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Squid #410
(published November 27, 2008)
Ask the Giant Squid: Wherefore Hath My Mavericks Gone? Denouement Sans Coda
Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?
Listen Squid, I just want a little straight-talk express on what went wrong with my maverick, OK? Not a bunch of crazy talk about some old black guy's sci-fi cellphone.

55,754,431 Americ—

Listen, yourselves, my 55-plus-million unlikely Obama voters: although the nature of our relationship places me in the unenviable role of responding to your queries, it hardly means that I am confined to the servitude of your beckoning call. Quite the contrary, like most wise-sage servants, I am more the masters than my masters can muster.

As in any relationship, although you may provide the fodder, you do not dictate the terms along which we feast.

That now clarified, as you shall recall, I have, as of late, spent some little time interacting with the uncle of my young typist, Jarwaun, and his elementary-aged brother, Trael. This Uncle Terrence is possessed of a remarkable cellular telephone of his own design which, harnessing the vagueries of quantum entanglement and superposition, is capable of placing calls to past iterations of itself in adjacent timelines in the multiverse. While certainly a novel and interesting technology, it also clearly lacks real-world applications, as it is impossible to determine of any given phone call hails from a multiverse suitably similar to yours to furnish reliable intelligence.

Following Uncle Terrence's eventual appearance in my lab last week, I was troubled. The minority of my discomfiture hailed from the troubling invention, per se, while the greater part was inspired by Uncle Terrence's closing bon mot that he would see me at Detroit's annual America's Thanksgiving Parade, with the implication that I would be going berserk, or possibly simply berserkier than usual. Not one to refuse the chance to tempt fate (indeed fate MUST be tempted and seduced and lured so that one may bed Destiny), and despite Jarwaun's distressing pusillanimity, I made immediate plans to attend this parade, instructing Jarwaun and Trael to be prepared for me to pick them up at 7 of the clock ante meridian; a time that Jarwaun indicated is colloquially referred to as "the butt's crack of Dawn."

In order to maintain incognito, I had chosen to adorn my chrome and glass auto-velocitating environmental suit in long swags of the tinsel, and perch atop my glass viewing dome a large, flocked-felt stocking cap of bloodied red, with the white fur trim and pommed-pom—such hats, I have observed in many videos and photographs of the annual parade event, are quite common among parade goers.

Despite my well-crafted disguise, my arrival upon the parade route nonetheless attracted immediate attention when I inadvertently pierced the hood of an idling Mercury Grande Marquis, sending forth a hissing plum of radiator's steam. A horrified crowd gazed upon me with holiday dread whose spell was only broken when a small caucasian boy in a very large, puffy parka of the Red Wings shouted in glee, "Aww YEAH! Space Monster Santa!" The crowd cheered and, quickly congratulating my forethought, I leveled my air cannon at the center of their mass, and fired a brief burst of Candied Canes, mico-Snickers, rattling packettes of M-and/or-Ms, and full-sized, rolled paper tubes of The Sweet and the Tarts. As the gathered children screamed with glee, I reloaded, pointed my barrel sky-ward, and fired again.


A feeding frenzy of vast and impressive proportions delightfully ensued. As the children roiled about me, like so many sugar-orgiastic maggots, I heard a series of hard raps against the chrome of my velocitator, and turned to see small Trael looking up from the throng of children, alongside his elder brother Jarwaun, who held a store-bought, temporally-conventional cellular telephonic device to one ear, with the index finger of his opposing hand screwed into the other, his eyes closed. For such a young and vibrant man, Jarwaun looked singularly exhausted, especially considering how young and brisk the day itself was. Trael cupped his tiny hands about his tiny mouthparts ina vain attempt to amplify his tiny voice:

"J-Monkey sayin' that Rob sayin' that Fox 2 Problem Solvers sayin' that a drunk homeless man run up and punched a police horse really hard in the face and then the horse bit him."

Trael looked at me as Jarwaun completed his conversation and snapped his phone shut, sliding it into the ample pockets of his ample pants. Then they both stood, patiently watching me as the frothing foam of candy-maddened children washed around the pylons of my velocitator, like the sea about rocky Charybdis. Jarwaun rolled his eyes, puffed air from his for-talking mouth, then visibly sighed. Trael again cupped his hands about his mouth, "Jarwaun pretty sure that the homeless man is Unca T, on account Fox 2 Problem Solvers say he was yellin' Space Monsters comin' for Santa and I got twenty bucks on the reindeer! They sayin' maybe it is gorilla's marketing for the Greektown casinos, 'cause they havin' trouble 'cause of the economy isn't too good."

I nodded, then announced, "AWAY, DEAR HUMAN CHILDREN! IT IS TIME FOR ME TO RE-UNION WITH MY ELF-DEER UPON THE DARK SIDE OF YOUR LIMPID AND UNREMARKABLE MOON!" This did nought to clear the clog of children, and so I amended my proclamation by announcing that, for the next thirteen minutes, all local Starbuckeries would honor their spent candy-wrappers as 66-percent-off coupons. With a startling quickness, our path was clear.

I would like to take this time to extend my sincerest apologies to the Starbucks Corporation Family of International Coffee and Coffeehouse Chain Locations, their Detroit franchisees and local subsidiaries. As per court-mandated remediation, I will reimburse you for 12 percent of all properly documented structural damage sustained during the Thanksgiving Coffee Melees in Detroit. Remuneration may take the form of either ambergris or polished, magnetized steel disks.

As we made our way to the constabulary Pavillion B, Trael, Jarwaun, and I discussed many and several ruses by which we might "spring" Uncle Terrence. Although we settled on presenting Trael as a Dutch Duke suffering a rare genetic disorder and in need of the return of his psychic healer, it turned out that Detroit's Finest were only too glad to be relieved of their charge, who was by that time unconscious and snoring loudly. As we carefully walked back to my lab high atop the Renaissance Center, I carrying Uncle Terrence as one might a snoring, befouled sack of grain, Trael posited that perhaps Uncle Terrence had reinstated the voicemail on his back-from-the-future telephone, and thus driven himself to distraction.

"Naw," Jarwaun opined, "He's just plain drunk, T. Smells drunk. Besides, check it," he pulled a cellular phone—not his own—from his pocket. "It wasy layin' on that cot the cops had Unc T. on. Almost didn't see it." Jarwaun flipped the phone open, revealing the single red button that is the hallmark of Uncle Terrence's phone, "See the screen?" Jarwaun held down the power button, and there was nary even a boop. "Batteries dead as dead."

"Maybe he got the voicemail back on, then got all crazy and drunk, and then forgot to plug it in?" Trael hazarded.

Jarwaun shrugged, "Maybe don't matter, 'cause he's just a drunk. It's like Pop says. He always liked Unc T. just fine—you don't remember, but Moms didn't like her bro near so much as Pop dud. But Pop said that Unc T's whole problem was that he flew too close to the sun."

Trael's jaw dropped, and I admit my own curiosity piqued, but Jarwaun was shaking his head afore either of us could articulate a proper question. "He don't got no jet pack. Pop was just sayin' that Unc T. chased too far after his ideas. You gotta know when to let an idea just sit there. You can't chase all the time, until you tire it out, and then you got it. A real good idea ain't never gonna tire out, just gonna run and run 'til you break. So, you got a good one, you gotta chase it some, and then let it run for awhile, and sit back, so the idea knows you where it's at, and then it gonna come circle right on back. Pop says is that most of the time, most races are yours to loose. Most folks, he says, they loose 'cause they try too hard to pound right down the middle, 'stead a taking a look at the situation and realizing that the right way is to hook around to the side door. Most folks, Pop says, don't know that it's better to smile and help folks to see that they wanna help you, than it is to pound the pulpit and tell folks how it is and what they gotta be scared of. Pop says there's this line between not caring enough and caring too much, and if you get on either side it falls apart. And Unc T., he is a total, old-school pulpit pounder, smashing right down the middle instead of hooking around, making demands instead of getting folks to see they all wand the same stuff. He got a good heart, but the whole world is playing chess, and Unc T is pounding checkers across the board."

We stepped out of the gloom of the day into the deeper gloom of the parking garage, then stood before the freight elevators. "Listen, Mr. Squid; our Pop don't like us hanging out with Unc T., not since he been drinking, and we gotta get back before he wake up, 'cause he gonna be sore if we can't spend the day together, 'cause he don't get much of them off. You take care of Big T. for us?" I assented. Jarwaun pushed the button to summon the elevator, then held out Terrence's phone, presenting it on the flat of his palm. "Here," he said. Trael scowled as I gingerly lifted the phone from Jarwaun's palm with the claw of my left manipulator.

"You make sure to give that back when Unca T. wakes up," he warned. "Ain't yours." I shifted my gaze to Jarwaun, who shrugged.

"Whatever," he said. "You'd do him a favor if you swipped it."

But, of course, were I to dress him in gold-weave pajamas, then it could hardly be called theft, no?

Honestly, I Persist,
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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