FIRST VOICE [DAVE NELSON, SUB-EDITOR, PMjA]: Mol-Mol-Bo-Boll, you seen this? [sound of papers rattling]
SECOND VOICE [MOLLY REYNOLDS, INTERN, PMjA LABROTORIES]: What's that, Mr. Nelson?
DN: Dave. This: "colossal squid caught in Antarctic waters; first example of Mesoneye— Mesoni—"
MR: Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni?
DN: Yeah, thanks, "Mesoniko-whatever hamilton retrieved virtually intact from the surface of the ocean. "
THIRD VOICE [The Giant Squid]: WHAT IS TH—
DN: Hey! Volume!
GS: Apologies. What is this you speak of?
MR: We used to talk about the collosal squid a bit, back at Woods Hole, but as I recall they'd only ever recovered a few tentacles and such from the stomachs of sperm whales.
GS: "Colossal" squid?
DN: Yeah, well, that's changed. This dude O'Shea, he's got a whole one. "It really has to be one of the most frightening predators out there" quoth Doc O'Shea.
DN: Would I lie to you?
MR: Yes, I believe you would.
GS: "Colossal" squid?
DN: Well, I'm not about this. Check it out: "Now we can say that it attains a size larger than the giant squid. Giant squid is no longer the largest squid that's out there. We've got something that's even larger, and not just larger but an order of magnitude meaner."
DN: And there's an info-graphic. Check it out, GS; you're twice as big as a double-decker bus.
MR: God, well, I guess that's just not that big. Look at the colossal. THis infant they caught was, what? Two meters?
DN: Uhh, says here that the mantle— that's the head part?
DN: Is, like, two-and-a-half meters— bigger than any giant squid seen so far. Architeuthis dux maxes out at, what, two meters?
GS: Architeuthis dux frequently reach three meters or more!
MR: More like two and a quarter.
GS: I am yet young! Much shall I lengthen.
DN: GS is, like, two?
MR: A little less, but, yes. More or less. But this colossal: 2.5, and only an adolescent?
DN: Yeah, or so says Dr. McShanty. Like, half-grown. Imagine that. I mean, that whole damn thing, it wouldn't even fit in this room, let alone the tank.
GS: The tank is indeed quite crowded! Soon I shall demand expansions! Additions! Refurbishments!
DN: The infographic makes it out to be, like, three times the size of a double-decker, and that's with the hunting tentacles curled back to strike. GS, check this shit out. This guy totally dwarfs you.
GS: Not so! Not so!
DN: Sure it is! Look at the infographic! Hell, you're sperm whale sized. This guy— man! And look at this, did you know this shit Mol? Listen: "When this animal was alive"— McShanty the Squidologist is saying this— "When this animal was alive, it really has to have been one of the most frightening predators out there. It's without parallel in the oceans." Without parallel!
MR: I'll say.
DN: It goes on: "This squid has one of the largest beaks known of any squid"— and I thought GS had a mouth on him!— "and also has unique swivelling hooks on the clubs at the ends of its tentacles." Hey, GS, why don't you have swiveling hooks.
GS: I am indeed possessed of such!
DN: No you aren't!
GS: Indeed I am!
DN: I'm looking right at you, and you don't have any freaky swivel hooks.
GS: I do indeed! I do indeed!
MR: Mr. Nelson . . .
DN: No you don't!
GS: I AM GREAT AND TERRIBLE! I REND! I DESTROY! I AM THE VERY PINNACLE OF THE DEEP! I AM THE ZENITH OF THE NADIR!
DN: No, dude, you aren't! You're crazy and freaky and huge and dangerous, but you clearly aren't the top of the line. Look at the infographic!
MR: Mr. Nelson . . .
GS: I WILL NOT! I WILL NEVER!
DN: Quite being a little bitch—
DN: Do it, Squidgette!
GS: COLOSSAL SQUID!?!
MR: Dave! Please! You're upsetting him!
DN: Christ! NO I'm not. He's a big squid and he's just— where the hell is he?
DN: Where the hell did he go?
DN: (quietly) crap
[28 seconds of blank tape]
MR: Oh. Near the back, see? In the corner?
DN: Yeah. Shit.
Attentive reader James Yoder of Amana, Iowa writes: "Wait, I'm confused. How the hell is it that you chanced to record this particular exchange?" I record all of my conversations. —Dave
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Copyright (c) 2000, 2004, David Erik Nelson, Fritz Swanson, Morgan Johnson