As soon as Francis crossed over the mountain,
he found himself face to face with a large gurgling creature
that wriggled up and down in a mildly titillating fashion. It stretched
up and down. He tried not to stare.
"Come over here, come over here, come a little closer," it
crooned. "AAuuuuugghhh," the Maw breathed upon him, warm puffs
"Don't you know what pleasure is? Don't you know...Pleasure...is me.
I am polymorphous pleasure, the pleasure principle, I am past infinitive..let
me swallow you, only I can fully digest you. Come to Maw. Come, come, come,
It called itself the Maw but was actually just a stomach that had lost its
Francis touched his own belly.
"I like to eat," he said hesitantly.
"Tasties....tasties....I can give you p-p-pleasure..only I can fully
digest you...." the Maw hissed,"Stop here, listen, you should
try everything once....a pleasure denied is regret deep-fried..tasties..."
Now if Francis could be said to have a weakness, it was for tasties. Tasties
accounted for his lack of funds and tasties accounted for his somewhat excessive
girth. Now, if he had indeed, stumbled upon the motherlode of tasties, there
was really no reason to go on. On the other hand, he could always change
his mind and come back to wallow later. Yes, he could, in fact, find the
Gryphon, and then reward himself with tasties. But he could also treat
himself beforehand. There wasn't any real reason to deny oneself a bit of
tasty...but as he was trying to unmuddle himself, the Maw broke out into
a horrific fit of weeping, interrupted by an astounding array of burps.
These burps were strangely ominous for he thought he heard faint voices
intermingled with the burps. He tried to remember what his father had told
him. As far as he could tell, the Maw clearly had no exit.
"I'll be back, Miss Maw" said Francis politely and went on, hungry