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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Copyright (c) 2000, 2004, David Erik Nelson, Fritz Swanson, Morgan Johnson