I now reflect on the concentric levels within any culture, the degree to which all surfaces are false surfaces, as the true nature of a culture dives deep, to protect itself from outsiders and mask its true nature. Lewis Hyde was flawless in his observation that, whenever a culture is apparently presented, without strings affixed, for the perusal of an outsider, that presentation is always an act meant to mask, and thus strengthens the insider's bond to the inside, and the outsider's exclusion.
(I take a moment now to marvel, for although any individual human is so vastly inferior to my likes, it appears that humans functioning in parallel, as a culture, closely mimic the noble habits of We Dwellers Deep. This charms me.)
I was truly an outsider before, but am now glimpsing the tender inner-flesh of the great beast kultura Americanum!
Tom has explained to me the time-honored American custom of aiding one's "pal" to "obtain the lay."
Tom is my pal. It seems he desires to obtain the lay of Lisa, the barrister who accompanies us as legal counsel during my pursuit of the wily citizenship Americanum.
Pardon my playfulness, Simian Readers, but I am giddy with travel and manly bon homme. To be American! A dream! A dream!
Tom has explained that, in order to obtain the lay most furiously and with the greatest efficacy, I must play-act at being the human celluloid-thespian Marlin Brando. Although the marlin is widely renowned as one of the ocean's great comedians, it seems that this Brando is a persona dramatique. In order to prevent Lisa, Esq., from detecting Tom's ruse to garner her lay, we have been forced to discuss this subterfuge in only the briefest, nigh-unto-sub-audible bursts. As such, I know only that this Marlin is fat and mumbly (like all marlins.) His many films include The Grandfather, A Trolley Car Named Desiree and Final Tangle in Paris— in which the Brando Grando captures many lays, or so I am told.
I tingle, Readers, tingle with the warmth of finally squirming deep into the bosom, the ante-chamber of the sancta sanctorum, of America the Bootyful!
Your Soon-to-Be Fellow American,
(Resident Alien Cephalopod)
Thomas has sent no video footage since the Fiasco of Memphis. Although his microphone is no more reliably functional than before, Thomas seems to have chosen to utilize it less. I offer the following transcription of the one file I received, 3 minutes and 32 seconds in length.
SQUID: — the cinema?
LISA: Yes, I enjoy it a great deal, Mr. Brando.
SQUID: Lisa, please feel at liberty to refer to me simply as Marlin, for I am Marlin Brando. That is who I am.
LISA: Yes. Thank you Mr.— pardon, Marlon.
<13 second pause—her voice is quietly airy>
LISA: Mr.— Marlon? I've been wondering why you don't ever leave the back of the car?
THOMAS: Marlon's . . . he—
SQUID: Mr. Brando, Tom.
THOMAS: Mrrmm, yeah. Sorry. Mr. Brando has gained quite a bit of weight—
SQUID: I am indeed quite large, Lisa.
THOMAS: —and doesn't want the paparazzi to get photos and, you know, smear 'em all over, like, The Enquirer and Variety and The Wall Street Journal.
SQUID: Yes, the damnable pepperoni—
SQUID: —harrow me unceasingly. Without cessation. It is truly a trial, being so very large, Lisa.
<24 second pause—there are highway sounds here, the repetitive whisking of those evenly spaced posts and the occasional rumble of tires over concrete seems. Thomas, I believe, has turned toward the window briefly.>
SQUID: Tom, I note that you have yet to regale Lisa with the many tales of our manly adventures.
LISA: "Manly adventures"?
THOMAS: Oh god.
SQUID: Indeed! Why, Tom is quite bold, Lisa. A very desirable mate. I recall, during the shooting of The Grandfather, when Tom and I—
LISA: Wait a second, Mr.— pardon, Marlon. But The Godfather was released in 1972. Tom couldn't have been more than, what, 3 or 4?
SQUID: Precisely. Tom and I have known each other for a great deal of time. He is my . . . brother. In law. My brother-in-law.
LISA: You were married to Tom's sister?
SQUID: No, Tom was married to my sister . . . Madrigard. Madrigard Brando.
LISA: At 4 years old?
LISA: But, 4? 4 yeas old?
SQUID: Yes. For the very love of Ptah, should he have been an Old Maid? If one has not garnered a mate by the age of 4, then what's the point at all? It is a deep and boundless sea out there, humans! Should we not grab and hold dearly all those with whom we may share genetic material and the froth of our ardor? Is everyone in this car mad, or simply callous beyond all conception?
LISA: I'm sorry. It's just . . . I . . . 4?
THOMAS: Mr. Brando, have you forgotten to take your pills again?
SQUID: I grow angered, Monkey Tom. Please cease the quiverings of your word hole.
<45 second pause—there is some shifting in the seats. Someone unfolds and re-folds a newspaper. The rotor blades of a helicopter can be heard in the distance. A window draws down and the sound of the wind fills the air, briefly. The window goes back up.>
LISA: Four?(she laughs, weakly)You must be—
THOMAS: Ok, THAT'S IT! Everyone can just SHUT—
And here our audio record ends.
Tom's Note (scrawled upon a postcard which originally featured a string-bikinied bathing beauty with the caption "Wish You Were Her!" Someone (Thomas?) has defaced the card, affixing an etching of Abraham Lincoln's visage over that of the trollop. The caption is unchanged):
Oh My Sang of Sangs,
Am considering killing Squid. Lisa loves calimari. Perhaps if I slowly swapped his water for veggie oil, and then set the Escalade a-blazin'? But how to handle the problem of batter?
Hugs and Kisses You Slanty Bitch,
It is clear that certain conclusion may be drawn at this time. I leave this as an exercise for the reader.
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Copyright (c) 2000, 2004, David Erik Nelson, Fritz Swanson, Morgan Johnson