[This amalgam of two rants, from issues #65 and #73 of Poor Mojo's Almanac(k) (originally published in early and mid-2002), marks the first meeting of Rob Miller and the Giant Squid, and are a poignant reminder that all is impermanence, apart from our affection for foul language and grammar jokes, which are Eternal. Amen.]
So I'm staying in Dearborn with m'man Suveer, right? Dearborn is like 100% Arab—folks are all from Lebanon and Palestine and shit. It's the biggest population of Arabs in the world, outside of the Middle East. Fucked up. I mean, there are fucking streets you go down—less than a mile from Henry Ford Community College (if that isn't the most whitebread name for an institution of higher learning, I dunno what the fuck is)—where all the signs on stores and shit are in nothing but Arabic. The food is fucking fantastic.
But, if shit was always kinda cooky in Dearborn, it's been, like, 1000 times weirder since September 11. Like, everyone here is an immigrant, or the kid of an immigrant, naturalized and shit, and every single one is flying the ole Red-White-and-Blue from their porch. I mean, out in the suburbs where everyone is really white as fuck, like Daughters of the American Revolution and shit, maybe every 4th house has a flag. But here, in Snowy Baghdad, it's every fucking place. I mean, this doesn't have shit to do with shit, but, like, for example, I was in the line at this grocery two days ago, getting some hummus and shit, and it was, I dunno, like 4:30, and so I was stoned and sorta zoning out, just staring at the back of the head of the guy ahead of me, really old fucker. He turns around, and BAMN, looking right in my eyes. I guess I must have looked freaky, 'cause all the color dropped out of his face, and he, like, stuttered and sputtered and shit, and then he says "I love America! I hate Osama bin Laden!" and started singing "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy." It was the weirdest fucking thing. I'm all "Dude, chill out," and the clerk is all "What the hell are you hassling him for?!?" and I'm just "Man, he's fucking wiggin on me! Help!" And the clerk just sighs and like comes over to the old guy, patting his shoulder and muttering.
But that's not the fucked up part. On the way out, I pass these two guys standing by the door in suits—I mean, these are the fucking whitest white guys that were ever white—blue suits, wingtips, tons of, like, mousse in the hair, sunglasses. And those little, single headphone jobs screwed into their ears.
Feds, man. I swear to fucking god.
And, so I'm in my ride, about to back out the lot, and I see them catch hold of that old guy as he's walking out of the store, and lead him over to the alley. The old guy, his head is swiveling around like mad, and his jaw is going a mile a minute. I roll down my window, right, and all I can hear is "God Bless America." Fucked up.
But, you know, whatever. It's Ramadan and shit, so folks are fasting all day—they get pretty fucked up by late afternoon, is all I'm saying.
But none of this shit really has anything to do with my fucked up new job.
See, I was like this up-and-coming acid dealer, right? I hadn't really ever sold anything, except for a hit here and there to pals, but I saw this movie, Requiem for a Dream, and the dudes in that—well, they were like shooting coke or H or something . . . I mean, they did all sorts of crazy shit, and weed and pills and E and whatever, but in the beginning, they're like shooting up and talking about how what they should do is scrape up some cash and buy a big piece of pure, and then cut it themselves and, you know, sell it and make big.
So I was stoned off my ass, and watching this movie—and, man, never do that: there's this freaky scene where the guy's mom is wigging on pills and the fridge, like, comes alive and growls and makes a go for her—FUCKED UP!!!
But, I'm watching the movie stoned, and I'm like "Shit, I don't do H, but I like acid. I should do this shit." And I look over at my cat—I have this siamese cat—and he like gives me this look, like, "Yeah." And I'm like "Totally" and the cat's like "You know the score, baby. Go for it."
The cat didn't really talk. I'm not a fucking loon. But he gave me this look. If you've got a cat, you know what I mean.
Yeah . . .
So, the next day, I call my pal, Dale, who hooks me up with acid, and he doesn't want any part of the plan, but says he'll take me to see the guy he buys from, as long as I pay for lunch. What he doesn't tell me is that his connection is way the fuck out in the suburbs, like in Farmington or some shit. So, I have to drag our asses to fuck and gone—and in the suburbs people drive like such shit. You wouldn't believe it. Like, in Detroit and Ferndale and shit, everyone drives really fucking fast, but that's it. But, in the suburbs, they're all over the road, swerving, no turn signals, blowing through lights, racing through parking lots—it's in-fucking-sane, like they all think they're in NYC or some shit.
But, so, we haul our asses to, like, Farmington and I buy him lunch in this greasy shit-hole hamburger joint. I'm no pansy vego-freak, but how Dale can stand putting that shit in his body is, like . . . man.
So, we finally get to his connection's place, and it's this nice little middle-class place with a SUV in the driveway, and I'm like, "Shit, man, these dealers make out OK." Turns out it's his folks place and "Tommy" is down basement.
But, so, Tommy is like, listen: I've got sheets and sheets of this crazy clean triple-dip shit. It'll easily sell for, like, $10 a hit, right? I'll let you buy a sheet for, like, $750, and we'll be on our merry way.
But, of course, I don't have $750. I mean, I'm smoking other guys' roaches and shit.
So, Tommy is like, fuck it, I'll front the sheet, but you better come back here with a grand, then, and we can work out the split then. Capisce?
And I'm like, what the fuck's with "Capisce"? Your fucking name is Dindorff, dude! And he's all like take the fucking sheet, shut your goddamn mouth and get the fuck out of here. Meet me in the parking lot of the Big K on Orchard Lake Road in a week with my money.
So, I've got a hundred hits of grade-A acid. I can't very well sell that kinda quantity just to buds and well-wishers, especially at this inflated $10-a-tab price. But I've got this other pal, TG, who's like this DJ (calls himself, like, "DJ Squeegee" or "DJ Dust Mop" or some shit), and he's playing this big rave-thang down in Detroit. I figure "Shit, I'll have no problem unloading this shit to a bunch of suburban candy kids for, like, whatever price I want"—like in that movie Go, right? Where those chicks get the E, and then have to flush it down the shitter to dodge the cops, and then have to make the cash back, on account their dealer had fronted the E, and so they boost a bunch of cold pills and shit and sell it to mom's-mini-van-borrowing teenies as E? Easy, right?
And there's that crazy smooth black guy in that movie with that, you know, yellow jacket. I love that fucking guy. I mean love.
And also there's a talking cat in that movie. I mean, that cat doesn't really talk, but he gives you this look, you know what I'm saying?But, so, I get there, and it's in this old warehouse and, BAMN, the cops are already busting it up and I get picked up because I have this unpaid parking ticket on my Grand Marquis. The cops pat me down, come up with the sheet, and it's off to the fucking Cop Shop, if you can believe it. I get stuck in a holding cell with, like, fucking winos and shit for 4 hours, but they can't charge me, right, on account they test the shit and there's nothing on the fucking blotter. Yeah, that's right—the mama's boy fuck had sent me out with a sheet of fucking nothing and expected me to come up with a grand.
So I show up at the Big K parking lot, right, and I'm, like, fucking steaming out my ears and shit. I'm all, like, "What the fuck is the deal with this bunk-fuck acid you pass off on me?!?" and Tommy and his cousin got all like "Fuck that—it wasn't bunk when we gave it to you. Just 'cause some acid bunked on you, that's not our problem. We're still out a grand in equity."
Bunked? Who the fuck's ever heard of acid "bunking" out? I mean, the shits chemicals and shit—it's either bunk when they make it, or it isn't. I mean, it's fucking LSD, not fine wine.
But these fuckers wouldn't relent, they were all "Get us our goddamn grand!" and I was all "fuck that—where the fuck am I getting a grand?" and they were like "We don't fucking care—just fucking get it, faggot."
And, while we're on the subject, I just want you to know that I'm not a faggot. And I also don't like folks talking that way, using faggot as an insult, on account my cousin Elroy is a fucking pansy, and it breaks his Dad's heart, but he still isn't a bad guy. Faggot? Man, fuck that.
But, at any rate, it didn't really matter, because these assholes were gonna fuck my shit up one way or the other, bunk or not. Before I could get out of that parking lot, this big fat fuck, Tommy's cousin, jumped me, and Tommy Fucking Dindorff (man, talk about faggots! Guy dresses like he's the white, suburban Michael Jackson! I mean, who the fuck wears a gold satin shirt?) fucking smashed my left pinky with a ball-peen hammer.
A fucking hammer!
So, yeah, they either mean business or have been watching too many Joe Pesci movies. Or, like, both.
But, so, I get back to the apartment, and lay this big tale of woe on Suveer, and he's all like, "Listen, my lab partner"—Suveer's taking classes at Wayne State—"knows this Chinese guy who's looking to hire a lab assistant. It really isn't anything more complicated than dishwashing and crap—you can do that. Besides, it pays really well."
And I am all like, dude, I don't know if I wanna work in a drug lab. Whadda they make? And Suveers all, "It's not like that—it's a legit lab." And, well, long story short, we smoked a bowl and he wrote down his lab partners cell phone number and pinned it to my shirt, so I'd remember to call. Turns out that this Chinese dude, he's got his lab at the top of the Renaissance Center. Can you figure that? Nuts. Anyway, he takes one look at me, and is like "Yes, you are hired. Do not touch switches. Speak to no one of the confidential work that is done here. Start by mopping floors and cleaning glass."
So, for the longest time, I can't figure what the hell they do in this lab. There's all sorts of mad-crazy equipment, electronic stuff, with blinking lights and robotic arms and crabs—real no-shit I ain't fooling crabs that crawl, like, all over the fucking place—and no chemicals, and this fucking HUGE ass aquarium tank with this unbelievably huge-ass octopus in it.
Weird, man. Weird as fuck.
But, I mean, my duties are just like, mopping up, cleaning the glass, carrying equipment from room to room and wearing a lab coat. And, shit, at $40 an hour, I can swab the decks and keep my mouth shut, right?
But that octopus—man, is that shit creepy. It has these eyes, huge fucking eyes big as LPs, and they just follow you, all over the room, no matter what you do or where you go, it's like the fucking Police song, the one they run in the soundtrack of Cat's Eye, during the "Quitters, Inc" section—Every move you make, every breath you take, I'll be watching you. Oh can't you see, you belong to me . . .
So, one day I'm scrubbing the glass—and there is some weird shit inside and out on that fucking tank—and I'm staring into the giant eye, that fucked up, huge, sees-it-all, owns-it-all EYE—and I hear this voice behind me, like the voice of fucking God—come booming up, saying "ROB, WHAT MIGHT YOU SAY IF I COMMENTED THAT YOU ARE INDEED A BEAUTIFUL SPECIMEN?"
I whip around, and my boss, the Chinese Dude, Sang, was standing there like round-eyed with shock. He stutters a little and then says, "I apologize. My secret is out of the bag. I am a ventriloquist. This is my ventrolquist act. We shall all be very famous, someday. Soon."
"YES" the speaker boomed "WE SHALL BE FAMOUS, FOR SANG IS A VENTRAL LOCUST. ADDITIONALLY, HIS MOTHER STINKS OF FEET AND SEMEN. HA HA HA."
The Chinese Dude grimaced, and was like "Yes. Our act progresses satisfactorily."
And, I mean, yeah, he was right. I didn't see his lips move, or his adam's apple go, or nothing.
But, so, yeah. That's my fucked up job: I keep the big fucking octopus alive for this Chinese Dudes fucked up act. I dunno how the hell he's gonna get that tank down to a stage. Maybe he's a ventriloquist who only does, like, stadium shows. The KISS of ventriloquists, or something.
And the crabs, they get inside my duffel sometimes and I find them, like, in my apartment. One actually got up on the couch this one time and was like, watching TV with me. Hogan's Fucking Heros. And I got up to go pack a bowl, and when I came back the fucking channel was changed and there's no way the damn crab did it, but still it's pretty fucked up.
But the wierdest thing is, like, after I changed it back to Hogan's Heroes, I'm sitting on the coach toking, and I swear to God the crab fucking turned around, fucking turned right the fuck around and looked me in th eye, and said "As-Salam-u-'Alaikum" and then, like, giggled.
And it sounded just like Shirley Fucking Temple. I mean, shit. That's just too fucking much, isn't it?2.
OK, so, remember my fucked up new job at the lab in the Renaissance Center? Working for that Chinese ventriloquist with the huge octopus? Yeah, well it is way more fucked up than I thought.
Check it: So, the other day, I doze off at work, right? I mean, no surprise: I smoke down at 4:20, so no doubt I'm gonna get a little mellow before I clock out at 6:00. When I first started, I'd like duck into one of the server closets and bed-down on some old busted down cardboard boxes for, like, 20 minutes in the afternoon. Just a catnap, right. No harm, no foul. Except that Chinese dude Sang, my supervisor, was totally uncool about me sleeping on the job. The prick. But, like, when nature rings the naptime bell, it isn't like you can shake your head and say "Sorry, Momma, China over there says I need to swab out the johns again."
But, so, what I came up with is if I work really fucking slow from lunch on, then Admiral Sang totally doesn't notice if I lean against the wall, pushbroom in hand, and catch a few Zs. It's fool-proof.
Well, mostly foolproof. 'Cause, like, just before Christmas, I woke up from my nap and it was totally dark in the lab, except for the lights in the big octopus's tank. I mean, like dead of night, and I'm like "Shit! I totally missed back-to-back Simpsons!" Plus Friends, plus Suveer's probably already made dinner and it's gonna be in the fridge when I get home. Which sucks. Suveer makes a mean goat vindaloo, right?, but that shit just isn't the same microwaved. Damn!
So, like, I'm totally all pissed off and shit. And then I hear this voice behind me, all, like, basso profundo and shit:
"ROB," it booms, "ROB, DRAW NEAR TO MY TANK."
And so I'm all like, "fuckin' a, I oversleep and work late, and now Sang-the-Bang is fucking with me," so I start sweeping, hardcore, with a quickness, and yell over my shoulder "What's that Mr. Sang? I got so into, like, floor maintenance that I totally lost track of time. Is it smoke break time yet?"
"YOUR RUSE, ROB, IS MOST PITIFUL."
"THE TRICK. YOU ARE NOT FOOLING ME, SLEEPING-HEAD."
And so I spin around, with the indignant shit, being all "I wasn't sleeping" and "how dare you accuse me of"—shit like that, except I don't get a chance, 'cause when I turn around there is no Sang, no nuthin' in the dark lab, except for me and the octopus, and the only light is the fluorescent blue that his tank glows, and the fucker, that huge fucker with his crazy eyes, he's looking right at me.
Creepy As Fuck. No doubt.
"Sang?" I ask, "where are you, bud? Do you got like another mic on the octopus-intercom or—"
"THERE IS NO SANG HERE. SANG HAS RETURNED TO HIS DOMICILE FOR THE EVENING, SO THAT HE MIGHT STIR AND FRY ASSORTED VEGETABLES FOR HIS MOTHER. SANG LOVES HIS MOTHER."
"Yeah, OK, I dozed off but . . . Sang—Sir . . . I'm really sorry, dude. But you totally have to cut this out. You're really freakin' me out."
"NO SANG, NOW, ROB. SIMPLY THERE IS YOU AND THERE IS I."
And I guess I sorta like wigged out, and started shouting and babbling. I dunno. I don't remember what I was saying, just shit like "stop being a freak" and "cut it with that freaky octopus shit" and shit like that—but that voice cut me off, it boomed out so loud it, like, fucked up my hearing. Like when you're at a show and the band is why amped up and then you leave and it sounds like someone cranked the bass up in your head.
"I SPEAK FOR MYSELF, OF MY OWN VOLITION. I AM NOT SANG, AND AM CERTAINLY NO OCTOPUS. I AM—"
And I mutter, like amazed, like totally fucking awed, "Holy fuck. You're a fucking space alien."
". . . AH, YES, INDEED, I AM. MY CAT HAS EXITED THE BAG. I AM A SPACE ALIEN, VISITING FROM ANOTHER WORLD. A TALKING SPACE ALIEN. DO YOU KNOW FROM WHERE I HALE, EARTHMAN ROB?"
"Mars. Totally has to be Mars."
"THAT IS LUDICROUS. THERE IS NO LIQUID WATER ON MARS, AND I CLEARLY MOST COMFORTABLY DWELL IN A WATERED TANK. IS THERE SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOUR LITTLE MONKEY BRAIN?"
"SILENCE, EARTHMAN. I AM FROM TREMULON-4, FAR ACROSS THE . . . GREAT AND, UM, VAST STRETCHES OF . . . THE PLUTONIAN RIMNOSPHERE, NEAR THE . . . OSCILLATING FAN, WHERE IN DWELL THE . . . VOLTAGE-CONTROLLED OSCILLATORS OF OSCILLIA-SCOP. YES, TREMULON-4. I AM LORD ARCHITEUTHIS OF TREMULON-4"
"Damn. And that's—"
"YES, A QUIMJILLION MILES FROM HERE."
"Quimjillion miles. Damn."
"YES. NOW, EARTHMAN ROB, LISTEN. I NEED YOUR HELP IN LEARNING THE . . . THE MYRIAD WAYS OF YOU EARTH DWELLERS. I MUST GATHER GREAT INTELLIGENCES VIZ A VIZ THE MAKING OF DIETS, THE QUITTING OF SMOKE, OF LOVE AND GETTING SOME AND ATTAINING THE LAY. I HAVE A GREAT AND NUMEROUS HUMANITY TO AID IN ITS SUNDRY PROBLEMS, BOTH GREAT AND DIMINUTIVE. YOU MUST JOIN ME IN THIS QUEST, ROB. YOU MUST BE MY MAN UPON THE GROUND, WITH EAR TO GRINDSTONE AND NOSE TO THE WALL. CAN I TRUST YOU WITH THIS . . . GRAND DUTY OF CATACLYSMIC IMPORT TO YOUR ENTIRE WORLD?"
"Dude, I'm totally with you 100%. I'm your earth goto guy. Totally."
"EXCELLENT. PLEASE NOW RETURN TO YOUR . . . SLEEPING UNIT, WHERE YOU MAY RELAX FOR AN INTERVAL BEFORE RETURNING TOMORROW MORNING TO CLEAN THE FOOD KENNELS."
And, I gotta say, it was totally an honor to be in Lord Architeuthis' presence, but the whole deal was a lot to swallow, and I desperately needed to smoke a bowl about then, but before splitting, I just had to say it "Dude, Lord Architeuthis, as, like, earth's totally devoted and enthusiastic ambassador, I'd like to welcome you to our planet. There are a lot of assholes, but it's still an OK place. Don't destroy it."
"INDEED. I SHALL AVOID EARTH'S WHOLESALE DESTRUCTION AT ALL COSTS. THANK YOU, EARTHMAN ROB. I AM QUITE HONORED TO BE YOUR GUEST."
And then I booked it out of the lab. And you know, I think he really did dig being on earth, 'cause all the way down the stairs (and there is a shit load of stairs, coming from the top of the Ren Cen), I could hear him laughing, giddy as a fucking schoolgirl.
At any rate, Lord Architeuthis has totally taken me under his wing—or, like, tentacle—and told me all of these stories about his space travels, and life on Rogain and Trintron and Paxil and the other bitchin' planets he's studied. He even sent his assistants, these talking crabs, home with me to "help in your education and elucidation into the myriad ways of the Universe Large." Yeah. Totally.
And the crabs, they're all, like, Yoda and shit. They're always telling me wise shit in their crazy fucked Shirley Temple voices, like:
Out beyond ideas of Wrong and Right there is a field, Rob. We'll meet you there.
Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan's Turret in a Noose of Light
and then they giggle. It's creepy as fuck.
But it's all cool. I haven't slept in, like, a six weeks. Not at night. Mostly me and the Three Wise Crabs chill in the kitchen from dusk til dawn. I eat my Wheaties and they stand on the table and tell me stuff.
It's really pretty OK. Lord Architeuthis tells me that, if I play my cards right, he'll take me to Tremulon-4 someday. The crabs say he's lying, but I think they're just fucking with me. Fucking crabs are jealous and shit.
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