This is Tom, by the way, Chief Technician here at our Cincinnati branch.
The Giant Squid is under observation this week at Ohio State University's marine biology lab. He's been having some problems.
Yesterday, while I was checking on a few gauges in the back of the containment facility— the Room, we call it— I saw him weeping (is this the right word?). His skin was a somber blue, and it was all bumpy. Like he had squid goosebumps, or hives. We have no idea what happens, physiologically speaking, to a squid that is depressed. Maybe that's why they built this. Who can know?
A true thing: the squid was weeping uncontrollably, his tentacles vibrating like rattlesnakes.
When I checked the tanks, it turned out that the nitrogen feed had been tampered with. The gauge had been adjusted so that the nitrogen concentration would increase steadily. Every day, a bit more nitrogen. Every day, a bit more toxic to the GS.
Someone is trying to kill him. Someone snuck around the Squid, and squeaked the valves. Who would do this? Who is so fearless? Was it, perhaps, another assassin? Was it an accident, maybe? What if the Squid, one day while lecturing and ranting and waving his tentacles (some of them are as thick as two men, you can't imagine the awful fear when they grip you and hold you up to that inscrutable eye) accidentally knocked one of the little dials, cracked the glass housing . Maybe one of the other technicians isn't what he seems. Maybe all of this pressure is getting to me, too.
As an aside:
I've worked with so many great people here: Erik Warren, with his laughably mis-matched feet; Sang Hsien, who always had a kind word on his lips, and a warm hug in his heart; Mary Jackson, and her indefatigable wit. All of them gone now. Crushed by the pressure, stabbed by that black and purple beak, a beak that can puncture even our heavy, pressure-resistant suits... Oh, and promoted: EW got promoted. (Bastard... I fall asleep each night with the words "Fire Island" on my lips and the faint, delicate glow of a South Seas sunset behind my eyes...)
The squid is so crafty, luring you closer with whispers and promises and moans...
The funny thing is, you never blame him. His favorite hour-long drama gets preempted on cable TV so he lashes out and tears the arm off the new girl's suit. The pressure kills her before you even see the red mist floating in the water. You do more interviews. Hire some more. You might as well blame a thunder storm, or the color green. You'll get just as much sympathy.
We're all sad, honest, that the GS is laid up, but, well . . .
with him gone, it's a lot less scary around here.
But, um, well— it's— I mean, the show must go on, right?
The Wolverine, while it attacked the Moose, did not go for a quick kill. He didn't tear at the throat, or rip out its belly. No. He hamstrung it (tore the tendons on its back legs) with his jaws. Then, and herein lies my question to you, he proceeded to methodically eat the hindquarters of the beast. Chew chew chew. I swear the wolverine even stopped to examine the pain-contorted face of the Moose. I swear he enjoyed the suffering.
Giant Squid, I had been told all my life that only humans were capable of sadism. That only humans killed for sport. Is this wrong? Are there any evil animals?
All I'm saying is that that was awful too, but this thing with the wolverine— I mean, damn. That's . . . that's real awful.
You know there's a guy in the comic books, he's called Wolverine. I think he's Canadian. I guess, um, I guess that maybe that doesn't really have any bearing on your question. Sorry. You know, this is a hell of a lot harder than it looks.
But, about animals, about them being, like, sadistic? My uncle, he told me that same thing, always, that only humans killed for fun, for revenge, for love and rage and . . . for anything. For everything.
Of course, I know better now.
Shit. I'm sorry. I'm not good at this, but the other techs, they won't do it. they say it's 'cause I type faster, but really, really I think it's 'cause they're scared. Scared that when he comes back, he'll be angry. He is always so angry.
I'm typing, and all I can think—
He's awful, the Squid. You know that? Yeah, you know that. Anyone would know that. And I dunno, I dunno if I'm scared of him or not, because, when he's here . . .
When he's here I'd chew off my arm not to be touched by his horrible tentacles, with the razor edged suckers and the . . . but, when I'm not here, I wonder what he's thinking, what he's watching, what he's planning. What he's knowing. Does that make sense to you? It doesn't to me. Not to me it doesn't.
Oh shit. I can't believe he does this, every week. How does he do this?
Love the Giant Squid? Buy his first book.
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