As I have seen from your column you have much wisdom which can only come with age and experience. And it being that you are reproductively-focused, like all other creatures of the earth, it leads me to wonder if there may be a future Mrs Lord A whom we may have the pleasure of meeting . . . and perhaps some little A's somewhere in the future who can carry out your legend of correcting our inferior human assumptions . . . ?
State of Kansas
Dearest and Most Thoughtful Emma,
I have, of late, been greatly personally frustrated in my efforts to "find my match"—which, in my experience, is a remarkably common human condition. Thus, oddly, while I despise you all the more for it now, I do also feel a greater kinship. This, upon reflection, feels like the natural course of things, does it not? Our shared miseries bring us all the ever closer together, like the infamous Breakfasting Club of Shermer, Illinois.
Long ago, when I slipped from the sea's nurturing embrace, I divested myself of the illusion that I might someday meet and mate with a female, stabbing her flesh with my hypodermic-like penis, firing missiles of spermatozoa into her dermis, while narrowly escape the tearing of her beak and crushing of her muscular arms, and thus live on, at least temporarily, crippled but sentient enough to watch the peristaltic pulsing of her ovipositor as she loosed our fertilized eggs to the currents, and perhaps even chance to glimpse the quickening of my own brood before the dark pall of unconsciousness blotted out my awareness, and my temporary wife consumed me in wriggling strips.
These are, of course, the bucolic and romantic fantasies of any schoolsquid in short pants and Sunday cap. But then we grow older, take up careers far from home, and become resigned to an interminable dotage among chattering, staggeringly ignorant humpbeasts, ultimately to be rended and battered not by the passions of an indifferent, cannibalistic mate—as is right and good and the natural order of things—but by simple soul-strangling solitude.
In the general, having had many years to acclimate, I am troubled not by the simple fact of my boundless future of alienation—that is, until the fevered month of February arrives, and in begin to pour the many elicitations for advice romantic, sexual, anatomic, and romantisexotomical. Then the aroused sorrow rears up in me, like some terrible, voluptuous, devouring, female, and I am once again gripped, as though I were just a stripling lad, with the frustrations of my predicament, and torn by the razorish beak of my own lackloving bachelorhood.
So, like many of you, I stooped as low as conceivably possible, and placed the personal advertisements.
But these advertisements of camaraderie-seeking—although sown far and wide in among the fecund soil of publications daily, weekly, monthly, perpetual, alternative and normative, both papered and electronical—despite being nurtured in environments both paid and free-4-all, bore little fruit.
So it was that late one Sunday afternoon two weeks past I was wallowing in my own lugubrious self-sympathy with only my dear Boon Companion Rob at my side, frowning over a book of children's sudoku, when the ping of our elevator's bell echoed down form the reception foyer.
"Hello," a voice echoed after the ping, like a somewhat incredulous hound chasing a mechanical rabbit. "I'm here about the ad in the Penny Saver circular thing at Pet Smart Plus." A young woman, her hair a froth of golden brown curls erupting from beneath a little lumpy cable-knit homespun hat pushed through the doubled doors.
"Is this a weird TV pran—Hey!" this female shouted gleefully, clapping her mittened hands with a dull fump that all but destroyed the thin, floppish newsprint she carried, "is that a giant squid?"
Rob snorked and launched a fusillade of just-sipped coffee from his nose, and then sprang from his rolling seat, sending the same gently squeaking to the far window wall. Meanwhile, the nubile young woman had flattened out her crumpled foolscap, and read aloud: "Affable giant squid seeks suitable cephalopod with whom to converse about matters of the day and rutt; my ideal romantic evening is a quiet dinner for two, still struggling to release its bounds, beneath the dancing flames of an ignited oil spill. Moon and stars present, although likely not visible because of predominant atmospheric conditions and parallax. No cannibals. No cuttlefish."
She clapped again, "And you actually have a giant squid! I can't believe I'm gonna win this bet! Margo's gonna freak! A giant squid!"
"Yeah!" Rob agreed his eyes bright, "Basically exactly that." He nodded with vigor. "More or less."
"Oh My God, can I get your picture," she dug from the pocket of her pale, puffy quilted coat a cellular telephone. "For Margo? She's gonna freak!"
"Yeah. Totally, totally yeah. For Margo!" Rob took a stance before my tank, his arms crossed, and I hovered just over his shoulder, and we two stared into the tiny lens of her cellular telephone. The young woman's camera clicked in imitation of a mechanical iris shutter, and she scrutinized it's tiny screen.
"This is great! I'm going to text it to her!" Her de-mittened fingers flew across the tiny keypad, and then she slid and folded the phone like a butterfly's knife, and returned it to her pocket. The girl pivoted on her fuzzy-booted heel to take in her surroundings. "This is neat! Is this some sort of aquarium lab? What do you guys do here?"
"We write an advice column," Rob said, blinking rapidly, "and also manipulate, like, the currency exchange; I'm a lil foggy on that, though. And sometimes we, like, watch movies?" Rob sipped at his treacherous coffee. "Oh, and weather control."
Adorably, she brought together her eyebrows and wrinkled her nose, not unlike an adorably confused bunny held in the embrace of a workbench-mounted vise.
"You're gonna have to work on that," she smiled. "It's been crumby and dog-ass gray for weeks."
"WE LOOK FORWARD TO EXECUTING A MINOR PROOF-OF-CONCEPT IN EARLY FEBRUARY," I noted by way of breaking our ice.
The attractive girl turned to me, her formerly adorably squinched features blossoming into adorable surprise.
"Oh my God!" she turned back to Rob. "Are you a ventriloquist or something?"
"Dude!" Rob shouted. "I thought that too!"
"You thought you were a ventriloquist?" she asked.
"No. Yeah. Yes, yeah!" He shouted. "Totally! Because I am! I'm the van-tricklest, baby!"
"NO, HE IS NOT!"
"See!" Rob insisted
"YOU HAVE COME ABOUT MY AD?"
The young lady squirmed with glee, clapping her hands beneath her chin.
"Learned from the best!" Rob shouted.
"Edgar Bergen?" she asked playfully. "Why are you shouting?"
"I'm not shouting," Rob shouted, then laughed and waggled his eyebrows like an aroused baboon, "And that Edgar Bergen dude was a punk!" he boldly declaimed, "For reals! Charlie McCarthy? The lil dude? Wasn't even a dummy, just a freaky autistic midget he made wear a wood mask. Like Saw all over again, you know?" The girl laughed with a free ease that, just minutes earlier, I would have insisted was entirely incompatible with being both female and in Rob's immediate presence. "Honest. Lil dude's, like, Jenny McCarthy's grandad. That's a fact."
"And you put these ads," she waved the newsprint, amused, "In all these papers and websites and stuff, like a viral advertising thing for this act?"
"Yes! Totally—but, like totally an underground thing, like those bars that don't have signs or doors or bars or anything. On the down-low."
"A giant squid ventriloquist act on the QT?"
"And advice column," Rob added swiftly, then grimaced.
"AND WEATHER AND STOCK MANIPULATIONS—AS WILL BE REFLECTED UPON OUR NEXT BATCH OF BUSINESS CARDS"
The girl laughed and hopped, "That's so killer! How do you get your voice so resonant?"
"The—um—same way I got to Carnegie Hall, baby: Bought tickets off a scalper."
The girl snorted, and Rob finally extended his hand. "Rob!" he squeaked. "Rob Miller! Totally charming, like, facilities-managing down-low crypto-zoo-quatic ventriloquist. For reals."
She gripped Rob's paw in a business-like fashion, nodded her head, and sternly replied, "Chelsea: Wayne State student, dog groomer, itinerant underground soup-and-tamale caterer."
"Yes," Rob said, gripping and pumping her hand long beyond the normal duration, "Totally. We'll have to get our acts together some time; kind of a dinner theater thing." Rob glanced over his shoulder, meeting my gaze, and although I am certain he could tell I was about to speak, he nonetheless continued.
"Listen, Chelsea, I've totally got a notion for, like, a Starbucks from the place down stairs and out the door and around the block a bit; you down? I'll treat."
The girl smiled a smile so honest and glad it was, in the least, three times as terrifying and wonderful as the slicing beak racing towards one's mating tentacle. She assented, and then arm and arm, Rob Miller escorted my date from the building.
Long into the afternoon I stared out of my tank and through the windows to the flat, dead gray sky skulking above Detroit, and her river, and Windsor beyond, and it seemed clear to me that it would indeed perhaps be somewhat satisfying to bury you all in a great and uninterrupted blanket of thundersnow. And so, yesterday, I did. To Hell with you all.
I Remain Alone,
Your Giant Squid
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Copyright (c) 2000, 2004, David Erik Nelson, Fritz Swanson, Morgan Johnson