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Squid #429
(published April 9, 2009)
Ask the Giant Squid: There Is No Sand on North Beach (part two of three)
Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?
Dear Giant Squid,

Why are Chuck Norris jokes so funny?

Mike Tyson (but not the famous one)

My Dear Unfamous Mike,

Again I am forced to apologize. Last week I addressed the origin of your jokes involving the martial prowess and pants-soiling terror of Chuck Norris, but I failed to address properly your question. This week I swear upon the sweetmeats of my lab assistant, Rob, I shall answer your question.

The answer lies wrapped within the coils of the story of my cousin Albert, his pet monkey, the detective John Tichy, San Francisco, the Writer and an errant entry in a date book.

After just short moments of contemplating Cousin Albert's monkey's cryptic missive concerning the anachronistic pugilistic stylings of Mr. Chuck Norris and his nemesis, Vin Diesel, I drew our attention back to Mr. Tichy's "clue" as to Cousin Albert's whereabouts: the note in his calender, to whit:

Monster Abby tried to rob the Writer

"AT THE RISK OF PLAINLY EXPOSING MY IGNORANCE FOR ALL TO GAWK UPON," I began, "WHY WOULD COUSIN ALBERT WRITE OF HIS DAILY TODOS IN THE THIRD PERSON? IT WAS HIS WONT TO INDICATE SUCH NOTES IN THE SECOND PERSON PLURAL" I then made to offer such exempli gratis as this from the previous week—"You guys got the dentist, Tues @ 3pm"—but Tichy held up his palm, which was as soft, round, and greasy as a hamburger's rare patty.

"Save it for the orphans, Squidso; I don't need a grammarian to tell me this infinitive has been split. But I'd say it's also a little odd that all the rest of these dates and memos are in pencil—"


"—and this one is done in pen."

Cousin Albert's monkey gave an appreciative whistle, which I ratified. "YOURS ARE SHARP EYES, TICHY; THESE ARE INDEED SCRIBED IN THE PEN'S INK."

"Yeah, well, they may not be optically perfect, but they get the job done." Then, oddly, he bent low, and took a long, appreciative sniff of the paper. "'course, it's even odder that a squid who normally writes his notes in pencil would first switch to a biro for just one note, and would go out for store-bought ink instead of using what he's got." Astounded, I leaned close and gazed long upon the ink of the note, especially the fluttering tails of the y and ses; it was invariant in darkness.


"Bingo. Also, the hand-writing is totally different. Look at the vertices of the W. No way a mechanically-enhanced tentacle made that. That is the W of a mammal." Tichy gathered up the calendar, leaving Cousin Albert's other papers upon his desk, "C'mon; I know a guy in the cop-shop who owes me a favor."

Outside, Tichy and Cousin Albert's monkey hopped upon a trolly headed to Bush street whilst I jogged alongside, taking the steep incline by leaps and bounds, delighting children and terrifying the horses of ice-wagons and rag-and-bone men, a train of yapping, reckless dogs trailing behind me.

At the precinct house there were immediate problems, as the sound of Tichy's voice called forth a yelling detective who, among other things, "Didn't owe you, this shellfish or a goddamn monkey shit, Tichy; not after what you pulled in the Mission with those hoople-heads!"

Tichy held up a snapshot photograph for the detective to see; all that was visible to me and Cousin Albert's monkey was the card's back, on which there was a note lightly scribbled in dull pencil.

The detective's face drained as the unknown content of the photograph registered within his optical cortex. "How'd you get that?" he snarled, reaching out. Tichy nimbly pulled the picture back.

"Ya buy your ticket and you get to take your snapshot."

The detective fumed. "That's my daughter!" he coughed, the rises of his cheekbones a pair of glowing cinders.

Tichy shrugged. "Every gal is someone's daughter," he opined, craning around to look at the front of the snapshot. Tichy made an exaggerated show of his appreciation for the aesthetic of the work, "No touching," he said regretfully. "Not with the cheap tickets, at least, and you gotta bring your own camera, but—"

The detective tore his eyes from the snapshot, and his face twisted in disgust as they settled on Tichy's sweat visage. "What the hell do you want, Tichy?"

"Just for you to look at a writing sample, tell me what you think?"

"And then you'll what? Hand over the negatives?" This last question was rendered in a lilting mock, derision voice at its plain futility.

"Naw," Tichy said, "besides, it ain't like I was the only guy buying a ticket, so my negatives won't give you much peace. But, I'll give you this pic—"

"Why the H—"

"Which has an address scribbled on the back. You can go there and take your complaint up with the ticket-taker directly."

The detective flattened his features. "Show me your sample." Tichy handed the detective the calendar, and the detective glanced at it, ran his finger along the ink, and handed it back. As he did so, a note fluttered out. He bent to pick it up, saying, "That's weird ink, raised, like on a wedding invite. You can't do that with a normal pen," he idly glanced at the card that had fallen to the floor. "Maybe it's a calligraphy pen. I dunno," he rubbed his finger across the paper scrap. "Go down to Orlofsky's Stationary and Supply on Sutter and have Orlofsky—old Orlofsky, the grandad—take a look. This," he held up the scrap, which turned out to be the calling card Cousin Albert's monkey had delivered, with its cryptic observations on the Chuck Norris' pugilistic prowess and Vin Diesel's indefatigability. "Same hand, same ink, same pen. Now give me the picture and fuck off." Which we did.

There was no Old Orlofsky immediately apparent at Orlofsky's Stationer and Supply, nor customers, nor staff. Tichy pounded the locked door for five minutes, face pressed to the glass, his free hand cupped around his eyes, before we decided to reconnoiter other options around back.


"I dunno," Tichy said, "That ain't precisely like Detective Shants." We came to the backdoor and found it unlocked. "Any money there's an apartment above. No problem." We pushed through and, predictably, problems presented themselves, here in the form of a bulky, hairless mulatto weeping as he paged through a rough-printed pamphlet.

"Aw, hell," Tichy sighed.

"Ya know," the mulatto wept, his plangent voice setting off fearsome cavitation in the waters of my velocitator, "They always said, if you cut Chuck Norris in half, then you get one long Chuck Norris with a double twist, but if you cut that Chuck Norris in half, you wind up with two interlocking loops, each with a double-twist."

I was at a loss for words, and fortunately Mr. Tichy was not.

"What you been reading, Bub? Did the Writer give you that brain poison?" The rounded detective turned to me and held his hand afore my eyes like a father preventing a son from observing pornography. "Squiddo, don't look at that. Don't read a flamin' word of it." Tichy barked orders to the monkey, "Get that damn book out of his hands, monkey, it's one of the Writers' experimental works.'

I then noted that Tichy's point was well taken—there was a prodigious amount of blood leaking from the mulatto's ears, soaking into his shirtsleeves—but at the mention of the book the mulatto's head snapped up, and his heavy-lidded eyes laid a hellish fire upon us, and from his mouth came a sound, a noisome and ancient spectrum that, simply put, absolutely defied the linguistic limits of description imposed by the thin match sticks and shallow slashes of this typography.

I Fortunately 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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