“Mr. Hoddy”

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Plot Description

This is from the “Claud’s Dog” series of stories that were first published in Someone Like You.

Spoiler warning! Claud Cubbage is going to his girlfriend Clarice’s house to be inspected and questioned by her father, Mr. Hoddy. Claud wants to marry Clarice and Mr. Hoddy wants to make sure that he can take care of her. Clarice warns Claud, though, not to mention his plan to win at the greyhound track (see “Mr. Feasey”), because her father hates greyhounds. She tells Claud just to make something up to please her father. Later that night, Claud starts to feel uncomfortable as Mr. Hoddy grills him about his future business plans. Claud explains that he and his friend Gordon, who runs the filling station, have a number of expansion ideas that they’re working on. He tries to leave it at that, but Mr. Hoddy presses him. Finally Claud announces that they’re planning to run a “maggot factory.” They’ll harvest maggots from rotting meat, raise them, and ship them to grateful fisherman all over the world. Claud’s imagination begins to run away from him as he describes the different varieties of maggots they’ll supply, along with the various details of feeding them and keeping them warm in the winter. Mr. Hoddy, of course, cannot believe what he is hearing. He’s a grocer and the thought of his daughter being supported by an income from maggots is disgusting to him. He can finally take no more and rises suddenly, asking Claud to stop and escorting him out the door. “I think it’s time I was getting along,” Claud said. “Goodnight.”