Our writing prompt for a recent meeting of The South Arkansas Writers was to use the following words in a story: cucumber, elf, stove, car wash. Alternate word: giraffe.
I thought that this would give me an opportunity to come up with a new planetary race. Well, I came up with the Fohen, but I didn’t have time to write a story because I was busy revising some of my other fiction. I did have time to do this Poser picture based on the prompt. The little green guy is Derf, a Fohen. Derf represents my version of an “elf.” If you look closely, you’ll find the cucumber and other items from the prompt.
In the story that I have in mind, Fohens are on Earth in medieval Europe to gather interesting artifacts and the local humans think they are elves. “Fohen” was derived from the WordWeb random word selection, Foehn (A warm dry wind that blows down the northern slopes of the Alps). The only anagram that the program created was “hen of,” which I saw no use for. So I swapped the h and e in Foehn to get Fohen.
Fohens are identified by single, two-syllable names. Each syllable is capitalized. The individual is often called by just the first syllable. The second syllable is not a family name. The Fohens do not use family names. The second syllable is just something that the parents chose because they liked the sound and thought it went well with the first name. Derf’s full name is DerfRitt. Both syllables are used together with emphasis when chastising an individual. (We do something similar: “Jack Ryan! I told you not to bring home a puppy from that farm auction!”) The full name may be used without emphasis in formal occasions or between individuals who are not friends (something like the use of “Sie” in German.)
In case you’re interested, DerfRitt did not come from my often-used process of asking WordWeb to provide a random word and a list of anagrams that I then choose from. It’s an Easter Egg in homage to the “Short Circuit” movies. “Derf” was the injured Johnny 5’s mis-speaking of Fred Ritter’s name.
The Fohens are a reptile-like people who evolved in a forested region of the planet Fohia. They have small, but noticeable, scales. Their skin has some random camouflage pattern of green and other colors. The pattern, size, and color is an individual characteristic.
They are humanoid. Adults are 3.5 to 4 feet tall. Compared to human proportions, they could be said to have an oversized head, scrawny arms and legs, and pot bellies. They have 5 fingers (including opposable thumbs) and toes. Ears may vary in size, but tend to be elf-like (pointed.)
Although Fohens are reptilian, they do have hair on their heads in a human pattern, except that there is no sexual dimorphism. Both sexes grow hair on their scalp and have facial moustaches and beards. Females, however, tend to wear their hair in styles different from males. Some females also remove their facial hair, especially their beards. Hair color is naturally greens and browns, but may be artificially colored.
The belly on both sexes appears to have a navel, but does not. This bellybutton-like feature is the Fohens’ genital opening. During sexual activity, the penis of the male extends from his genital opening and penetrates the female’s. Pregnant females give birth to a single infant after 6 months gestation. At birth, the infant’s head is smaller than the adult proportion (ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny) and the birthing process is much easier than with humans.
Since no provision must be made biologically for the birth of a baby with a big head, the large hips seen in humans are not present in Fohen anatomy. Nor do they have breasts since newborns are able to eat solid foods. As a result there is no external sexual dimorphism. Modern Fohens often show sexual differences by hair or clothing styles. Males and females can, however, be differentiated by distinct sexually specific scents. These are sometimes enhanced by the use of specific perfumes and herbal lotions.
Keep your fingers crossed. I may actually get around to writing the story one of these days.
Keep reading/keep writing – Jack