Here’s a tasteful little story, which Harry Harrison has occasionally referred to in interviews, using the title ‘I Ate a Pygmy.’ This ‘true’ adventure was made up by HH and collaborator Hubert Pritchard, and the accompanying photograph – not for the squeamish! – was also faked by the two of them. The human arm was modelled in clay by Pritchard, I think, and the photograph was taken by HH, who carefully adjusted the focus so that the image was slightly blurred. The arm was then covered with a ten cent can of stew, which Harrison and Pritchard were intending to eat once the photoshoot was completed – but the image they created was so revolting that they lost their appetites for stew!
The Unholiest Banquet
by ‘Hugh Fitzpatrick’ [Harry Harrison & Hubert Pritchard] (1958)
My heart hammered a loud echo in my ears as George knocked on the front door. We were at, a house in the most fashionable section of Leopoldville, going to a dinner party. Any other time, I would have been relaxed and probably bored. Now I was keyed up, excited. This dinner party was going to be very different.
A trap in the door opened suddenly and a man looked out. He didn’t say a word, just looked us up and down with a cold glare. George leaned forward and whispered something to him – the door swung open.
We walked in and gave the butler our coats, then joined the small group in the living room. They were all from the very upper strata of African society. The men wore tuxedos, the women were dressed in low-cut evening gowns. We talked together politely, but we were scarcely aware of what we said. All of our attention was focused on the closed entrance to the dining room. It seemed hours before the butler threw open the doors and announced dinner.