Several months have passed since I last swam through the modified halls of that grand residence. Unexpectedly, I found myself missing it. The peace. The quiet. The majesty and splendor of gilded floors and velvet walkways. There are but a few things that you dry-air-dwelling dirt-eaters do better than those of us who dwell in the deep, and the realm of majestic furnishing may be the pinnacle of your achievement.
Do not misunderstand me!
The lairs of the Old Ones that shall Rise Again and Devour the Face-flesh from you all are quiet stirring, in a spartan-meets-wabi-sabi-decorating-the-birthplace-of-madness-way, but the cold and the currents conspire to destroy all that is not hewn of stone or squid-flesh. Hence the flesh temple of Bal'Nazzor, where I did attend the Primary Schooling: It had been crafted from living Architeuthis through the darkest of sciences. How fitting it was where I first learned of politics, of education, of treachery, and of a stark and non-Euclidean geometry which would drive you simple gruntfolk to madness.
After the disasters of this last Autumn I had decided to get the robotic and terrible hands of mine own Auto-Velocitation Suit dirty and to wade amongst the misery writ so large upon the peoples of the states of Louis-and-Anna and Misery and Miss-I-Sippy. I engaged the people, freed them from attics, brought food to their mouths, and slew zombie, upon zombie, upon zombie, pithing them deftly with the razory point of my velocitating suits myriad legs. I even took it upon myself to defended them from savage yet delectable feral dogs.
My roots—having been uptorn from Detroit and replanted in the barren soil of Washington Town—found new purchase in the hearts of my people. The people who elected me. The people who worshipped me. My hearts grew large. I sang songs, old songs that my soul had forgotten, tuneless memories awakened by the shared experience and trust I encountered.
Trust so ruthlessly exploited by my predecessor, who now by wrothful irony has become my post-decessor.
The news reached me through the oddest of channels. The steel legs of my chassis had been pumping for days as I made a slow March towards Washingtonia. George of the Double-Yewed Bush had worried me, with his recent crazed behavior, and I sought to return to town and to put things to right. I envisioned myself a righteous Cow-Boy, come to bring justice to the land. Not unlike—as I am told—is done by those noble crime-fighters and right-setters in the recent new cowboy film-reel Bareback Mountain. I was saddled upon my trusty velocitation steed, my holster full of intelligence, vim, and stamina. A jaunty hat perched atop the dome, held in place by some glue and twine (Thank you again, Mr. Chen, of Aco Hardware for that service.)
I rode back, my mind already envisioning a primal scene of alpha males grappling, sweaty and gnawing at each other, beaks clashing like swords, tentacles gripping each other, thrusting, looking for purchase, no quarter asked, and no change given—again, as such is the case in the Bareback Mountain, or so I gather.
My heart ached at the betrayal, and with longing for the comfort of that Whitest of Houses.
I marched East, much like Sherman many dozens of years ago. Except I had no Army with me, was fighting no war, and left no trail of destruction. (Except, again, for the Aco Hardware in Dayton, Ohio. I apologize, Mr. Chen; you were such the kindness to lash down my fine tens-of-gallons hat. I am filled much with the regrets for the destruction my exuberance to wrought upon your fine, franchised commercial venture,) and came into my Washintonia Deca at nightfall just yesterday.
The news—as I had been saying—reached me a mere block from the Doma Blanca. I stopped to purchase a bagel with the Lox-Fish topping. I developed a taste for these during my campaign, when the long hours and haphazard living arrangements made finding a decent canine to suckle upon difficult. Post-campaign I found that I still yet craved the occasional bagel—that crusty, doughy, boiled-bread torus, carried by Moses himself from high atop Mt. Sinai—and found a delightful Hebrew-run establishment that catered to my whims.
When I returned to this eatery and ordered my customary snack, the troubling news was delivered, off-handedly by the Chief Grocer and Restaurateur, Ari.
A brief aside, please: when I am in my domicile the consuming of flesh is quite easy. Rob, my man-servant and confidant, loads fresh canines into a launch tube and projects them in to my den. I consume them quickly before the mother-hug pressure of my tank—rendered as chill and dark and PSIed as the very bottom of the seas—can render them a soupy mess. This goes smoothly. We have a system. However, when Devo my Mechanick designed this most recent Gyro-Stabilizationalized Auto-Velocitation Suit it was intended for short journeys, not month-long quests into the murky backwaters of my own psyche. Devo did include a pressurized system for inserting items into my velocitator's tank—it is, in design, not unlike those pneumatic tubes used at the money banking buildings. Imagine attempting to force even a small dog—such as a teacupping poodle or Mexican chihuahua into such a pneumatic pod? Let it suffice to say that was quite difficult while I was "on the roads."
Fine motor-manipulation of the various claws, pincers and grab-hands came with time and with great destruction of many common items. Still, when concentration was hard to come by the dexterity and celerity of my chassis suffered.
It took many tries that day to pick up the bagel—to grasp it in one delicately pliered hand, to fit it into the small, emergency hatch below my Main Tank. There was much straining, much groaning. The entry hatch for emergency food was hidden underneath the chassis, so as not to spoil the graceful sweep and curve of its lines. It was located where my eyes could not see, where the sun would not shine. As the thorax of my Velocitator is quite barrel-shaped, I have decided to use barrel-related terminology to describe said food hatch. As the stopper in a barrel is called a "bung" so shall I call this food orifice located on my posterior a "bunghole." Shoving a bagel up one's bunghole is delicate and dangerous work. One wrong twitch, one lone second of slipped attention and it is conceivable that a new bunghole could be torn into my suit. But I digress . . .
"It's a damn shame what's happened to ya, Mr. Squid. What with the Recall and all."
"Recall? My recall is as perfect as it was the day I graduated from Bal'Nazzor. Explain yourself citizen, or I shall cease the purchase of boiled bread and salted fish from you!"
"Geez. I just meant . . . y'know," he made a gesture that were we back in the Benthine deeps would have indicated that a Blood Debt had been violated, and that Murder should happen, but which I have come to realize means amongst humans that they are afraid to speak what is true for fear of greatly angering me.
"My dear Hebraic friend, Ari." Knives slowly extended from the robotic arms that Ari could not see, "I am but the slightest bit confused. Confused, and hard of the hearings. Perchance you could set aside your for-wiping rag, step around your counter, draw close, and explain that of which you speak."
He declined to cross his counter, "All I'm sayin' is that it's a damn shame that you got kicked out of Office and replaced by that schmuck is all."
"George Doubke-Yew?!?" I gasped, "Betrayer!"
Ari did stitch if his greasy, beetling brow, "What? That meshugana? What without his Swinging Dick he couldn't scheme himself into a paper sack. Your Veep Molly got you declared in absentia and incompetent and pulled a 25th Amendment on you. Ain't ya been watchin' the news?"
I grunted my dissent. He spoke more. But his words washed by me like so much flotsam.
Clarity. That is the human word for this feeling. I have clarity. This explained so much: the odd looks I had gotten about Washintonia Deca as I closed in on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the strained tight lippedness of Jumping Jimmy Carter as, side-by-side, we framed out a small house in St. John the Baptist Parish, the somber children who, seeing me making my way down the dusky street this very eve stopped and saluted me, despite the blustery cold, the old homeless man clasping his hands and shouting "You are still my President, Mr. President!".
Details like bricks assembled themselves into an edifice that I could finally recognize. I had been dethroned. Undone.
My march continued to the front gates of the House I Once Called Home. The gates were barred. Many humans stood, armed with crude projectile-throwing devices. Several tanks and helicoptera stood ready. A large, crayon-hewn poster drew my eye. It was clearly a drawing of a Majestic Architeuthis such as I, with an X boldly slashed over it.
I was no longer wanted. I had won the battle for the hearts and minds of Los Americanoes. I had saved my very soul from the clutches of the deadliest of perils. But I had lost the war.
And Yet I Remain,
Your Giant Squid
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Copyright (c) 2000, 2004, David Erik Nelson, Fritz Swanson, Morgan Johnson