Long have I dreamt of the time we spent together, so many moons past, lingering on the littoral, drunk on cheap wines grown no more than a season past on the hills of Provence...There was magic there. I was not the only one who felt it. The same moon still shines on both of us, angry crescent of milk...My loneliness rises like the seas, my need for you is as depthless and cold as the sea...Will you not come back to me?
Indeed, the world has aged and hardened since our follies were the talk of rural France. Did I ever explain to you that, had It not been for the unrequested kindness of that Rag-Headed Tinkerer, Nemo, we would never have been able to comes as close as we did? I do not believe I ever made the intricacy of this situation clear— after all, I was young and in love. You too were so young then, apple cheeked and wide eyed, only just having escaped that barbarous Nazi camp in the north of Germany— could you have ever grasped the iron lattice work of irony which caged and supported our love? C'est le monde, correct?
You did not know it at the time, but I had been press-ganged by that aged and insane Paki sub-captain as an Aide De Campe for his sorties into the Baltic Sea. We had been enlisted in the service of His Majesty yet again, much to the disgust of Nemo, and we were searching upon the Island of Ooland for the stone encased cabinet which held mighty Mjolnir.
Nemo was, by then, reduced to only possessing an upper left torso of man-meat— all the rest of his corpus was an elaborate clockwork and crystal proxy. He had an ulterior motive in ranging through the Baltic Sea. He knew quite well, as did anyone with his species of expansive memory and experience, that inside the chest, beside the dwarven-cast head of that mighty hammer, would also be found his salvation in the form of a sliver of Idunna's golden apple. And so, much to his disgust, the quest was accepted and I was drawn into service.
But that is all to the side (and perhaps behind.) Nemo and I had many a jolly adventure before we even came near Mjolnir's resting place. One afternoon, just after tea, we laid waste to the engineering plant in which Adolph Eichmann— inspired, diabolical nit that he was— had been constructing Templar Golems using a heterogeneous mixture of holy relics and caged rabbis, as well as the freshly dismembered components of willing SS men. The multi-limbed monstrosities roamed the cemeteries of Ooland at night, skittering as spiders, lumbering as aurochs, moaning and calling for their many wives who knew not what had been done— it dawned upon me, in those moments, that the pathetic sight, it was as though the prawnish kraut had been attempting to build a squid of men, a true ‹bermensch, putting HitLar's lame and limping dream to rest. But more important then that bloody nocturne of triumph was the moment I saw you, Francois.
Nemo sent me to the surface unwitting, trapped in a pressurized and multi-articulated iron suit, forged in the hot vents of the south Pacific deep and near the watchful eye of the R'lyeh Slumberer, my optically perfect eyes encumbered by the flawed glazing of the crystal port-holes. I had fixed in my mind the location of that most terrible of metal weapons, but it was with these squiggling, necrotic atrocities that I was beset upon, and so in a sluice of rage I was forced to spend my evening. They were powerful, but the binding, the stitching, the force of the gnosis, was weak. In truth it was a horrifying but monotonous task, as enervating as dismantling a thousand crabs. One by one they were dismembered, the "alephs" abraded, lacerated, causticated or flayed from their hands, transmorphing their "truth" into "dead." This Schlachthof-surgery was followed by several hours spent searching out Eichmann's copious, driveling notes, and immolating the slips of paper using the flame-thrower so kindly installed by the gentleman from Calcutta.
But amongst all of this carnage I saw you, sneaking through the blood slicked hallways of the lab, and there was a way that the light caught your lip, or flickered about your eyes, the power of my flame thrower creating in you a thousand visages of beauty, and I hastened to complete my task so that we might talk.
The hammer sat below twenty feet of ancient Swedish earth, the apple as well, as fresh as Nemo expected, and both were quickly stowed away in my surface-suit. And then I turned and stalked through the night only to find you forty yards out in the icy waters of the North. I let you flail for a time in the briny waves, and I laughed at your adorable struggle against the natal currents of my youth. Ah... Francois... even then we could not have known the depth of my love, but already it was becoming exposed.
You were weak, dazed, hungry, and so when I scooped you up in my iron encased, multi-articulated tentacles you immediately swooned. So like the monkey fragility of your kind, and yet so exquisitely lovely in your own way. I stowed you with the hammer and the apple in my armor, and together we dove, faster and more terribly far into the deep, amongst the encrusted amber and oxygen-depleted water of the Baltic. Finally we approached the Nautilus from above as it hid amongst an outcropping of stone. Eels snaked across its ebony surface, throwing up blue sparks as the darted away.
I docked with the Nautilus, cargo bay to cargo bay, and there was a rush of depressurization, for an instant, as the contents of my suit's hold were evacuated, you included dear Francois.
The feeling was almost . . . not quite, but almost so akin to . . . to—
Oh, but Nemo's rage was so sweet that night. Struggling across the floor of the ship, bringing down conch shells as big as dogs to shatter upon the teak flooring of the deck. All of the anger focused into his one remaining good arm. And you, as I watched through one of the portholes, bemused and in good health, unsure of where you were, but positive as to the humor of this partial man, encased in technology and spheres of crystal, crying as a child and cursing over-loud in Hindi. The weight of that golden apple in your stomach, it was immense and it caused you to glow with renewed power and immortality. And I saw as Nemo struggled vainly to lift Mjolnir so that he might destroy you, and it sent through me a joy and I laughed so loud that a thousand whales died that night.
And then we were in France, supping with the nuns of St. Etienne, trundling the streets of Lyon late at night, laughing, giggling, hand in tentacle... me in my iron, multi-articulated surface supermersible, you in your new suit and hat provided by the Vichy occupational government, Nemo, half mad, clutching, as an infant might, the encrusted hammer-head of Ancient Thor, weeping for his lost youth and for the ever-absence of his dear Ganges, with all of her rich smells and promise.
Ah, Francois, now that you have shuffled off the mortal coils of Government and false age, now that you have dismantled your own illusions and declared for your country your own death, now that you are free to sink among the waves, to bury your indestructible body for a thousand years in Benthic ooze, it is finally time for you to return to me. Seek me out in old New France. I live along the river in a mighty tower. We might yet find our love fresh if you but hurry now. Quickly, Francois. Quickly. I feel even now that things might change in me. But a moment separates my love from hate. I do not know or understand. Quickly.
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Copyright (c) 2000, 2004, David Erik Nelson, Fritz Swanson, Morgan Johnson