"I think people know," my lab assistant, Rob, did re-assure me on many the occasion, "People gotta know, right?"
Rob lay back, supine, in his officio chair such that his spine was dis-articulated, rigid, like the cuttle bone of the very smallest of squidkin.
"But, Rob, why have the many fiats, commandments, bulls and otherwise issued hitherto from these walls and atop this mighty tower hence gone unheeded?"
"Well," he spoke vacantly, breezily, like and unto the hollow reed who bends and thus cannot break, "You know, there's like lame duck shit to figure . . . that's . . ." he leaned back even further, a panic spreading across his face like pink flickering up the skin of an octopus that finds itself on the business end of a filthy sperm whale. He glanced about frantic, caught his own balance and sighed. Then he leaned back again, under the more control, and took the gaze of Sang, my Lab Director, direct into his malformed simian eye. "Sang . . . like, 'lame duck' is the shit that happens at the beginning of the term, yeah? When you're weak and shit?"
Sang grimaced, and to the farther shadows of the lab he scuttled.
"Hey," he called after our Sang, "Didn't you have to learn this shit for your goddam immigration test!" He slouched back into his chair, "Fuck; I learned this shit in Civics in high school. Fucking, lame duck, it's like . . . That . . ."
"Well, we're in, like, transition, dig?"
"I am not a deformed water fowl. The peoples Americanum know that I am not a deformed water fowl, yes? Please to make the assurances, Rob, for I am becoming most vexed!"
"No, it's not like—"
"Is the velocitator not clear in its presentation of my true form? Do they, the metal see and think, this creature does remind me most of a club-footed Mallard, crooked of the neck and drooling?"
"Shit!" He stood up.
"Why have they not bowed to my decrees, Rob? My Presidential Decrees? It was a gentle morn just one week past, afore you and the other stinkchimps of the lab arrived, I did shout into the breaking dawn that never forth shall any basketballerro be obliged to go unarmed, be he upon the field of b-ball battle, or in the casual execution of his days and ways, and yet nonetheless my own dear Pistonios of Detroit were just this last Friday obliged to resort to coarse fisticuffs rather than spraying those vile Indian Pacers with hot lead from their loyal sidearms. Why do they, the webbed footed creature, see in me."
"I'm not talking to you when you are like this. We fucking talked about this."
"Rob, you do not think me like unto white Muscovite male waddling through the mud with the hip dysplasia, unable to issue even the simplest demand or fatwah?"
"No, goddamn it, that isn't the point!"
"Then why do they not heed my decriminalization of suicide? Why have none participated in Cellophane Trouser Tuesday? There have been three such Tuesdays, and I've not to seen nor received any indication of any compliance! You yourself have failed to—"
At this point, our hapless, certified public accountant, Mr. Leeks, did enter, drawing with his motion my momentary pique.
"Were we not to Harvest you greater than a month ago, to soothe the hunger of the ardent OctoBear?"
And he did execute a neat button-hook of a turn, and exit as he had entered.
"Lord A., dude, chill the fuck out! Maybe the problem is that you go around issuing your orders and shit all willynilly. This Presidential shit can't be all haphazard. Look, you haven't even, like, addressed the fucking nation, yet. Shit, it's been, like, three fucking weeks. Kerry gave his I-fucking-lost-'cause-my-head-looks-like-a-mutherfucking botox-frankenpeanut speech, Bush-o conceded with a shrug, and you ain't said shit, officially. Totally shit form, if you ask me. Suveer's already over the whole John Kerry losing thing. We watched the new Star Trek on Friday and everything. Crap, I dunno if people even realize . . . it's like they've got no President comin' up in January."
Horror struck was I, "I have been delinquent in my duties!" I did gasp.
"And you told me not! You are to blame!"
"Negative; that was all . . . um . . . Leeks. Leeks was on that, and he blew it."
"Leeks," I nodded of the headsac, long having suspected such treachery and incompetence.
"Well, that we shall address further, later rather than sooner. We must prove to these simpering curs, our noble electorate, that I am their master and that they can no longer ignore the majesty of my own power."
"Well, the standing President—" light, by all appearances, did dawn within Rob's cranium, "Who's the 'lame duck'! That's what it fucking means! The guy on the way out, they call him the 'lame duck'; Bush is the mutherfuckin' lame duck!" He marvelled upon his brilliance, momentarily. "Anyway, that twit-whit just pardoned a couple of turkeys."
"No, like, real fucking turkeys. Kibbles and Bitts, or some shit like that. He does it every year."
And then I recalled, the foodbird pardoning of the Thanks-to-Giving one year past. Having not taken close note of the news item, I had taken this commuting of sentence to have been in exchange for certain sexual favors. This, I now see, was in error.
"Rob, I too shall make my first presidential—"
"Pre-presidential, dude; you ain't Commander-n'-Thief until January, when they swear your freaky ass in."
"Yes, my first pre-presidential pardon. Please take down the following, to be disseminated as widely as possible:
In Humble Thanks,
I Remain Your Ruler-to-Be
Your Giant Squid
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Copyright (c) 2000, 2004, David Erik Nelson, Fritz Swanson, Morgan Johnson