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Squid #455
(published October 8, 2009)
Ask the Giant Squid: The Detroit Transfer
Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?
Dear Giant Squid,

Should I transfer school?


Dearest Unsigned,

It is an excellent question. Many hours have I pondered similar questions. Should I transfer laboratory? Should I transfer office building? Should I transfer skyline?

But then I considered my newly perfected transference unit, a device whose mechanical unit was painstakingly cobbled together by my lead mechanic and garage manager, Devo, from discarded medical monitoring equipment, a very large hand-wound step-up transformer, and the Americanium-241 elements from 641 "discarded," "promoted," or "borrowed" smoke detectors, and whose arcane and eldritch core was fashioned by Ysslena Almiras of the Miasmic Mists, crafted partly from the embalmed skull-face and brain of an undead Albert Einstein, and partly from the twisted entrails of a gutted lemur.

"And, you know, elbow grease," Devo noted, grinning broadly. "Lotta elbow grease."

"FIRST COLD-HAND PRESS VIRGIN ELBOW GREASE?" I asked, causing Devo to tsk at me with his disappointments. "Why don't you ever just say when you don't know something?" He asked, going on to indicate that I had clearly confused "elbow grease" with "baby oil." It was, to say the least, a touch embarrassing.

It was in the earliest of the morn that we finally completed the assembly (achieved, I might add, only after we did find the small bent-iron locking hex key lost at the bottom of a plastic Ikea assembly kit package—those cunning Swedish curs!). I permitted Devo to "do of the honors" in activating the device, and we did bask in its sickly greenish glow.


Unfortunately, all who assisted were by this time, at 3-ish of the Ante meridian, quite asleep, apart from Devo, who yawned, then left.

I considered testing it upon the slumbering forms of my remaining lab workers, but was restrained in part by my natural sense of goodwill and fair play, but mostly because my lab assistant, Rob, had fallen asleep on the hastily composed manual, and I was not confident that I recalled the proper incantations necessary to convert direct current to Etheric Plasma.

Also, it was a 220-volt device running off our 110 office circuit by way of a nefarious and unholy splice of several cables from separately circuited receptacles, this effected by Ms. Almiras, who has, in these difficult times, taken up a side business as an electrician of absolute last resort for the criminal element. As a consequence, I was not convinced that the smoke erupting from the man-sized maw of the device was indeed entirely a result of the relativistic spiritual energy of Herr Doktor Einstein. There was a reasonable chance that one of Rob's poorly executed solder joints had begun to overheat and melt the vintage breadboard he had been working with. Also, the device contained more than a little lithium, which may or may not have been liberating hydrogen from the moist air. In sum, the device possessed some sub-optimalities which I presume will need to be sorted out prior to "taking her to market." Let us call it "in beta."

Nonetheless, by the following afternoon, with Devo to assist me, we began the testing of the Transferences.

Please consider these notes on several experiments we have attempted, and then, ONLY THEN, should you proceed to ascertain whether YOUR SCHOOL is suitable for The Transfer.

Experiment the First: Under false pretense, I acquired a group of six kittens. One was removed from the cardboard kitten enclosure—cryptically labeled "Charmin Toilet Tissue"—and placed in an empty, glass-walled 30-gallon aquarium tank on the other side of the lab, physically isolated from the Transference Unit, but afforded a quite stunning view of the Detroit River in all its autumnal glory. This kitten was to be labeled control, but Rob could not write upon it legibly, for it was squirmsome, so he instead labeled the tank "KONTROL" (sigh). The cardboard kitten container, and its five-kitten cargo, was then slid into the open portal of the Transference Unit with the aid of a wooden mop handle. The device's base temporal-GPS unit was calibrated against three non-integrated cell phones and one analog clock while the intended temporal-GPS control was set to 10 minutes hence (or, perhaps, ten minutes prior; Rob's notes are ill-legible). The two temporal-GPS units were then coupled, and the cardboard kitten carton burst into flames. When it was extinguished and batted from within the Transference Unit, it was discovered that the kittens had been mostly converted to ash, apart from their feet. It was likewise noted that the control kitten had similarly auto-immolated, leaving naught but sooty smears on the glass tank, and its feet. The spooky action, she works even at a distance, no?

Experiment the Second: As none in my lab could be persuaded to fetch another box of kittens, a mid-level financier from the General Motors offices several floors below us was asked to join us for a "power lunch" of the negotiations. He was then pushed through the Transference Unit's portal with the aid of the wooden mop handle. "Hey!" he did exclaim, "What the hell! I thought you were gonna smoke me down, dude! And why the hell does it smell like burnt cats in her—" and then Devo activated the Unit. You may note that this same financier is now featured on the back of the American two-dollar bill, and always has been.

Experiment Three: The final experiment (that is, the final one upon which I wish to opine) involved a picture of Manuel Noriega which itself, had been photo-copied from a water damaged Madness Magazine from Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Seven. This was gingerly inserted into the device. At first, once engaged, the device did nothing, and so Rob flipped upon the sloppily wired toggle switch a number of times. After reviewing the closed-circuit security tape I collect of all laboratory events, I determined this number of idle flips to be exactly sixteen. We have heard of startling encounters with the twisted remains of several faceless, limbless and/or torsoless central American despots in 14 different locales world-wide. We wait patiently, and we wonder, for the sequence to complete. At this late date, I have concluded that there is, out there, one man in an elegant hat with a horrible scar for a face who is biding his time and collecting his strength. Some day he and I shall meet. And I shall push him back into The Transference Unit and be VICTORIOUS!

Conclusions: More work is needed to fine-tune and "monetize" this mechanism. Leeks, our accountant and fiduciary magistrate, was busy all this morning concocting a pitch to venture capitalists, and was thusly crushed (in a figurative manner) when I informed him that the device was perhaps a bit too adventurous for the capitalists. It is intriguing to be sure that the results were so varied given the input. I suggested arranging the machine in a room and wiring the light switch into the machine. Upon the door leading into this be-trapped room would be a sign reading "Final Exit." There was truth in the sign, I argued, and so we would be impervious to the thrusting of lawyers and their ilk.

My suggestion was met with the shaking of heads and the tsk-ing. Perhaps it is time to transfer my workplace?

Until Then,
I Remain,
Your Giant Squid

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