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Squid #407
(published November 6, 2008)
Ask the Giant Squid: Wherefore Hath My Mavericks Gone?
Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?
Dear Giant Squid,

Why didn't my maverick win?

55,754,431 Americans

My Dear Usual Readership and Additional Downheartened Fifty-Five Millions,I fear that, this year, our electoral system was besmirched by clear ballot layouts, properly functioning voting machines, massive voter enfranchisement, and a huge influx of rabble stuffing the ballot box with their petty opinions. It is always bittersweet when a competition drifts beyond that which can be simply bought, unfolding itself into that which must be hard won. That said, it is the mode and method of the hard-winning which, more than the outcome, captured my attention this week. To wit, upon the Elector's Day, at near unto 5 of the clock post meridian, my typist Jarwaun appeared in my lab, characterized both by fluster and exuberance.

"Yo, Mr. Squid, you seen Tray?" Jarwaun wore a blue t-shirt upon which were pasted thirty small stickers proclaiming his love of an Ensweetened O'Bama. The numerous Obamae shifted across Jarwaun's torso, their reassuring grins disconcerting in the extreme.


Jarwaun scowled and squinted, swore a quiet oath, then spun upon his heels. "Rob!" he called across the largely empty Farm of The Cubicles, attempting to capture the dim attention of my oft-wayward assistant and friend, Rob Miller. "You seen Tray!? He was supposed to meet me after school, like, three hours ago, so we could canvass and shit. Get the Obama out."

Rob held aloft a flat white palm, "Voted. Libertarian. Same shit every year."

"Your ass ain't no Libertarian," Jarwaun retorted, incredulous. "What Jew got the right to vote Libertarian?"

"Lampshade," Rob replied flatly. This was always his response when the questions of politics were raised in the office. It was concise, but impenetrable. In most respects, I admired it immensely, and wished some such similar response of my own.

"Fuck that, lampshade. Ain't what I asked, anyhow. You see Tray or what?"

"He called around two and asked what time it was, then I heard him tell that to some guy he called 'Uncle Terry.' Said they were in Inkster, and that they'd still be there earlier, and maybe yesterday, too, or some shit. And there was this nuts-crazy echo on the line. So. Damn. Annoying." Rob shook his head, "That kid, man."

With this, Jarwaun darted from the office.

What none could have known, save if I had told them, was that I and Trael had been together that day, but it was upon a "pinkie swearing" that I was held to silence by young Master Trael. I breach no oaths, dear readers. Not ever. (hardly ever)

You see, Trael had decided that he wanted to start upon the canvassing earlier than Jarwaun, and had conspired with me to skip of the school. At that time I inquired if we might cotton, and also silk, as the canvas, being a coarse weave, can chafe many, and dissuade their votesmanship. Trael only shook his head. So stern in his duties; he is a credit to his phylum.

And so, he in his Tiger's cap, and I in my Antibathyspheric velocitating environmental suit, did stalk the inner streets of the vast megalopolis of Detroit. This is to say that we stumbled along empty streets and burst through vacant buildings, causing structural damage to many, but toppling only a very few.

At each door, Trael did knock and there appeared a gentleman or a lady, or sometimes a young boy or girl. On a few occasions (although nonetheless seemingly more oft than might please young Trael), there appeared a young man who was gray of skin, vacant of eye, and who gripped a glass tube which smoldered, possibly from some unspeakable and eldritch experiment pursued within his domicile. Had I earlier known Detroit support such a solitary cabal of chthonic researchers, I might have deemed it wise to toss my own helm into the crowded field. Ah, but for the benefits of foresight or time travel . . .

In most cases, the person drawn forth would smile or scowl or sigh at the appearance of this boy. Trael wore a blue shirt, it's fanciful O crisp, and a single Sweet O'Bama sticker plastered over his tiny, steady heart. He would hold up one copy of a stack of papers that he had made with the laboratory copy machine, upon which paper Trael had affixed the following message:

Today is Nov 4, and you gotta VOTE now. Dr. Martin Luther King died so we could VOTE. So did Abraham Lincoln, and a lot of other people. Its a sacred right and we gotta do it so there ghosts are happy in HEAVEN knowing that it was OK to die for VOTING.

You can VOTE to whoever you want. There are old white grandpas, and also a funny lady with glasses. But Barack O'bama is a good one to VOTE for, and not just cause he black. That is cheap, VOTING him just cause hes black. Hes good to VOTE for cause he is probably a really good dad. When you see him on TV he looks like a really good dad, and America needs a lot of really good dads right now.

Please go and VOTE today.

In virtually every case, the recipient of the message would smile and sigh, and sometimes even gently place a hand on the boy's head. Many times their eyes would glisten with what I believe might have been tears,which is perplexing, as Trael's message, to my admittedly jaundiced eye, was neither sad nor frightening.. The only variant would be the gray skinned experimentalist who, deep in thought, would only let the paper slip from his fingers and stumble back into his home, glass pipe in claw.

After the generally positive reception, I would then speak my allotted piece:


And then the folk would take notice of me and scream, going running from their homes, I am sure directly to their nearest voting precinct. Virtually all would do as this, except for the gray skinned men who would only occasionally glance in my direction afore returning to their philter, phials, and smoking alcohol burners.

Finally, deep in the heart of the city, beyond the residential holdings, by the grand and secretly clockwork statue of Stevens Thompson Mason, our first governator, The Boy Governator, Trael did arouse a man.

"Unca Terry?"

The man was pulled slowly from his slumber, and did squint up at the boy: "Little T?"

They stared at one another. The haunted clockwork statue loomed, but quietly, and without motion.

Finally, Trael did speak. "You, uh, vote Big T?"

"How's your momma?"

"She fine."

"What day is it?"

"Voting day."

The man stared.

"Tuesday," Trael replied.

"You got any money, Little T?"

Trael searched his coat. I stood very still, in the shadows along an abandoned street, the windows of the building behind me had been bricked up for five stories.

"I got five dollar. And a quarter. And a Chuck-E-Cheese token." Trael presented his discovers in one open hand. He spoke quietly.

Uncle Terry did reach up and furtively collect the offering.

"I got a lady out west of here, she got my car. Been stuck, little brother. Been stuck right here waiting on a miracle to change my situation. Big ideas in that car, little brother. Big ideas. You wanna see?"

The man remained in the shadow of the statue. Trael told him to wait. The boy came to me, asked for my secrecy, and then was off to the man, pulling him up, and leading him away. They caught a bus. They were gone.

From there I did march back across the city to the laboratory. As I met each human I did exhort them as had been the previous plan:


And each did fall, wail, cry, or curse, and I knew that I had brought change to their hearts in the name of that plucky lad of the semitic shamrock, the Baruch O'Bama.

And so it was no surprise to me when I heard that the state had fallen neatly in his favor, and that the nation as a whole, surveying our wisdom, had done likewise. Trael too must have known what path he was taking off into yonder bus with this man he had found. Surely he was laying the groundwork for a late hour persuasion. And Jarwaun, upon hearing this, did go to harvest the fruit of Trael's effort.

I know they were successful, for here we are, eating of that fruit. Change has come.

Yet I Remain,
Your Giant Squid

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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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