[As August 2009 marks the close of our eighth year of weekly publication, we shall spend this month enjoying "the blast from the past" with selections from Poor Mojo's Almanac(k): Year Two (issues 51-100). Please, enjoy!—Your Giant Squid, Editor-in-Chief, PMjA]
[originally published in issue #84]
Dear Giant Squid:
Tell me every thing there is to know about giant squid.
I continue this week with the second installment of my address of your query true. In the grand tradition of bio-graphique, both auto- and standard, I have chosen to rely upon exterior perspectives on the Squid, in the spirit of objectivity. While it may not be possible to catalogue all the truth of the squid-kin within one column—or even in several—I nonetheless hope that we can provide you with a colorful introduction to the soul-ful and spirited side of Architeuthis dux.
For All the Best,
Your Giant Squid
Shit, what do you mean everything I know about giant squid? I don't know shit. Who knows shit about giant squid? There's that guy, right, with the Ahab beard on the Discovery Channel—Dr. Roper, like Mr. Roper? Ask him. Go and knock on his door, he be waitin' for you, where the squids are hers and hers and his, Three's Company too—ya know, Jack and Chrissy and that other chick who is so not hot. Wackiness ensues and shit.
So, yeah, I know shit about squid. Well, okay, so there's this:
This one time I dropped two double-dipped tabs of plasticman acid and drove out to the aquarium on Belle Isle. In general, the rule is "never go to the fucking zoo when you're tripping balls." It's way too fucked up. When you're dosed, every fucking one of God's creatures knows your tits to the wind, and they all totally wanna fuck with you. Especially the monkeys. Those fuckers.
But, of course, there aren't any monkeys in the Belle Isle Aquarium, which is why I thought it was OK to go there. I mean, the plasticman we had, it was a creeper—you had a lotta time to drive as it snuck up on ya. But that day, that was some messed up shit, 'cause there, in the back of the aquarium (which is really just this stubby marble hall with regular old tanks in it—I mean, "aquarium"? Who the fuck are they kidding?) they got this little squid thing they call a cuttlefish. It's totally the opposite of a giant squid, which I think is so fucking funny cause it's like all tiny and shit. I mean, it's CUTE and MEAN. Like Scrappy Doo. Ya gotta be down with the little gray mutt, 'cause he's always, like, freaking out and running every which way, right?
So there is this cuttlefish sitting on the bottom of the tank in this tan dirt, and its all tan and looking like the same as the dirt, and it uses its long little arms to drag up dirt on to its front so that it can all hide, right?
Cuttlefish are like mollusks, right; like a snail or something? Tiny little squid, clams, giant squid, octopuses . . . all the same kinda animals—just like Scoobies. There's Standard Scooby Doo, and Scrappy, and the weird hick cousin in the hat, and the sexy chick Scooby, but they're all still Scoobies. Clams and octopuses and squids and conches and shit—it's the same thing. I figure the clams are like the hick cousins in the hats . . . I dunnno which are the sexy dog girls, but the cuttlefish are totally the Scrappy Doos of the mollusks. Cuttlefish even has a shell—sure, he looks like a little squid, but he's got the difference, right, 'cause he's got that shell, though you can't see it. The mantle makes a little rock inside called a cuttle-bone. Doc Ropper, on TV (not to be confused with pansy-fearing Mr. Roper, always making his tinkerbell gesture at Jack while he's trying to goggle Chrissy's headlights in the tight T) says that the ole cuttle-bone is an early form of a backbone. Crazy shit.
My roommate Suveer takes biology and shit at U of M Dearborn. Smart motherfucker. Keeps me in Scooby Snacks, if you know what I'm saying. Good guy. Has this brother that's a cop, which I think is totally messed up 'cause he's Pakistani and cops hate Pakis right up there with potheads and black guys.
Paki Cop. It's almost like having a black Klansman. Affirmative Action, you know what I'm saying. Affirmative. What's wrong with this damn world?
But, like, Suveer's brother's daughter had a cockateel. Bird ate right through cuttlebones once every two weeks. Good for its beak or something. I had this job last winter where I was supposed to watch the damn bird while Suveer's niece and cop brother were in Florida. They called it Hawkeye. The bird, that is, not Florida. It—the bird—used to, like, every time I'd open the door to get it's water bowl, it'd fly out of its cage and peck the shit out of me, my ears. Shit. I got pissed so, when I left, I like accidently on purpose left the heat off for a day.
You know, just to like teach that damn bird a lesson.
Bird died. Man. Suveer's niece cried for a week and still won't even look at me. Dark world, you know what I am saying. She was a cool little chick. We watched the Scoob on Saturdays when Suveer would watch her so that his brother and his brother's wife could get away. Now she won't come over and I watch Scoob alone, which sucks. Who you gonna share all of the Zoinks and shit with. Got no one to watch Scoob with.
Suveer hates Scoob. Always telling me to turn it off so he can sleep.
Sleep on Saturday morning!?
Dark world, you know what I'm saying? God, I still feel like shit over that stupid fucking bird.
So, like, I was suddenly peaking on the double-dipped plasticman at the aquarium and there was this cuttlefish all hiding and shit, and I saw that its skin wasn't really just one way. It was sort of pulsing. You ever see those plasma TVs they have at Best Buy? Screen looks like it's a fire burning way far away, so that the light's like the surface of a lake at midnight. Cuttlefish looked like that. Well, not like that, but I thought it did, at the time.
But, so, that's sorta what cuttlefish skin looks like. Flickering and sparkly. And its eyes can see you even though you know they can't see you. And they look out at you with such, like, carelessness. Like, without any care at all. They can see you, but you aren't there. Fuck, does that make sense?!? They're eyes that have gone past seeing things and just sort of eat light up. Stare at you like an angry cockateel or a little girl who hates you. That's, like, how they stare at you.
After a point, you're all like, "Do I have a hole in my fucking chest or what?" You're like "What's with that fucking squidlette fucker?" Your like "He's even worse than the fucking monkeys?" And you start to wonder, all at once, why you came to the aquarium on acid, and if you even ever really had a choice.
I couldn't take it. I don't know why I do that double-dipped shit. It's strong. Too strong. I mean, that day, I didn't know it was doubles, or else I only would have taken one tab, but even then it would have been too much, at the aquarium. My dad, he's this contractor always building strip malls and stupid shit like that. Always thought I would take over the business. Used to take me out into his shop when I was a kid and show me the tools. This is an awl, this is a square, this is a level, this is a table saw, this is a hammer, this is a plane, and this is another fucking plane like I care at all, you bastard. This one time we were standing in his shop, and I'd spent the whole night before tweaked out on megadoses of prescription ephedrine and I was all crashed and burned out and—well, shit, it was just a shitty fucking scene. But it doesn't matter. Most shit doesn't matter in any fucking way at all.
I did odd jobs for him, my dad, at his sites, like sweeping up at half built Walgreens and stuff. Pushing around mops and picking up chunks of plaster and driving front end loaders with big piles of brick pieces. Made scratch, bought Scooby snacks, coughed a lot, kicked back when he wasn't looking.
Like, once, I was cleaning up a site he had out in Pittsfield. I was on something, some dirty fucking acid—mostly Strych, I'd bet—back before I started getting this goddamn, too-pure double-dipped plasticman shit, and I was driving the front end loader for, like, the fun of it, and all of the concrete pillars in the open space were vibrating like plasma screens and I was grooving to some Floyd on my headphones when, like, all of a sudden, the room got real dark like the inside of a pupil and I could see space.
Crazy shit. Exactly how it happened though. I saw Venus and shit. There are little dogs on Venus. Folks won't tell you that, but it's still true. Swear to God.
Crashed that fucked up ride into a pillar and brought down half the building. Don't know how I got out of there. By the time I got back to my folks place, Dad had just stacked up all of my shit on the lawn.
And man, it was raining. That's some cold ass action from an old man supposed to be blood.
Cuttlefish got eyes like my Dad had. So I'm in the aquarium and the damn cuttlefish is hiding in the dirt and staring up at me, through me, and his skin is flickering like candles and smoke and I don't want to see it. I start to smack the glass to get it to turn away. I want to get the temperature up somehow, or maybe pull it out of the water and throw it on the floor. Like that? No way.
It's the plasticman, I know, but right then I was sure it was going to follow me home. Then, after I shook the tank a little, the critter attacked me. It shot out of the dirt and turned, like, bright red. Red as a goddamn blood filled eye. And then, as quick as anything, it saw its reflection on the side of the tank and, like, I guess it thought that its twin was invading the territory—-that was what was going on. So it puffs up, turning black, then red, then blue, then black again. And these pods rise up on its back like black marbles, and they rise up out of the skin into spikes. And of course the reflection does everything the real cuttlefish does so they just keep on escalating the fight like two drunks who got their rage on and don't see no way out of the bar except through the window.
Freaked me out, the two cuttlefish, floating there in the water turning colors, spinning their tentacles around in these dance displays to freak the other out, but trapped because one is just a reflection of the other.
And the plasticman was totally on me, peaking mad, tripping balls, because after a point I couldn't tell which was the real fish and which was the reflection, and I couldn't get the colors straightened out in my head—like the cuttlefish seemed clear, and the water red, and the glass black with bumps and spikes—and then it was just a tank of black, staring, angry couldn't-give-a-fuck-less uncaring eyes. And then I was gone, too. Everything was gone, the world, the universe, Venus and her dogs, and it was just the eyes.
'Course, all of this is fuck all. My boss, the "Giant Squid" isn't a fucking "giant squid"—he's the Lord Architeuthis, and he's from Tremulon-4. And every squid—even the giant ones who aren't of this world—has three hearts. That's why they can love us so fucking much better than single-hearted earth creatures. Even dogs, dude.
But knowing all that, it's still . . . sometimes he stares at me like that goddamn cuttlefish. Like I killed his bird. Like I was such a fucking dissapointment he might cry. Like I was an animal or a toaster or some shit like that.
Dark world, man.
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