I was recently on a beautiful beach in Mexico and I was accosted by the sight (and smell) of hundreds of large (not quite giant) dead squid washed up on the shore. Later I was told they beach themselves every year, seemingly during a full moon.
Please advise: are they trying to force evolution to make their way as land creatures? Should we be concerned or ecstatic? And, if the former, do you have the situation under control?
Thurston & Snazz
Dearest Thurston and Snazz,
Every culture has its mythos and legends. The Hopi indians believed the world was born from the egg of a great firey bird. The ancient Hindustani peoples believed that this hatched Earth was subsequently perched on the backs of four elephants who marched ever clockwise atop the back of the great turtle Atuan. The Roman culture that settled among the Trans-Sylvan mountains believed that corpses could come back to life by drinking the blood of the living, so that they might then spend eternity marching clockwise upon a great turtle whilst holding aloft some smaller planet or planetoid, such as Pluto or Daffy. The peoples of Detroit believe in a demonic midget—three feet tall, red from tip to tail, and possessed of blazing red eyes and rotten teeth—that acts as a harbinger of destruction. Although the rational mind balks at such notions of fanciful manbeasts, one is left to wonder if perhaps this Nain Rouge is not busy these days in Detroit, harbinging all about the place. At the very least, he seems to have been instrumental in selecting the mayor's cellphone plan.
Those moon-struck giant squid you observed down Mexico's way were lycanthropes, my dear Thurston and cherished Snazz. If they were men who became wolves, we would title them "Were-wolves." Were- being an old term for man who receives and erotic thrill by dancing with zombies. But, as these you saw upon the Mexican beaches are of a finer species and more refined stock, we shall name them as they are: Architeuthiwolves. At the call of the moon's fullness they begin to change shape, sprouting fur, developing lungs and bones, shrinking in size, humming the bars of "Billy Jean, She Was Naught My Lover." It is a mystical process, unable to be duplicated in the lab. The free-roaming ocean SquidWolves rush ever upwards, hungering for air, then course across the midnight beaches, tearing down gulls, beach bums, and skinnied dippers whilst roaring the gnomic chant of the chorus of "Want to be Starting Something." Ultimately, tragically, they find themselves trapped upon land when the change fades from them like so much fog chased by the noontime sun. As all werewolves revert to men upon death, so do the SquidWolves return to themselves in the savage sear of the sun, and shuffle off their mortal coilings. It is quite the sadness.
Of course, I jest, and pull upon your several legs. Although the myth of the squidwolf is popular—and, perhaps, even I have been occasionally wont to entertain a superstitious moment—there are clear and present logical flaws in the etiology of the squidwolf, as described in the many dime store novels and Penny Dreadfuls from a Dimension Beyond Time. Specifically, how would a standard werewolf have ever survived the crushing, benthic depths in order to bite a squid and thus spread his transmogrifying contagion to our noble species? The belief truly tests the credulity.
I am laughing, Thurston and Snazz, but not aloud, as I have no lungs. I am laughing up my in's side. I laugh at your adorable, fuzzyfaced credulity.
No. Truly these noble cephalopods were doing as you suggest: they were forcing the hand of evolution. Amongst squidkind there is a large and churlish minority of radical LaMarxists. They reject Darwin and the patient, rational march of his evolution via variation and inheritance guided by the "survival of the most fittest." They gaze upon a minnow in a jar and say with wagging beaks, "How could creatures as majestic as ourselves have come from such a lowly beast?" No, they believe in the evolution concept proposed by LaMarx and his brothers, Darwin's greatest enemy. LaMarx believed that the actions we take in our lifetime are impressed upon our genes like so much data written to memory, and that the data is passed on to our children. If a man is studious, his children will inherit his scholarship. If a woman practices her athletic endeavors, her children will be blessed with stronger limbs. If a homosexual mongoloid places a pencil in his nose, as sure as the day follows the night, his offspring shall be gay and retarded, the yellow barrel of a dull #2 Dixon-Ticonderoga proudly projecting from their infant nasal cavities. It is an absurd idea, but one many of my people adhere to. The Radical LaMarxists, they are called. One splinter group has been preparing for hundreds of years for the Great Rising, for the time when my people conquer all the lands and the skies. They wish to breed the Kwisatz Haderach of my kind, the chosen Walker Above, the terrible Giant Land Squid.
Using arcane technology the radical LaMarxists hurl themselves up onto the beaches of Mexico, of New Zealand, or Greece. Having been exposed to the air, they believe that any offspring will be one step closer to the dream. Every exposure to the explosive decompression of the horrible Upspace where your kind dwells makes their genes all the heartier, they believe. Typically these groups consist of five males to every female. When the radicalists emerge on land, their bodies boiling with pain, the five furiously make to fuck. The males pile atop the female, blindly thrusting with their mating tentacles. And in a last act of mercy, they shove the female back into the sea, where a complicated series of weights and pulleys yanks her deep into the crevasses in which the radicalists make their compounds. Safely ensconced in the bosom of the sea, her body brimming with the semen of suicidal fanatics, the female mourns and awaits the next burning journey upwards.
But still I jest. This is wool, you see? And I am pulling it thusly across your eyes, Thurston. Your legs, Snazz, can you feel them being tugged yet further?
Not even the greatest scientists of all squid-dom (the most notably erudite of all species) could begin to hope to imagine even an irrational credence being lent to the insane "science" of dotty Lord LaMarx. In general, our greatest minds are in accord with the text of the Reverend Doctor Richard Dawkins' tattoo: DARWIN 4 LIFE (there is still some little debate as to whether or not the decorative motif of stylized tribal thorns and photo-realistic, withered roses surrounding the text is both aesthetically and scientifically valid).
In all honesty I can tell you about the bodies on the beach in Mexico. They are the remnants of our space exploration program. The first wave breached the surface of the ocean in pressurized brass traveling spheres. These Atmo-Nauts huddled at their windows and scribbled furiously upon notebooks of all they saw. These super-marines were scientists and wanders, scoundrels and magicians. Their feats are legendary and shall be given their due and lengthy treatment in future columns.
Once the atmosphere was explored and catalogued, my people aimed higher. First came the Cumulo-Nauts, who explored the clouds. And the Sierra-Nauts that visited the mountain peaks of California and Tibet. And then, in the 1970s, came our astronauts. "Calamari in a Can," as they were known back whence. From deep bunkers in the mantle, magnetotronic propulsion systems hurled them fiercely away from our planet into the farthest reaches of space. In spheres and saucers and ships shaped like slivers they penetrated the mysteries of the unknown Void.
But, as with all exploration, there were tragedies. Upon that beach in Ye Olde Mexico you did witness one of the failed re-entries, I fear. Raise a saucer of milk to them tonight, my fuzzy friends, and toast their boldly lived lives.
With Honor I Remain
The Giant Squid
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