Are you a secondary consumer (carnivore) in the ecosystem?
Surely this is of two concerns laid over top one to the other, yes?
I can address by way of an annecdota.
Hazel, she said unto me, "Hon', I... you know how we have to wear clothes?"
"HAZEL, MY DEAR FRIEND, YOU DO BUT UNDERESTIMATE THE KNOWLEDGE I HAVE ACQUIRED IN MY MANY YEARS HERE IN THE TERRIBLE UPSPACE. I DO KNOW MANY OF THE THINGS IMPORTANT REGARDING YOUR MANOR AND NATURE AS A SIMIAN DIRT-DWELLER. I KNOW, FOR THE EXAMPLE, THAT YOU MUST EAT OF THE FLESHY GAMES, THE CORNISH HEN VARIETY AND THE EATS-SHOOTS-AND-LADDERS-TO-LEAVE VARIETY. I ALSO KNOW THAT YOU PREFER YOUR EPIDERMAL LAYER TO BE COVERED WITH THE FLESH OF THESE GAMES, THE SKIN OF THE COW-BEAST, THE FATTY TISSUE OF THE HUNGRIEST OF HUNGRY HIPPOS, THE HARD CARAPACE-SHELL OFFERED BY CANCATINATIONS OF DOMINOES... ALL OF THESE THINGS AND MORE DO I KNOW ABOUT YOUR WILY AND BE-THUMBÉD KIND. IN SHORT, YES, I DO KNOW OF THE CLOSE YOU REQUIRE, AND THE OPENS, AND THE AJARS OF BOTH THE PEANUT BUTTER VARIETY AND THE STRAWBERRY PAJAMA VARIETY. ALL OF THESE THINGS AND MORE."
I did then proudly dip then offer her a cordial and gracious bow, the hinges of my doméd and dingéd domed velocitator squealing their protest, hoping that she would acknowledge my encyclopedic knowledge of all things Humane. And she did, peaking her ocular over-fur so as to indicate her pride. As a follow-up and re-enforcement of the prideful sentiment, she did bite of the lower lip with happiness and did shake of the head with complete and satisfied understanding.
She patted of my dome. "Um... yeah, sugar. Yeah, I know you know."
She withdrew into the window of her aluminum trailing vehicle. She sighed, and then she did lean back out to gaze deeply into one of my optically perfect eye.
"So, because y'all know what an important thing clothes can be, then you'll understand why I need you to give me a lift."
"A LIFT!? TO WHAT HEIGHT SHALL I RAISE YOU, DEAR HAZELED? TO THE TOP OF THE TREE? TO THE TOP OF DISTANT CELLULAR TELEPHONY TOWER? I SHOULD SCALE A MIGHTY TOWER AS HIGH AS MY FORMER LABORATORY FOR YOU IF YOU WOULD BUT JUST—"
She patted the dome in front of my eye and I paused, startled.
"I know, darling. I know you would. But what I mean—"
"What I mean to say is that I need you to take me across town to the store 'cause I need some, you know, some personal bits o' this and that."
"PERSONNEL! YES! I UNDERSTAND OF WHAT YOU SAY COMPLETELY. WE SHALL ASSEMBLE A MANPOWER BATTALION SO LARGE AND CONSPICUOUS THAT ALL SHALL—"
"Clothes! Clothes, darlin'? Remember? Not an army. Not any employees. Just some, you know," she sank back into the shadows of the afternoon. "Underwear, sweety. I need to pick up some new underwear."
And so, confused as to what under what we might get and where under where we might go, I did assent that she should climb aboard the back of my velocitator, and by way of her called out directions, we did stalk together along the auto-trails and hopped-up high-the-ways across to the mighty and impressive brick block that was the Walled-Martin.
I did struggle through the blacktop lot of cars, as the pathway betwixt the steel vehiculars was unnecessarily narrow, and upon one of the stumbling miss-steps, I did come down with the sharpened point of a velocitating limb upon a long Buick The Le Sabertooth, and as quick as one can say Le Sabrador Retrievadoria, my hydraulic leg did pierce through the roof of the vehicular.
Hazel, she squawked, and startled, I inked a moderate bit into the already much feculent water of my suit, and this sent me reeling backward and around through the already narrow lane, the auto dragging out into the blacktop path, the frontern-part bending and creasing, the paint scraping away from both the spiked car, and the autos upon either the side such that the two nearest vehicles did push outward and hit the vehicles nearest to each of them, and finally many doors were dented, many of the paints were scraped, and several alarums of the screeching variety were sounded in the warm summering air.
This did call an array of blue smocked chimps from within the great Martin of Walls, which lead to much squawking on Hazel's part, followed by squawking on the parts of many of the blue smocked folk into their black hand-held boxes. This resulted in the arrival, most loudly, of the local constabulary, clearly come to assist in our most important mission.
"MA'AM," a tiny officer did speak out with the loud voice of an iron squid. "PLEASE SHUT DOWN YOUR... VEHICLE AND... CLIMB DOWN."
"It's not a... I... It's..."
"MA'AM. SHUT DOWN YOUR VEHICLE."
I thought perhaps I should intercede on Hazel's behalf. "FINE OFFICERS: WE COME SEEKING THAT WHERE WHICH IS UNDER. THIS UNDERWHERE IS A PLACE OR LAND WHERE MUCH CLOSE, AND PERHAPS A FEW OPENS, MIGHT BE ACQUIRED. WOULD YOU BE SO KIND AS TO DIRECT US TO THAT SECTION OF THE WALLED CITY OF MARTINS WHICH MIGHT AFFORD US ACCESS TO AN APPROPRIATE PORTAL OR PASSAGE TO THIS LAND, THE WHERE WHICH IS UNDER?"
A small piece of lead did bounce forcefully off the front of my velocitator, and at first I wondered if I might have inadvertently torn a rivet from the vehicle my tentacle was still impaled through. But then, when a second of the lead slugs did bounce off of me, I realized they were being ejected from assorted pistoleros brandished by the local magistrates.
"Run, sweets!" Hazel did hiss at me. "They're shooting at us and bullets don't bounce off my ass like they do yours."
"I HAVE NOT AN ASS, DEAR HAZEL."
"Run you damn fool!" She screeched, pounding on my dome. "Run like God gave you an ounce of sense!" She was most agitated and so I did turn, dragging the Le Sabradoria for five or six steps until it conveniently wedged against one of the blue officer vehicles which had tipped upward upon my hurtling approach. Once wedged, the offending vehicle did slide off of my ever-more-bedraggled leg.
As we stalked down the black top, "bullets" did fly the by, and Hazel—in unison with the much abused and under-serviced hinges of my velocitators's wonderful legs—did squeal.
We rushed from the scene, and I did vaguely feel Hazel bouncing about upon the back of the velocitator. When I stumbled across the grassy median of a street into oncoming traffice, there were cries from the autos, and from their occupants, and several steel fenders were of the bent.
Finally I was able to slow, for we came upon a wooded and undeveloped ravine that ran through the low and overgrown yards of a sprawling and run down division of living lots scattered with wooden and brick bungalows not much the different in size or manner from Hazel's own aluminum, and theoretically mobile, domicile.
Leaves and limbs did whip and snap across the dome of my suit, and occasionally I heard the whimpering from the back which did drive me on faster for fear that if we did not reach of the home place, then Hazel might entirely break the down.
But as we rounded of a careful bend in the brook which had cut wetly this ravine through the dry dirt of the land, I saw a four-legged creature stumble haphazardly down the slope, uncareful and bleating. It was a roebuck, like one might see upon the walled-paper of my dear friend Donny's bedroom. It was brown, and it was velvety. But unlike the noble depiction on the aged wall of Donny's boyhood cavern, this roebuck had a great bloody rent in its shoulder, and there was in the distance the honking of car horns, and I surmised that, like us, this creature had also hazarded the dangers of the auto trail and was clearly worse of the wear for the effort.
And at the thought of the "wear", which is the degradation of the outer shells or costumes of the grunt chimps of this upspace, I did remember dimly a lecture given unto me regarding the notion in your language of the Hommie-nimbles. And I thought as the roebuck did stumble and bleat, his hooks digging into the soft black much along the stagnant creek, this ravine barely an insect-infested ditch cut through the homeplaces of many the Michganders and Michigeese.
The "wear" and the "where" are of the class of hommie-nimbles. And there were many things said very quickly by myself and by Hazel earlier, and I wondered, briefly, on my penchant for the launching forward fast before fully considering my situation and its nature. It is an instinct of mine most hard to shake, as it grows natively from my instinct in the hunt, from many years past when I, deep in the ocean, was a Consumer Primary, a hunter first and foremost, a peak-most predator of the benthic blackness.
Strike first, consume quickly, think upon the indigestion later as it came. This was my life, so long ago it seems the barest memory of a dream.
The roebuck bled profusely, and did stumble into the opaque water, its hookes sticking deep in the muck.
I slowed and we approached stumblingly, the roebuck barely able to acknowledge our presence with a glance.
Underwear, I enunciated in mine mind, working through the peculiar notions of your airborne language like unto nothing but the airborne viral pathogenia which you fear so much.
This was how the "close" she also fit into Hazel's rantings of the morn. The "Under-Where" was not a land, the "close" not a state of being, but instead, each was a hommie-nimble, and when converted each to the other word, they aligned in a meaningful way. Underwear and clothes are words related, siblings of kind, one a parent or category, the other a type, a child of the other.
"YOU PREFER THE FLESH OF THE BEASTS FOR YOUR CLOTHES, YES?"
"Huh?" Hazel did mumble, she being obviously tired from the raucous adventure of these last few hours.
And again the predator in me decided to wait no longer for discussion or understanding, but instead to act in hopes that I might woo my Hazel with my wit and wisdom.
I drove my hunting arm forward fast, sharply and with great force, piercing the roebuck to the dirt, the blood spurting up in a fountain most satisfying, the plasma coating the surface of the still creek, the leaves of many ferns darkened a brown-red with the gore.
"AND NOW, DEAR HAZEL, WE SHALL SKIN OF THIS BEAST, YES, AS IS THE CUSTOM OF YOUR SPECIES? AND FROM IT WE SHALL MAKE OF THE WEAR THAT YOU REQUIRE? YES? THIS UNDER-THE-WEAR?"
But she did not respond. Instead she slipped from my back onto the ruddy dirt of the ravine floor.
I turned about quickly, the roebuck still living and bleating, impaled on my steel-clad hunting tentacle, the blood spattering across Hazel's sweet face.
She breathed, her eyes closed, (clothed?), and I saw that there was a wound in her shoulder, echoing the sad-eyed damage brought upon the roebuck which died but slowly on my steel point.
I delicately as I might curled another arm under Hazel's spine and did draw her up to the air. She did, from me, get much the lift. And from there, on eight arms, I trundled the many miles along the ravine back to our trailer of the park, a bleeding human dangling from one tentacle, a dead roebuck hanging from the other.
Donny gaped at me as I rose up over a hill at the back of the park.
"What the fuck did you do, Mr. Squid?"
"WE DID BUT GO SHOPPING, DEAR DONNY. THIS IS THE CONSUMING YOU HUMANS ARE WANT TO DO, YES?"
I set Hazel down at Donny's feet and he ran off to his home, returning as quickly with arm loads of fabric and tubes of greasy salves. He ministered to her frantically while I with two free armored arms did attempt to disengage the roebuck.
I fear that my surface hunting skills are much flawed. Hazel will not get much in the way of clothes from this beast's much torn flesh. I can only hope that Donny's ministrations are successful. This life of the consumer, whether primary, secondary, or even ravine-ensconced and tertiary, is easily as dangerous as ever it was in the cool abyss of the deep.
The Giant Squid
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Copyright (c) 2000, 2004, David Erik Nelson, Fritz Swanson, Morgan Johnson