Cast your memories back, dear readers, to several weeks ago, when I undertook a transformation of soul to become the one now and forever known as Candidate Squid. Shortly after that point, while engaged in conversing with lab-monkey-assistant Man-Rob the realization overtook me that I shall need to "complete my ticket" by "running a fetching Veep."
I required a Vice President.
Often, I have been told, Vice Presidents are picked for many reasons: they balance the diversity of the President; they offer advice and gravitas; they make the populace so fearful of rule by President-vice, that the President-elect becomes all but immune from assassins (witness Danny the Quale— small flightless fowl set to replace you in case of outrageous fortune? Sheer genius!); or, as in the case of our Vice-President au currant Penis Cheney, they scheme and profit and fatten their personal coffers at the expense of both our nation and nations abroad. A slightly more opaque species of genius, to be sure.
It is a sad time for patriots as I.
I sought to do away with these schemes and crass manipulations, and let you, the persons of America and the Interweb, choose the mate with which I shall run.
And you voted, and the winner was: Galactus, Devourer of Worlds.
And I did say: "Rob, call for me this Galactus, Devourer of Worlds, and make unto him mine offer true. Tell him that he is to be my mate, and if he refuses tell him how I devoured that Golden Labradorio dog this morning. And when you tell him of the devouring, please linger on your description of the sounds the labradorio made, the grunts and squeals and whelp-yelps. Also the splatter of blood, and the bursting of the eye. These will impress him much. Tell him of the whines, the rends, the splintering of bone. We must convince this Galactus that I am a satisfying mate for him."
And Rob did say: "Okay, so y'know, uhh, Emperator Lord Architeuthis, that Galactus is, like, fictional, right? I mean, he doesn't exist. He's all fictive and shit."
"Nonsense. You speak without first engaging your brain-pan, Man-Rob."
"It's just, Rob, dude—uh, I mean— Lord A of the Deep Above."
"I have read of Galactus in these magazines you purchase every month. I read of them all, you know. Barnabus holds them up to the glass in the evenings, and turns the pages upon my cue. I read the Harpers, the New Yorker, the Nation, the Newsweek, the X-Men, the Fantastical Four, the Time, the People, the Spider-Man— not to mention your anatomical photojournals stored behind the lowermost drawer of the taupe filling cabinet in the backmost corner of your cubiculum. Print is a disgraced, but not disgraceful, form of media, but it conveys the news nonethelessly. And a President who is a man-of-people must be aware of his constituents, their lives and times!"
"Uhh. Okay. But— shit, how do I explain— often there are lies in those, erm, printed media sources."
"Rob, I am not some freshly spawned minor teuthis, hatched only yesterday. I have spent many cycles in this world. I am well aware that media is often full of the manipulation and the spin. But people are not invented, Rob. There truly exists a President Bush, correct?"
"And there is also a Catharine Zeta-Jones, is there not?"
"So there is also a Galactus and a Reed Richards. We will contact this devourer through the masthead in this magazine. Posthaste!"
And Man-Rob did call Marvel, and was put on hold for a very long time. And Marvel did then tell Rob: "We're sorry but [long pause] Galactus can't come to the phone right now. You should try back later." And hung up.
And I then scolded Rob: "Rob! By nature mammals are spined creatures, but one would not know it by observing your telephonic behavior. You are as bold as an anemone, and weak as kelp. Kelp, Rob. Kelp."
And Rob did pout, and make monkey faces and storm from the tank room: "Fine. Whatever dude. I gotta mop some shit up down in the garage anyways. Those "Belgians" long meaninglessly meaningful look toward my intern, the fair Molly Reynolds, "keep making messes all over the place. I'm gonna buy 'em colostomy bags if this keeps up." And then, over his shoulder, he did shout: "Why don't you try and call Galactus?"
Again, it became obvious to me. The first lesson I learned on the surface: never trust a supposedly-spined mammal to do the chore of a cephalopod.
I called Mar-Vel comics.
And I did say: "Receptionist-man, I shall not take of the guff from you. You shall transfer me to Galactus with all the speed you slow, land-slugging creatures can muster! And pain shall be upon you if I am forced to listen to fretful hold music for more than thirty seconds!"
And the Reception-man did say: "Okay. Galactus, huh? Just one moment."
I began to count. And at roughly fifteen moments later a voice said: "Hi, uh, citizen. Galactus here."
And my hearts swelled in my chest, and I knew I had found a kindred spirit. He, too, was an alien in this human world. He, too, had appetites for which he was ocassionally teased or reviled. he, too, addressed others as 'citizen'. This, dear readers, was surely Vice Presidential material.
"Greetings, Sky-Maw!" I wished, as a television personality upon the late night, like the Billy Mays or the Ron of the Poe-peel, to subdue him with the power of my voice, so into the phone I projected the full power of my amplifier.
" . . . (christ, Pete, do I have to talk to this kid? He's, like blasting his voice through a vocoder or something) . . . "
"To whom do you murmur about the coding, Galactus, devourer of worlds, destroyer of sky-empires, master of the terrible up-space? I have called you for a most profound favor and honor."
"Uh . . . Mine ears . . . my ears? Mine ears desire . . . want . . . wish? uh . . . be more quiet?" he asked. "Citizen," he added. "I wish for you to be more quiet."
I curled my hunting arms inward, and presented my cephalitic sack at an angle as though to give the impression of slight, but honorable submission. And then I laughed, for I was doing this on the telephonic device and he could not see the fluctuating pink around the bunched skin of my eye-sockets.
"What? What's so funny."
"Ah, to apologize," I murmured low enough to please the Star-Crosser, "it is of a thing to which you must be present to understand."
"So . . ." there was a whistling on his end, of air rushing through an empty office, and rustling of papers on a desktop, and the squeaking of a single un-oiled caster on the floor. " . . . So . . ."
Molly stood far off in a cubicle on the other side of the lab. She peered across the great distance at me in my tank, staring through the arch of two doors and past six empty cubicles. We were preparing for an entire staff for my upcoming campaign, and so these cubes of the office had been erected over the end-week by Sang and Robert. When my optically perfect eye caught her gaze, Molly sank back down into her cubicular space, away from my powerful gaze.
"Right. Galactus is very busy. So, uh . . . what can I do for you . . . uh . . . son? Citizen?"
"Indeed! To the apologizing hence. I have called on most urgent business. Are you not Galactus, Devourer of Worlds? Are you not he who destroyed the systems of the sky? Who has defied the age of stars and stood against the great Celestials themselves? Do you not grasp the fate of men in one hand, like a careless thing? Are you not older still than the space of the universe itself, a vagabond from some unreachable past before all had yet come to be? Do you not carry within your eyes-trap, your lordly mind, the images of the manifold expanse of history itself; the flaring of stars, and their snuffing, the coalescing of planets and their crumbling destruction? Are you not Galactus!?"
" . . . (shit, Pete, get in here. This kid is freaky! Pete, where's Mr. Quesada? Didn't he say to call somebody if things got, you know, weird?) . . ."
Sang shuffled past the door, his lab coat billowing out. He held a cup of tea, and then he was gone, Professor Chimples draped over one of his shoulders. The good professor appeared to be a pack for the back, but Sang, in one of his more active discussions, defended the person-hood of this zippered and gaping chimp, and I relented, as the requested salary for Professor Chimples was not unreasonable. I marvel every day at the delusions under which humans insist of operating. There is a "God" in their heaven, and a "Christ" on their earth, "good deeds" are "rewarded", and gentleness is "respected." Pfah!
"So, uh, citizen?"
"Yes. Galactus! Forgive me. My mind to wandering has gone. Will you run with me? I am to the presidency bound! My readership has chosen you to be my Vice-President! It shall be grand. We shall devour the world, you with your great gloved hands, and I, writhing, a mass of tentacles and razor sharpness, death itself set free upon the dry land, the water no longer a prison but instead my staging point for the final war in which all mankind shall kneel to our power!"
The phone dropped away, and distantly I could hear Galactus bellowing out.
"(Mother fucker! Good god damn! I am so sick of this shit. Do you hear me bull-pen. Just because I am the mother fucking intern doesn't mean I don't have any goddamn dignity. Yeah, you, computer-color guy. Who do you think you're kidding hiding their behind that god damn screen? Do you hear this bellowing death-shit coming from this phone? Do you see how angry I am? I quit. I don't care about the muther-fucking credits! Good night!)"
There was rustling and slamming and swishing. A door fell closed with an air of absolute finality. Then there was mumbling. The mumbling approached the fallen phone.
"(What do you want to do?)"
"(Shit, I don't know. Who was that kid?)"
"(He worked on Iron Man.)"
"(Yeah, he, like, specially requested that.)"
"(No shit? Not an X-Men kid?)"
"(So, what should we do?)"
"(Wait. Iron Man? Is he the kid who broke the fax machine?)"
"(Damn. On his first day, too. Poor kid.)"
"(Fuck the kid. I had shit to fax that day. And you saw the meltdown. Whoever is on the other end of this phone is gonna sue the shit out of everyone. Out of the goddamn world. I want to sue people.)"
"(Damn. Bankruptcy again.)"
"(Shut up. I'm picking up the phone.)"
"(Just hang it up. Hang it up!)"
Relief. Direct contact. I flared my arms in joy and asked, "To where has Galactus retreated?"
"Uh . . . (Shit, this guy really is crazy!)"
"(Hang it up! Hang it up! We're all getting sued!)"
"Uh . . . so, Galactus is, like . . . on a mission?"
"(You are such an asshole! Hang it up!)"
"Well. Hmph. I suppose I must understand."
"Are we, uh, cool?"
"My temperature is not at issue, and your temperature is entirely unknown to me. Do you know the telephonic code of one Ralph Na-Dar? He is the second upon my list."
And the phone went dead.
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Copyright (c) 2000, 2004, David Erik Nelson, Fritz Swanson, Morgan Johnson