Witchcraft or voodoo?
-The Sacred order of the tantalized squid
A despot rarely genuflects to a lesser god, but lets him about-face and to the allotted time, swallow his own demon.
"IS THIS MISSIVE AN INTERROGATIVE? OR A QUOTATION OF SIGNIFICANCE?"
"Damn," Robert sat slouched upon a four-wheeled non-ergonomic officing chair he pulled from the trash receptacle in the alley behind our office. He shook his head. "This shit is weird."
"PERHAPS IT IS AN ADMONITION?"
"Like a warning?"
"AFFIRMATIVE. CONSIDER, FOR EXAMPLE, THE USE OF THE HYPHEN IN THE SECOND LINE‐"
"First of all, that shit ain't a hyphen. I mean, yeah, like, it's supposed to be a hyphen, but, like its being used like a watchamacallit? An em-dash."
"DO NOT CUT ME OFF, ROBERT. I‐"
"Em-dash. Important shit in the length of a dash, you dig?"
"I WILL DESTROY YOU!"
"Like, you got yer hyphen (-), you got your em-dash (‐), and then, like, you got this fucking thing they call an en-fucking-dash (–). Details, right? Who fucking cares, right?"
"ROBERT, CONSIDER BRIEFLY YOUR STATUS AS A MORTAL CHIMP-MAN WHO—"
"Like, for years, I said fuck it, right. Hyphens all the way down, yeah? Like turtles, you know what I am fucking saying. All the way down. Hyphen this, hyphen that, hyphen between fucking dates, all the way down."
Disgusted, I endeavored to put into effect a plan I had been laying for several weeks in wait of Robert's insufferable interruptions. I took control of a small, sacred robot constructed entirely of gold. The robot was set up in a small secret room two floors below. Into a burning circle, I did command that the robot should cast the following brass disk:
And to follow that casting with a brief incantation (Please, I invite you to peruse the incantation for yourself! It is most efficacious!).
"So, like, let's set this shit straight, you dig?"
I made what had become, for Robert and I, the equivalent of a human nod, but which was actually a multi-chromatic fluttering of mantle and a clicking of my beak.
"INDEED, TRUTHFULLY..." I intoned like an intolerable sycophant.
"So, first there is the damn hyphen. Shit you gotta know is that it binds fucking language together and shit."
"En-dash, right, like binds, but also holds shit a little separate. Special case, right? It's a fucking weird aunt at a bat-mitzvah, getting out there, encouraging kids to dance and shit, but not, like dance, you dig? Like, 'hey kids, get close, but like, not too close', right? What the fucking you use an en-dash for? Dates in sequence, my man. It's used in place of the fucking 'to' in 'from this fucking date to that fucking date', okay? Why? Let me get to that shit in a second?"
"PRECISELY MY FEELINGS..." Nodding continued apace. Beneath us, I could feel the energy collecting. The key to robotic incantations, should you explore it yourself, is two-fold: first, one must consider that gold is virtually exclusively your metal of choice for the robot. It is highly conductive for the circuitry, and imperishable as unto the eye of the divine spirit who has created all of us. Gold, she is a tricky metal to engage for the manufacture of an electric and clockwork automaton, surely, especially where circuits are to be considered‐remember that the device must be pure gold, except for brief intrusions of sanctified materials, and so the breadboard for the circuit must be gold wire laced through very finely crafted stiff virgin vellum from the scalp of an infant human, and that the insulation must be of virgin, hand-crafted cotton rag paper made by a cold process under the silver light of a full moon in autumn‐but also where the structural integrity of the members is considered, and in this case careful engineering must be consulted in order to maintain strength and durability; second, one must remember that a perishable soul is still manifestly needed for the experiment, which is why I embed a nitrogen-suspended human fetus acquired from the University of Michigan Life Sciences facility into the chest cavity of the robot‐the result of our own state's deliciously anti-life social agenda.
"So, like, the em-dash, right? Motherfucking bad-ass pimp of dashes, yeah? The big cock, period. Used for, like, parentheticals where an actual fucking parenthesis would be inconvenient (like at the end of a sentence) or, like, when a parenthesis used in the same place would imply a more seriously unrelated aside than is, like, fucking intended, you dig? I mean, like, sometimes you have an aside that is totally unrelated‐like it's you addressing the 'audience' like you was on fucking stage, right‐but other times you are making an aside that is more, like, an interruption of yourself, and shit." Robert shook his head ass he reflected upon what he had just said. "Interrupting yourself... grammar is fucking whack as hell..."
"THE FINEST OF ALL PRONOUNCEMENTS AS I HAVE YET‐"
"Shit!" Robert exclaimed, interrupting me yet again. "And that reminds me. You use it to fucking note an interruption in dia‐"
And at that moment, from out of the floor there erupted the gigantic form of a man holding a great serpent entwined about his arm. His vestments were of fire and divine light, and upon his countenance he wore a shining veil which was most terrible to behold.
I contorted my body into an indescribable and ancient sigil of authority, which cast about the demon a cloud of authority that he did greatly respect.
"Command me, Andromalius, great and might earl of the nether lands, the seventy-second spirit of the Order of Solomon's Vessel of Brass, called forth by your acolyte, the golden child whose clockwork arms did draw me forth from chaos and the abyss."
He most admirably bowed before me, and the raiment which was his physical form did flutter in the florescent light, revealing his awful black nature within.
"What, great master, has been stolen of thee, and by what thief?"
"THIS GRUNT CHIMP, THE SIMPLET‐"
"Motherfucker, Lord A! What the fuck you‐"
"INTERRUPT ME NO MORE, ROBERT! I SHALL RIGHT A DECADE OF‐"
"Man, what the fuck you on about? We just talki‐"
"ENOUGH OF YOUR MEANDERING, INDECIPHERABLE BABB‐"
"Me! That is fucking rich you glossalalic slime-mons‐"
"GLOSSALALIC! SLIME-MONSTER! THE AFFRONT THAT IS YOUR PERSON IS NO LONG‐"
"Ah, Great and Terrible Master..." Andromalius held aloft a single representation of a human finger, it appeared to be his own, as though he wished to politely interject a thought. My mantle and hunting arms had swirled up into a pink rage, but I did slowly relax.
"Might I offer a polite observation drawn from my own history of unsnarling similar affronts against civility presented to me by masters from eons long sinc‐"
"You see!" Robert exclaimed. "Demon motherfucker gonna school you on being fucking patient, Lord‐"
And before Robert could finish his thought, Andromalius, with a recognizable squawk of rage from himself being interrupted, did dive down the throat of Robert, whose own gaping simpering maw was stretched to horrific proportions by the onrushing manifestation of the demon man.
Horror was palpable in the eyes of my assistant as he sank to his knees, his own hands about his throat, choking, crushing, abusing...
With great satisfaction, I retreated to the darks of the distant corner of my tank and considered as Robert Elijah Miller did battle with the 72nd Earl of Deepest Hell. Terror was all about him, as was urine and feces in his pants. The cords of his neck were taut, and his forehead had turned purple. His eyes were pale, flooded with unspeakable longings and knowledge. The true and most satisfying aspect of the terror was driven by the fact that he did know a key fact that I was privy to:
I had programmed the conjuration to last for a precise duration: 6pm–6:12pm.
Painful though it may be, this was an experience Robert would survive.
As he pounded the floor and clawed at his eyes, I chuckled about how soon we would be laughing together again. Though he did not know it, he would be much the humbler for this experience.
And so, Sacred Order of the Tantalized Squid, may I offer a third option? Quabalistic Magicks Most Ancient and Divine.
The Giant Squid
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Copyright (c) 2000, 2004, David Erik Nelson, Fritz Swanson, Morgan Johnson