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Squid #291
(published August 17, 2006)
Ask the Giant Squid: The Number of Sharks in the Width of the World
Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?
Dear Giant Squid,

How many sharks are there in the whole wide world?

Tony Schafferelli

Dearest Tony,


There are but ten sharks in the world. Thus have there ever been, thus shall there ever be.

Sharks, like unto that great land beast, the Mountain Ash, propagate in a manner asexual, by a system of budding, self-bifurcation and extrusion. Sharks are sexless and joyless beasts, like all creatures who reproduce without the aid of slow music, lubrication, thrusting and alcohol. When one of the members of the "decashark"—which, in all honesty, is best considered as a single entity unto itself, although the unity of its disparate selves is not visible to humans. simple and flawed eyes or to your poor sense of spatial/temporal dimensions—feels threatened, he does but bud through the extradimensional spaces a hive-cloud of a thousand. These hive-cloud echoes of each of the Ur-sharks is what populates the vast shoals of the deep.

To make the summary: When you scare a shark, it creates the bud of a new shark, at least one new shark. Hence the much-mythologized "feeding frenzy. "

The shark is also like the mighty electron: it is impossible to know both the velocity and the position of the shark. There are but ten sharks in the seas, but because of their peculiar extra-dimensional blood-magick — Did you think they ate so many seals and bikinièrs for the taste? No, Dear Readers, they are sacrifices to the dark Shark God who empowers his ten toothed agents of murder, who dwell and hunt mere feet from shore! — because of their blood magick, the sharks are present everywhere and everytime. They exist outside of our time and space, dipping in only when it is time to feed and to slake the murder-thirst of their God, much akin to the awe-ful sphere who does come to pluck simple squares out of time.Sharks that are "caught" by fishermen are nothing so much as skin cells, rubbed off by the friction of time/space. Those passive, cow-eyed sharks you see in your Aqua-Ariums? They are but cells in a petrie dish, removed from the vicious animating intelligence of the Shark. Your scientists sit in their fetid cubes and stare at the molting of the real shark and proclaim they know all there is to know on the matter.

Your scientists are foolish children, Dear Tony.

Since you do not want more shark-buds to populate the seven seas of your world, it is wise to not scare the sharks. Here is a list of he ten of things which most readily afear the Great Ten (with notes as to how many of the hive-cloud echoes each Afear produces):

  1. The Compact Disc or, more accurately, the aureatus-argentarius alloy reflective layer of such discs, does tend to startle the shark in a matter similar to the sudden palpitation imparted to a human when a playful kitten does leap upon his or her bared ankle, with tooths-a-daggered and claws deployed. One compact disk does inspire the jolted generation of a single "shark-bud." To those inclined to view this as somewhat niggling, let the following pictorial evidence lend you some pause: This container ship, recently scuttled off the coast of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China by disgruntled representatives of the RIAA/MPAA Terror Organization, was filled with unlicensed reflective-disk-encoded representations of The Prince of Minnesota's musical performances and films featuring Kurt Russle. The deluge of compact discs did so happen to catch decashark Aleph unawares, and the startled shark spawning did choke the Pearl River Delta with the corpses of sharklettes, strangled by their own flurried and over-near collocation. As such, shipping was brought to a near standstill for one week. 130,000 chinamen perished, and the trading price of shares of the Wall's Mart's exchangeable stock suffered a harrowing four-point plummet, causing the lucre-fatted and indefatigable spirit of Sam Walton to shrug somewhat while continuing to pound his ghostly and relentless phallus into the high-fructose-corn-syrup addled pituitary glands of middle-western American shopper-persons. Let none doubt the dangers of the video and musical piracy now.

  2. The Fender Highway 1 Telecaster equipped with single-coil pickups The twanging chromèd rockabilly fury of the classic maple and alder telecaster does slide an icicle-shiver of terror into any of the decashark—especially decashark Bet. Although numbers are variable, the fewest sharklettes every generated in response to a Telecaster were 7 (by Tet in the North Atlantic in Januarius, 1973) and the greatest were 33 (again by Tet, this in the South Pacific in 1994, briefly after the suicidal finale of the Curt Cobain.)

  3. Picture puzzles, being themselves variable in nature, inspire a variance in the production of sharklettes by the decashark. Alef, Daled and Gimmel produce 10 sharklettes when presented with a picture puzzle, or .8 sharklettes per puzzle piece greater than one-quarter inch in size, depending upon the tide (high tide yields the greater of the two, whilst low-tide, predictably, yields the lesser of the two.) Conversely, decasharks Bet, Hey, Zayn, Khet and Tet yield 21 sharks for every two puzzles during the full of the moon, or 7 per every third of the moon visible. In obstructed viewing, one can rely upon 8 sharks per puzzle, unless the puzzles are of a uniform shade (such as solidly black), and then there are again also 7 sharks. Vav is fearless of the puzzles.

  4. The still thrashing bodies of Africkan Slaves were once known to cause the afeared ejaculation of four sharks per slave by any locally trolling decashark (consider Gimmel, Mid-Atlantic, 1803.)

  5. A Minn Kota Trolling Motor, in both tales of the sea (exempli gratis Vav, Banda Sea, 1903) and my own empirical observation (Zayin, Philippine Sea, 1945) can be said to stir the quickening of 18 sharks. What is more, I can verify personally that other brands are void in this regard.

  6. Lawyers, though fearsome and fiercesome to the decashark, are possessed of an abyssal non-Euclidean geometry which actually absorbs sharklettes at a rate of three per hour. This also applies to the still-cackling, discorporate heads of politicians, regardless of whether or not they are in possession of a juris doctorate or appropriately barrèd.

  7. John Madden's Football for the Apple ][ computational device triggers the release of 3 sharks, while John Madden's Football for the Sega's Genesis causes 5. John Madden's Football for the Superior Nintendo, despite inferior gameplay, causes the extrusion of 7 sharks, and all later versions of this electrical diversion do cause a 9 shark flurry. John Madden himself causes the spawning of 13 sharks, only three of which are sufficiently toothsome to cut through his gristleous and man-slathered hide.

  8. Water-proof matches are a taste-filled terror. Their sudden introduction into a body of living water inspires 17 sharks, their ingestion 11 sharks, and their ignition after ingestion an additional 2 sharks. In 1895 Zayn found and swallowed a canister of water-proofèd matches and briefly after was tempest-tossed thrice, hard, upon the Municipal Pier of the Sam's Francisco Bay, resulting in the sudden appearance of 30 sharks within the confines of the Sutro Baths, some 5 miles distant. No fatalities were reported.

  9. Fire-proof matches. Though rare, these were in the pocket of an unfortunate Turk who tumbled into the Dardanelles Straits in April of 1915, during the Battle of Galipoli. Although unscathed by his fall, he was subsequently devoured by an 8 shark swarm, and all that remained was his decorative fez—miraculously unscathed—and his foreskin—curiously unshorn.

  10. Fear itself, like slaves, does also cause the spontaneous generation of four sharklettes.

These, then, are the Ten Sharks, and their Ten Fears, that are in the whole, wide world. Beware their toothsome grins, there black and terrible eyes much and unto like doll's eyes, as they wait mere feet from shore, eagerly searching for more flesh to offer to their Dark God and bottomless, pan-dimensionless gullets.

I Yet Still Remain,
Your Giant Squid

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