkl natives who are faced with the planet's ever-present famine. The contract provided that the American government receive certain critical minerals from Clarkl and the Clarklians receive the services of farmers and cooks.

This novel presents the diaries of five Americans who went to Clarkl for work in the dining rooms. They left troubling problems on Earth to go to Clarkl for a guaranteed monthly income and a decade of hard work.

The diaries discuss the ugly Clarkl natives, with all seven sexes described. The diaries also discuss the running antagonism between the two religious groups that manage the dining rooms.

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May 3, 2137
Today I looked at that pamphlet the Wades left about Clarkl. If I could cook, I could earn about $25,000 per year and some retirement funds. Of course, I would need to go to faraway Clarkl, and I would need to stay for at least ten years.

I'd better get down to the county library tomorrow to investigate Clarkl.

May 5, 2137
The reference librarian helped me with Clarkl, saying there had been a great deal of interest in that planet lately.

Clarkl is much colder than Earth, and it is very primitive in terms of the quality of life. Housing is the worst problem for Earthlings, but the terrible famines are certainly another.

Clarkl has technology significantly more advanced than Earth, though. The spacecrafts from Clarkl land on Earth to pick up workers nearly every three weeks.

One bizarre note had the reference librarian hooting: there are seven sexes on Clarkl. The dominant entities are human types that walk upright, but that species has divided itself into seven subtypes. The librarian was unable to find information about other species living on Clarkl, so I don't know if the other species come in pairs or in sets of seven.

The pictures of the New Christian Congregation's compound are interesting, though. The workers live in single-person huts, each one with the charm and comforts of housing at Girl Scout camp. Flooring is rare, and a good roof is more precious than rubies.

Another Christian group is also there, also trying to feed the natives. I wonder what their deal looks like? If only I could cook.

I don't believe learning to cook is beyond my powers. I just haven't had much use for it. Everything comes in handy packages nowadays, and restaurants, with professionals, exist for those few special occasions when a good meal is required. I believe anybody can learn to cook, but few take the time to do so.

My grandmother could cook, so it couldn't be that hard, could it?

May 7, 2137
The book I ordered about Clarkl arrived. I'll look at it and then send it back for a refund.

The human-like beings are very ugly. The pictures of groups of them look like a Halloween party, without the candied apples.

The seven sexes are: Monarchs, Seekers, Drones, Batwigs, Slinkers, Carriers, and Wolpters. The Drones and the Batwigs are sterile, but the Batwigs are usually near the top of the social order.

Of course, the Monarchs are the rulers, but their status varies with the changes in the quality of life. If there is ample food, the Monarchs are revered and cared for. If rains and floods have washed away houses and crops, the Monarchs have to watch their backsides. I believe the Monarchs are the ugliest of all the creatures, with strange feelers on their heads.

Our clients are the Batwigs. These entities are very concerned about keeping the civilization alive, and they contacted several social organizations on Earth in the early 2070s to ask for help. These early messages indicated they had several rare elements to sell, including various types of uranium the government wanted. The President quickly realized they would approach other heads of state with the same offer, so the Secretary of State authorized six Protestant groups to develop proposals for efficiently feeding the masses on Clarkl.

The New Christian Congregation, founded in 2073 to meet the need for such a proposal, was the first group to be awarded a contract. The Fundamentalists of Christ also were awarded a contract. Both organizations continue to work on Clarkl today, and the government pays for the rare elements by underwriting the labor and supplies of the two religious organizations.

No info in this book on how much the Fundamentalists are paying for cooks, so back it goes. I'll make copies of some of the pictures at the library before I take it to the Post Office.

May 10, 2137
The Reference Librarian was very interested in the pictures in the book.

Now, to learn how to cook. It can't be that hard. The Librarian gave me three basic books, but to read only in the library. Cream appears to be also a verb.

Seven hours in the library today with the cookbooks, taking notes. Then, to the grocery store. They have a special section, way in the back, called Raw Ingredients. I found flour and sugar, but they were out of baking powder, having, they said, not much of a call for it. I placed a special order for two cans, to be available tomorrow.

May 12, 2137
My first cake was a flop. Back to the library to compare pictures in the cookbooks with the mess that came out of the oven. Took notes, will try again.

My brochure from the Fundamentalists of Christ came today. They claim they pay up to $2,500 per month for a person to go to Clarkl. Hell's Bells! $10 fits that description.

Their brochure, though, was much more oriented toward the Christian missionary aspect than the one from the New Christian Congregation. Spreading the Gospel while feeding the hungry. The New Christian Congregation seems to concentrate on making some money while you do a service for your country. I can't get enthusiastic about either of these approaches, but I suspect I have five years of Bible study ahead of me with the Fundamentalists. I had better put them aside for now.

How can I call the Reverend Wade to ask the monthly salary without appearing too grasping? Maybe he has already seen the peeling paint on the garage.

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