How big are giant squids?
What do giant squids eat?
How much do giant squids weigh?
How old are you?
How long do giant squids live?
What color are giant squids?
How do you like Detroit?
Can I use the bathroom?
Why can't I go home?
And so on.
Allow me to explain.
My teenagéd typist, gopher, errand-boy, and internet forums expert, Jarwaun, has a younger sibling who goes by the name Trael. I met both of them some years past, when I was temporarily ousted from my perch above Detroit's Center of Renaissance. At the time I had taken residence in a shabby lot of Domesticus Mobilius near Eight Mile Road in the bucolic hamlet of Warren, Michigan.
I did however meet Jarwaun and Trael and their extended families. As well as . . . well, I shall not mention her name here. Suffice to say, when I regained my throne of power in this glass and concrete cistern towering above The D, I employed Jarwaun. I found—and continue to find—him an accurate and swift typographer possessed of a refreshing presence with a youthful and unexpected outlook. His brother, doubly so. But Trael is young—he is but nine years old—and my chances to "hang" with him are rare and limited. Also, his typing is very slow, owing to his diminutive paws.
This is a prelude. I am preluding.
Trael approached me via the Skypes—his teacher has a laptop, Trael does not—and asked if his classroom of Third Gradients could visit our lab as a "field trip." I explained that we had no fields here, but the upper East Side was reputedly entirely fields now, stocked with delicious pheasants and methamphetamine, as well as pheasants fortified with methamphetamine—the less said of, the better.
Trael interrupted and explained the concept of a "field trip" to me. He said—I paraphrase—"A field trip is where you don't go to class and 'stead you go to McDonald's for lunch and maybe drive a bus to a museum or to a planetarium." I explained that he should not be driving buses in his condition [Note: Short, unskilled, poor co-ordination compared to midgets, dogs, and chimpanzees of similar weight] and he explained that a man had been hired for this job. He was uncertain as to whether this man was or was not fully certified and bonded by the state.
The teacher, a Mrs. Rathstein-Gutierrez of the South Field, elaborated. The children, she articulated vis-a-vis the video chat, would like to come see the squid Trael often speaks of with delight and horror, and the school has no money to pay toward defraying the cost of museum admission or planetaria rental. I agreed with a quickness, despite Rob's energetic arm-waving and head-shaking to the contrary. Yes, I proclaimed, bring the children to me. I shall educate them finely.
And so the deal was struck and the children arrived on a bus that was indeed driven by a man and not, as I suspected, by Trael in a flimsy disguise with bricks tied to his feet by twine. The driver was amiable and did not mind my strip search, DNA test, or checking of his dental records. What a fine chap!
The children and their sour-faced teacher [Note: Ambient gastro-molecular sensors confirm her face would taste sour, likely due to lime-based moisturizers and lamb-heavy diet] arrived an hour before a storm blanketed our fair and impoverished city with a solid foot of snow.
Despite what Channel 7 Action News may have later claimed, I did not take the children hostage. Nor did I cage them like lab animals. These are plain mistruths intended to "sell papers."
The students arrived and filed in dutifully, noses a-running, bedecked in puffered coats and rubberized galoshes, and sullen from the drive. I had neglected to purchase refreshments ahead of time, and Rob scurried about looking for cast-off candies and juice boxes to feed the children. I admit with shame that the last few in line may have had to partake in a single shake of the Tic-Tacs and decaffeinated coffees.
Then it was question time. This went on for hours. Often I repeated myself. Child after child would ask the same question with slightly different wording. "How big are you?" One would ask. Then, "How much do you weigh?" And then again, "How big are you?" It was as if they could not process the most basic of responses. I grew testy, and may have spoken intemperately which, for unfathomable reasons, caused Mrs. Rathstein-Gutierrez to glare upon Rob betwixt attending to text messages, and mutter that she did not understand the educational value of his third-rate ventriloquist act, and thought such "edutainment" was mildly insulting both to her intelligence and that of the children.
It was at this time that my head mechanic, Devo, burst in upon the scene.
"Boss," he exclaimed, rubbing his shorn head. "I got some bad news." He stared round at the children and shook his head. "Whatever. So, yeah, y'know how the snowplows keep covering our back door with all the plowed-up street snow?"
I nodded. The children were silent-ish.
"Well, this time the door was open and they basically stuffed the entire freight elevator chute full of ice. We can't get out. We'll need to call someone."
Mrs. Rathstein-Gutierrez jumped to her feet and ceased her browsing of the Facebook on her mobile device. "How can we be stuck? Aren't there stairs or other elevators?"
"Nah," Rob chimed in while sucking upon his juice box, "s'like, they fuckin'—sorry, ahh, kids—they lock down all the doors and entrances ever since GM skedaddled out. 'Cause people kept breaking in and taking stuff for scrap."
"THE DOOR HARVESTERS." I intoned.
"AND THE SCRAP METALISTS."
"AND THE WIRE THIEVES."
"AND THE PIPE STEALERS."
Rob stared at me, stone-faced.
"AND THE MEN WHO TAKE REFRIGERATORS."
"I'm pretty sure 'taking stuff for scrap' covered all that, Lord A."
And so it was that Mrs. Rathstein-Gutierrez began screaming obscenities at Rob and the children began to wail and gnash their teeth. It is possible that, in my momentary agitation, I inadvertently activated the trap door mechanism that dropped the lot into cages within the sub-floor—that is what Action News 7 is claiming—when I had in fact only intended to becalm Mrs. Rathstein-Gutierrez via automated taser. In any event, I have no recollection of the matter, and my legal counsel, Dr. Love, advises that there is little sense in you, or I, or the Channel 7 Action News Investigative Team to argue about what he said, or she screamed, or they endured, as this matter is entirely within the capabilities of the courts to determine at a later date.
What I do know—and what my signed affidavit affirms—is this:
The children were fed and watered and kept warm until a rescue could be affixed. The children enjoyed watching Robocop and Beverly Hill Cop and playing hide-and-the-seek amongst the lab equipment. Mrs. Rathstein-Gutierrez calmed down greatly once Molly introduced her to her private "Bourbon Fridge." [Note: Not a euphemism for lesbian relations, despite Rob's insistence otherwise.] Reports that two children remain missing after stumbling upon artifacts in the Black Vault are specious and should not be trusted. Perhaps it is the case that two fewer children never existed to begin with? We are all well aware of the sorts of accounting shenanigans for which the Detroit Public School are renowned and infamous. The school saved an abundance of money on choosing my lab as a site for their "field trip," though claim that insurance premiums will prevent a return trip next year.
Teaching our children is a sacred and deeply annoying duty. It is the most important duty of a nation, apart from defense and conquest; the launching of exorbitantly priced sensory arrays into low-earth orbit; the strafing of shoeless, wood-gathering children in foreign lands; and the constant monitoring of and reporting upon the Delphic proclamations of Charles Carlos Irwin Estevez Sheen. It was an honor to answer these questions for the Third Grade class of Isiah Thomas Edison Elementary. I look forward to more opportunities in the future to educate our youth.
The Giant Squid
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