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Squid #42
(published May 31, 2001)
Ask The {Sally McBootykins}: THE BIG AMERICAN
Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?
Dear Minions, Friends and Terrified Acolytes of My Eternal Sleepless Aquatic Terror:

After sufficiently reviewing Tom's stack of legislative commands which have been posted to this laboratory from Washington's ever productive legislative engine, I have been presented by him with two equally detestable options. It pains me to review my options so bluntly here, but I am not yet ready to face down and destroy the full might of this Militarium Americanum.

Here lies my predicament:

A) Tom and I can continue with the laborious process of adhering to the new, varied and bizarre regulations which have emitted like so much paper effluence from the BlankHouse occupied by the Simian from Texas. Such new regulations have been relayed to me by monkey-butler Tom as follows:

1. The construction of a pressurized squid-habitrail system which may snake about the city of Cin-Cin-Natty and whose tubes I must daily traverse so as to allow the super-scientists adequate opportunity exam my manner of locomotion in an attempt to develop some sort of cavitation-free super drive for a next generation naval submarine. It is unclear, as of yet, if I must fund this project, or if the costs of construction and maintenance shall be paid by the local municipality or Council of Learned Citizens

2. The wearing of plastic "flip-flops" upon my hunting tentacles.

3. A strict adherence to a new series of Modesty Regulations which include wearing a large black silk patch over one or the other of my optically perfect eyes for eight hours of the day. In conjunction with this travesty I am compelled to also affix a large tri-corner head covering to the top of my cephalitic sack— this hat, I am told, should, but by no means must, bear a depiction of the fleshless human cranium surmounting crossed femurs. Upon every third day, at the time I don this attire, I must also take upon my thorax the corpse of a small, colorful avian that has been stuffed with sand and sawdust. Finally, if this particular set of strict modesty regulations isn't met I will be compelled to don the entire costume for a full week with the addition of a plastic meat hook held over five of my eight tentacles and I must prove my adherence to the regulation by slowly spinning my way along the habitrail through the city for the inspection of a locally appointed magistrate's court. In order to keep my location along the habitrail apparent at all times for the ease of inspection of the several jurors on the panel, I must also chant the following:

"Y'ar, a sea piraty I be I be
Sailing the seven seas indeed.
Taking the cannon shells of her majesty
Down on down into that briny sea."
The list, which came this morning on very official looking parchment, is quite long and meanders in this way for some time, each dictate more horrifying then the last. Indeed, some days I have listened to the squawking admonitions of that rotund slug-man Quickly LimBaww, the way that he caws out against the encroaching claws of the federal administration and its unchecked growth... and for so long I thought that he was deluded by too high a mixture of nitrogen in his gas feed. But now, dear friends, even with the iron fisted rule of these Republikings who so quickly call out for individual freedom, I feel exactly the fear that Quickly announced to me. If I had a proper rectum, I am now sure that I would indeed feel "the man's fist" firmly planted therein.

Luckily, and to my great joy, Tom has presented to me a Plan B. It is on these occasions that I remember why it is that, after so many missteps on his part, I continue to spare his pitiable life.

B is as follows, and its elegance excites me:

I shall apply for CITIZENSHIP!

Certainly the simplicity of this approach has almost caused me to pass out with joy. I fear not the problems of being labored with your "citizenship"... taxes and jury duty and possible drafting into the military are of little concern because, soon, very soon, a great flood of crushing power shall wash across this fertile landscape and the searching tentacular power of those without Names or Faces will destroy your paltry civilization between the two final heartbeats of one dying man. But, as that moment is not immediately upon us, I would gladly trade some small percentage of my immense income to the Monkey Men of congress in exchange for being released from these stifling and distracting Alien Regulations.

And jury duty? Who really does that anyway?

Tom has informed me that Citizenship tests are slightly more complex than television has lead me to believe. There may, also, be a traveling component. But after this past week of torture, I am ready for any inconvenience that might more quickly speed me into the embrace of Lady Liberty (all the better so that I might slink into her soft embrace and burrow beneath the flesh of her breast, devouring her from the inside). And besides, the sun-nearness dry season is upon this O-HI-OO valleyscape and I understand that is the tradition of these Americans to make for the concrete traveling strips upon these warm days to better draw near the sweet nectar of there wide and diverse countryside. If I am to be an American, I suppose I must participate at least once in the strange ritual your Bunch of Bradykins called so eloquently "The VAH-CAH-SHUN."

To the road, dear comrades! This new text space shall be devoted, for a time, to my adventures!

Even now Tom is requisitioning transport.

Soon I shall be one of you, and then, from the inside, I shall burrow and wait for the moment when all is darkness and blank.


Sally McBootykins

[Dear Sang:

If you're reading this, then you can pretty much guess what I've done. This is what we always talked about. Jumping ship. Freedom. An end to the terror.

When I signed on for a summer lab-job, I never meant it to be a career. But you just can't quit the squid, y'know?

The thing is, is I found a workaround to the all-seeing vulture eye of His Heinous Highness. Yeah, look at the boss's column for this week— that's all me, baby, 100% Tom. Not that I wrote it, but I . . . manipulated it into existence. I couldn't think of anything better to do with it. You can tell me how much I suck later. But, I have to say, I'm maybe starting to understand why the Squid gets off on this stuff.

So... as you've probably noticed, I've got the Squid way amped up. I figure before things go any farther I should lay out what is going on for you. We'll be gone for a while and you should have a pretty clear account of things before we leave so that if (strike that: when) things go south, you'll at least know why. You'll probably be replacing me after this escapade (how long til I stop thinking escapade and start thinking cluster-fuck?), but I'm sorta fine with that. Just one piece of advice: when the Squid promotes you, he will offer you a fine leather jacket as a friendly bonus. Accept it (no need to piss him off too early) but do not, repeat Do Not wear it: burn it, bury it, commit it to the sea, but never, never wear it; it'll be made of my flesh.

I wore Adam Bilkins' tanned torso for six weeks before I found video footage of the flaying. I think the squid left it out specifically so that I would find it. He's so fucked up, it's beyond belief sometimes. If Martians ever attack, I pray for their sake that they don't land in the sea— no one deserves this shit.

So, reasons? Why am I cracking now?

I could lay out another tale of fucking woe for you I suppose . . . like last week when the squid released brain parasites into the bathroom . . . or two weeks ago when I discovered the cocker spaniel in the corridor on the way to the elevator, except it wasn't really the cocker spaniel I had brought in that morning but instead it was five genetically engineered crabs stacked together wearing the skin of the goddamn cocker spaniel like they were kids wearing a trenchcoat trying to sneak into an adult picture.

And they fucking talked to me. I hate that. You know that little Shirley Temple voice he gives to all of his little fuckers. How the hell does he do that? How do you translate a crab's thoughts into human speech? And then why—WHY?—give it the voice of a little girl? Shirley-friggin-Temple's Curlytop from hell voice.

And you know what they said?

Tom, tom, biddle bomb,
Never loved, never seen
only laughed at across the sea.

Tim, bim, fiddle kim,
Korean food makes you sweat!

That's two fucked up things, all by itself. Needless to say, it's been (and will be) a thousand more. I am going out of my mind. I am going to shed this nightmare job one way or the other, and if means my skin gets shed along with it, then whatever.

Truth told, Sang, I've given up. I don't care. I want to be dead. And, you know what? Once you lose your capacity to give a fuck about physical suffering— well, it opens a lotta godamn doors in your life, is all. My dad was a grunt in the USMC, and what he told me was "Tommy, only wasp-waisted armchair generals talked about strategy. Real men, on the ground, talk logistics. You copy that?"

Yeah Dad, roger that. I tell you, Sang, Dad'd be proud. Thank god the sonofabitch is dead.

But y'know, once I realized that I didn't care anymore I decided to do something about it. If there's nothing to gain or lose, why not start some shit? Why not have my Last Grand Adventure?

But, so, enough with the confessions and bitching, here's what's going down, here's some logistics for ya:

Remember that terminal we found at the bottom of the supply closet? The one we were like "Jesus, why the fuck did they put a server up here?" and then just figured it was DHCP for the GS's web connectivity or something? Well, turns out that it isn't even on our LAN at all— I pulled it away from the wall, and found that its ethernet cable doesn't even go into an RJ-45, just straight into the wall. Turns out, when they split this floor up to make the lab and shit, some drywaller fucked his shit up. That box (and don't even touch it, because it's the keystone of what I've got going here) isn't ours: it should be in building maintenance, on the other side of that wall. It's part of the building's LAN. And, since it isn't on our local network, the Squid, he doesn't even think to monitor it. The question "can he monitor it?" is for a different day.

So, I've been able to do all kinds of things without the Calamari knowing. First thing, of course, I checked out some, er, "anatomical studies," if you get my drift . . . its been a long time since the squid let me spill any of my "vital fluids." (We should never have let him see Dr. Strangelove, Singy-Sang.) But, so, after that got stale (say, a month or so later) I started dicking around with it to see where else it could take me without alerting the Squid. All kinds of places in maintenance, it turns out. And, strangely, down into the servers of the law office below us.

But the thing, the great enabler, is this: there's a program on that box that controls the electric locks on the server cage, down in the basement. I dunno how they've got shit laid out down there, but our server #3 (that's the one that handles e-mail, internal messaging and some of the non-mission critical systems) must be leaning right against it, and the shielding on it seems fucked, because when you flutter the electromagnet in that lock, it causes regular drops in the ping time for that server. The chip on the networking card must be sucky or something.

Do you see where this is going?

I set up a telnet daemon on that box in the closet, and was stuck for a while on how to leverage the situation. Then, two Saturdays ago, I was talking to my sister's pot-dealer's boyfriend (long story), and, basically, we set up a client on the closet-server to translate normal typing into a, like, morse code of magnetic-lock vibrations, and then installed a trojaned version of Yahoo Messenger on the Squid's computer (remember how the Squid's computer was fucked after the "power outage" that only ravaged one floor in one building in all of Cincinatti?.) Our Y!Messenger, in addition to keeping the Squid in touch with all of his online buddies, also constantly pings box #3, watching for fluctuations in the response time, and then translating those back into commands, which it runs as a privileged user.

Long story short: I 0wnz the Squid! And it's a total side-channel: the GS could never trace it back to me, or us, or anyone. There is no direct connection between the computer in the supply closet and his network. The noise is the signal. Besides, his thinking is all in that tank; the whole ruse would never even occur to him.

Do you see Sang? Do you get it!?!

So, let all this suffice to say that I'm going to be borrowing your laptop with the packet radio rig— or, better put, have already borrowed it. Sorry, Sing-Sang. All's fair in love and war.At first it was just fun, like getting your uncle drunk. He'd forget where he was, doze off mid-sentence . . . it was cool.

Then I hit on this idea, the idea: We are gonna take a goddamn vacation. I don't know how it's gonna work, but I got Devo down in the garage to rig up an Escalade with reinforced walls and a travel tank a La Star Trek IV . . . there be squid here, Captain! There be SQUID here!

Now it is just the trick of convincing the Squid to go for it. He's punch drunk and confused. I've got some ideas. We'll be out of here by the end of the week. And the girl down at the law office, she's coming too.

Don't ask me how I am going to swing that, but it is GOING TO HAPPEN.

So, one way or another, we'll be hitting the road. I can't risk using this backchannel for more text traffic (the Squid might wonder what the fuck I'm pounding out on the keyboard— and besides, who'll drive while I'm writing to your sorry ass?) so what I am going to do is rig a little camera mic thingy (you know, like those x10s we always see the ads for on Slashdot?) to my shirt and transmit back this and that when I get the chance.

So, what I need from you is:

1) Keep people the fuck out of that supply closet!

2) Keep an eye on things. When the squid sends in his column, post it. Keep the experiments running. Keep a low profile. And when you get shaky digital video footage from me, try and write something up . . . a log or something, so that it will make sense. This is for me, Sang! Fuck, this is for us, and for Adam and Erik Warren and all the other dead sonsofbitches who've worked our jobs, and for all those poor dogs. This is my Big American! You just keep a log so that when it all goes bad people will know. Know one will care, but, I don't know, I feel light headed these days... giddy as the squid. We're hitting the road! I want someone to remember me.

You'll remember me, right Sang? Remember me.


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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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