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Squid #416
(published January 8, 2009)
Ask the Giant Squid: On Our Communications, Trans-Dimensional
Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?
Dear Giant Squid:

I'm doing a research project on you and I was wondering what you call the baby giant squid. I also wanted to know how you communicate. Hurry! My report's due soon!

Valued Reader,

I was upon the verge of setting word onto screen when my lab assistant Rob, as often he does, did lean against the glass of my tank and interject an unrequested snippet of wisdom.

"That shit is cold; the distinguished lil Yuri ain't no baby. He's just tiny and shit. Not his fault."

I glanced about my tank, looking for the cuttlefish with whom I have been obliged, these past few weeks, to spend my every waking moment. I had thought, at the very least, he and I might "compare of the notes" on the communication strategies of various cephalopods, worldwide. This would generate for me a satisfying answer in list format. The answer which comes as a list, she is what Rob would call a Mitzvah: a thing that most perceive to be a simple "good deed," but which is, in fact, a solemn dictate appealing to the very core of one's Nature.

This, of course lead me to the polite musing on The List Columns of the past—a grand cephalopodic tradition to which I had hoped to initiated the cuttlefish. Sigh, I will, for my lists, they have been great fillers and savers of time for when I had no meaningful response to give. Better even then when I intentionally, Mister-Miyagishly, misunderstand your queries, so that I might lead you Socratically (that is, "in a bastard like fashion" as Rob says, not rectally, as our mechanic Devo has quipped) to a deeper and more profound truth.

Rob, meanwhile, had leaned close to my tank, resting his greasy forehead against the glass and cupping his hands about his eyes, so as to block out extraneous and distracting lights. "Damn, Lord A, what happened to Tiny Mr. K?"

Roused, I searched the confines of my tank, fully expecting to encounter some atrocity of fortune.

"CUTTLEFISH?" I intoned, then thought myself foolish, realizing that such cooing would be heard much more clearly out in the lab than here, in our tank. I flashed my chromatophors, I released small trails of warning ink, I roiled my tentacles, I flared my fins . . . all was to no avail. I was keenly aware, for the first time in weeks, that I shared these waters with no creature.

I was, again, alone.

I did not know whether to celebrate with one dog, or ten.


But Rob was not available to take my dictation, for he had already retreated to confer with our Francophonic chimp Claude and eldritch graphic designer Ysslena, who were playing a round of Bananagrams on an operating table in the experimental theater.

The Eldritch Lady drew her simian lower limbs up to herself and did hang, suspended in a lotus position, her thousand breasts weeping acrid rotting milk, her scaly flesh flickering green and black in the light of a hundred newly illuminated candles.

I wondered if it was possible to completely remove the last clinging molecules of cuttlefish stench from the waters of the tank without a complete (and expensive) chemical rinse, flush, scrub, and replenishment. Our accountant, Mr. Leeks, has been quite insistent on costs and their general cuttings (which, as it turns out, cannot be grafted to other, healthier financial reports in order to grow new and hearty revenue streams, despite the insistence of our clients in the automotive industry).

The last time we flushed the tank, I attempted to pursue an economical source of sea-water by way of ballast water from a freighter in Lake St. Claire. This lead to an unpleasant zebra mussel infestation. While I am ill at ease speaking ill of fellow mollusks, it should be noted that Greek Zebra Mussels are atrocious creatures who sing such songs that whither the limbs and scald the flesh, and likewise taste strongly of light motor oil. And they pun, often and egregiously.

The ancient spirit who is currently employed as our graphic designer did cast the bananagramic runes upon the floor, and the scattered letters did form an ancient sigil which rent the fabric of the temporal plane in twain, and from that uncolored gap did unfold rings of winged fire, and from those interlocking rings unfurled banners of sorrow, and upon those banners were inscribed pictograms of a billion tiny black warriors, each holding a different contorted and occult position, each calling out different lost and unhearable phonemes composed of light and stench as well as sound, the poetry of which was last heard echoing the black halls of a temple that rested at the heart of a long dead sun.

The poetry resurrected The Ten Shades, and Rob was left to fight the Ten Shades alongside our simian band of Francophonic apes, none of which was entirely expected or welcome on an otherwise lazy Thursday afternoon.

As Claude and Renee defended against slicing moon blades with their upturned Swingline staplers, and as Rob nobly bawled and shrieked and threw cheap folding sheet-metal chairs into the gaping maw which had opened up in our realty, attempting to beat back a greater threat to which even my optically perfect eye was not privy, I considered that perhaps I could salt my own freshwater rather than importing another tankful of seawater from Maine. Perhaps I could even pay under-employed local roustabouts to quarry the salt from our local mines? The savings in transport cost alone would be not insignificant, especially if I denied the workers conveyance other than skating boards or wheeled barrows.

The cuttlefish oil did cling to me, and was vexing.

Just as I was contemplating investigating such calculations as were needed to effect my plan, the entirety of my staff collapsed into the rift which had been opened by dark magic(k)s, and darker word games, and the rift she did close.

The floor and walls were scorched, and in some places, the steel members of the building itself had been exposed by the heat of the blast, the metal not blackened but instead polished and sheening. And I could see, as the haze cleared, that the steel had in fact been plated with a new alloy by the intensity of the magic(k)al incident, and in the new alloy were inscribed a thousand lines of poetry in a shifting and unkempt language which made even me know what it must feel to be seasick.

And then the poetry faded, and the air cleared fully, and the steel, still bright, cooled and shimmered only faintly.

And Leeks did come up from his office on the floor below. He stood at the stair well door, considered the debris, and did return down the stair well from whence he came, giving me no opportunity to inquire as to the cost of quarrying the 87,500 kilos of salt my tank requires.

I have, for all the remainder of this day, attempted to raise Leeks via both mails electronique, instant message, and the Twitters, but he fails to respond, and I no longer have any lab employees to send to fetch him, as neither Jarwaun nor Trael have arrived to work today, on account that their schooling has resumed its session. I strongly suspect that my Leeks is on the Facebook, playing of Scrabbles. Unfortunately, I have been banned from the Facebook, and thus have no venue via which to arrest his attention. So, my dear readers, if it is the case that you are upon the Facebooks, and that you note that my Mr. Leeks is "online," could you perhaps take a moment to facebook him a memorandum indicating that I have matters to discuss with him, as regards salinization supplies?

In the Meantime, I Remain,
Your Giant Squid

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