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Squid #315
(published February 1, 2007)
Ask the Giant Squid: Assassin Seeks Friend to Help Free Lance
Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?
Dear Giant Squid,

right now I am an assassin so far i have gotten 5 jobs is there anything i can do to get more jobs.

thank you,
George the assassin

Dearest George,

Let me begin by congratulating you on Sticking it to The Man. In turning your back upon the cubicled rat-race of corporate assassinations and choosing to strike out on your own as a freelance assassin, you are retaking your proper mantle as an American pioneer and I salute you. Bravo, George!

This is not to say that the path you have chosen is one of leisure. In any field, there are a great bulk of individuals who call themselves practitioners, and a very few who can properly hang the title of "professional" upon themselves. Go to any public park, and you will see a great number of "skateboarders", but very few "professional skateboarders." Similarly, the ranks of office desk chairs are filled with many "writers" and few "professional writers," the streets filled with gun-toting "police" and few "professional police," and parking lots across our majestic nation are populated with "drug dealers," while less than ten percent are able to make their sole living from the dealing of the smacks.

Many of the I-want-to-bees claim that those few — those happy few — who might call themselves "professional" are honored to do so only by dint of unfair recognition, nepotism, bribery, the ability to pass a "totally bullshit" certification examination or simple, wise luck.

This, George, is just the soured grapes. The true truth of the matter is that there is but one brand of tenacity which separates the "professional policeman" from the unsanctioned vigilante gunmen, and that is regular and persistent Marketing.

Contrary to popular belief, any successful marketing strategy begins not at the top, but at the bottom, and not with the sort of pinpoint telescopically-sighted accuracy favored by assassination professionals like yourself, but rather with an almost scattershot random-icity.

The marketing strategy that I have found to be most favorable for freelance entrepreneurs such as ourselves has three-plus-one steps (which is to say, it is truly a bifold process consisting of one three-step procedure and a lone single-step operation.)

The Three-Steps to Cold-Calling:

George, take to hand your Yellowed Pages telephonic directory. This directory, you might note, is organized by the Personal and the Professional. Ignore the former and note the latter "Professional pages" are subdivided topically. Consider what fields might need your services. For example, both dentistry and plumbestry are highly-profitable fields marred by a competitiveness akin to that of bathtub piranas. Additionally, each is besought by many bad-debtors content to loll about and brag of their wily bills-dodgemanship. You will call each of these numbers, beginning with A-1 Smiles and continuing through Zapruder & Sons Dental Modifications, reciting the following script in your most earnest, approachful and murderous voice:

"Good morning, afternoon or evening fine citizen. I am George the Assassin, a Freelance Killer of Things. At this time I am making it my business to contact all of the local [name the sort of establishment, in this case, the Dentists] in order to make known the reality of my existence and establish their precise killing needs. What types of terminations do you most oft find yourself in need of?"

The vaster part of these respondents (nigh unto ninety percent) will politely decline — Quickly, threaten to kill them! Describe as briefly and vividly as possible the indignities you shall affect upon their tender parts in retribution. This is called "the high pressure sales" and can turn a No into a Please Do Not, which is well known to be the kissing-cousin to This I Do Demand Be Wrought Upon My Enemies.

Of the remaining ten percent, they will have needs for a killer of things, and will discuss this, oft at length. Be sure to let your interests be known and clear.

In the second step, as soon as the phone is returned to her receiver, pen a brief letter of appreciation — specifically citing some anecdotia from the preceding conversation — and post it, along with a copy of your resume and two (two!) business cards. The letter and resume should be printed on standard white 20 pound laser-print paper of 95 brightness — no erasable bond stock! Similarly, Do Not degrade yourself or your profession with the gimmicks of linen finish paper, the "wacking" fonts, or printing either document in blood; Do feel comfortable with including pertinent testimonials within the body of the resume ("He injured me very badly with little cause! — Appreciative Girl Scout Cookie's Sales Child" or "George dispatched my competitors with extreme prejudice and an unjaundiced eye toward creating suffering and havoc! — Father Francis John Patrick Mulcahy" — claims of this ilk. Be creative!)

Some potential clients you speak to on the telephone might be interested in services in your field, but hesitant to hire a worker of unknown quality. For this, it can pay back the cost ten-fold to have professionally printed a portfolio of samples of your work. 8-by-10 color glossy prints, spiral bound on 8.5-by-11 paper (be sure to leave sufficient margins for the binding!) are considered an industry standard.

On the matter of business cards, I cannot be overly emphatic: Always include two, if not three of the business cards. Should a client only possess a single card and be pleased with your services, she might be hesitant to give her only card to a contemporary in need of a bind-torture-kill scenario. If she has two (or three!), then she can advertise you with impunity.

In the third step, take the list of establishments you have already contacted and, on a quarterly basis, contact them all again via mail, a simple reminder of your constant presence overshadowing all in their lives: Design a postal card one-quarter the size of a sheet of paper. Make this simple and direct. Perhaps MURDER? printed several inches high, be-ringed with your specialties ("garroting!" "suffocation!" "defenestration!" "laparoscopic gunshot!" "tainted meats!") Be certain to include your contact information in clear and attractive type. Have these printed upon a card stock (red is traditional, and yet still stands out among the many "junk" mailings received daily by any office.) If you lack the graphical acumen for such an endeavor, then speak with the workers and management at your local printers or reproduction shop; they may well be willing to exchange services-in-kind. We can, all of us, use less competition, no?

The Single Step of Advertising:

Especially in the case of those new to a field, it can be important to quickly build a solid base of exemplars of your modus. For this purpose, no technique of marketing serves so well, and with such alacrity, as the placing of advertisements. For costs savings, little can beat the "Personals" section of your local print newspaper — nothing, that is, save for Mr. Craig Newmark's Fine Electronique List, such as this I have placed for demonstration purposes:

Seeking Individual for Extreme Unpleasantness:

I am a Giant Squid with a taste for the lash, two tentacles for binding the limbs, seven arms for rending flesh, and one appendage of love. You are a lass or lad of indeterminate age no longer in need of your Mortal Coil. No fatties.

Your text should vary, but should be honest to your purpose — it is considered discourteous to use such spaces to fecklessly and dishonestly hunt under false pretense. Might I suggest something along the lines of:

Buxom and nubile assassin seeks gents interested in poisoning, bludgeoning, strangulation, point-blank shootings, stabbings, dismemberment, being placed within a sack, tossed in a river and ultimately dying of hypothermia. No fatties.

This, George, is precisely the sort of shameless, pitiless and dauntless self-promotion which has, over and over again, made this nation great and broadly beloved. It is a recipe for vast success, to which I am myself living, murderous proof.

I Remain,
Your Giant Squid

Post-Scriptorum: George! I do feel the shame for not having with immediacy recognized your own unique flourish of the orthography, grammar and mec(k)anics of standard American English. I should hope that my old Frere du Cabinet George Double-Yew Bush would have no need of a career in the moonlight. Might I at least presume that you take to assassination as a personal passion, and not for need of the pence, dear old friend?

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see other pieces by this author | Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid? Read his blog posts and enjoy his anthem (and the post-ironic mid-1990s Japanese cover of same)

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