Subject: buy squid entrails
Date: April 21, 2011 9:14:20 AM EST
We want to buy squid entrails. Please quote your best price China port.
We do hope to establish a long-term business relationship with you on basis of mutual benefit.
Look forward to your soonest reply.
Thanks & Best Regards,
World Spring Develoment Co
Shenzhen, Guangdong, China.
Dearest Ralf Nissan,
I am going to be as quite honest as I can: This past week, she has been stressful; the arrival of your very distressing missive electronique did not help. Yes, I attempted to simply put it aside as some spamacious jape, but my voluminous mind and optically perfect eye kept returning, ere I struggled to stay focused. Your offer, after all, seems more than a little threatening; while I am indeed a manful and brazen Architeuthis dux, and thus uniquely suited to supply large supplies of squid entrails at good marginal returns, the framing of your request—that I should quote my "best price" immediately and without wooing, that you intend our business to offer mutual benefit—would strike any fair and rapacious free-marketeer as more than a touch aggressive.
And then, in a terrible rush, it dawned upon me: Perhaps I was not the intended recipient of this message. After all, I am likely only a nominally profitable supplier of squid entrails—especially considering that I dwell land-locked atop a skyscraper in a Motor City far from the salty seas—but I am, without a doubt, a very high margin source, perhaps even the exclusive source, of quality Midwestern squid entrails. Were my blood not already cold, it would have run cold in that instant.
"ROB," I patiently intoned as Rob, my erstwhile lab assistant, idylly spun in his erstwhile rolling chair, idylly starring at that ceiling, whilst idylly cradling a Mountain's Dew soda in one hand and scratching his neck with the other, "I HAVE A SIMPLE QUESTION."
"Shoot," he replied, neither looking away from his ceiling, nor pausing in his twirls.
"Why you keep itching?" My typist, Jarwaun, interrupted. "You scratchin' like you need a flea collar."
"THAT WAS NOT MY QUESTION."
Rob set his feet down, ceasing his rotations. "Good. I'm not itching." He scratched his neck vigorously, then stopped. Lab director Molly, carrying the first volume of the concise hard copy of my latest tax return, fresh from our laser printer, paused as she crossed near Rob.
"He's right; you've been itching. And you've got a rash." She smiled, "It does look like flea bites."
Rob scowled and pulled at the collar of his shirt, covering the red and raw portion of his lower neck, then itching vigorously behind his ear.
"It isn't fleas. I don't have fleas."
Molly snorted a laugh at his petulant discomfort.
"It's just bed bugs."
My lab director gasped, dropping the ream of unnumbered pages, which fell with an audible whoosh, evenly distributing themselves in a fan-like single layer across the linoleum tiles. She stumbled away two steps, and Jarwaun's typing chair squealed in protest as he shot out his legs, propelling himself a full eight feet from Rob. Molly likewise stumbled away in the opposite direction, like a politically inept clown tear-gassed at an otherwise peaceful Klan rally. Her face reddened, then deepened in hue towards an anoxic mauve.
"Jeez!" Rob shouted. "Spaz out much, fuckers!" He looked up, defiant, absently reaching back to scratch at his neck and then, clearly and with forceful will, stopped himself. "Christ, Mols, are you holding your fucking breath?" She shook her head in the negative, then choked out the held air and carefully, slowly breathed in threw her shielding hand. "Oh for fuck's sake; it's not fucking swine flue. And, shit, it isn't like fleas and lice, either; it isn't like I brought the fuckers with me."
"How you know that?" Jarwaun shouted through his hands, clapped over his nose and mouth.
"Because I fucking do!" His voice climbed as he spoke, afore he forced it back down. "Because I do. Because it isn't like some fucking mystery; you look it up on goddamn Wikipedia and it's all laid out. They aren't some magic plague you get by, like, talking to a dude on the phone. They're bugs—and not 'bugs' like how people call anything that's an insect a 'bug,' like calling a lady bug a 'bug' even though it's a fucking beetle—they're true bugs, with stabbing mouthparts, 'cause that's how bugs roll." Molly and Jarwaun watched Rob warily, their hands still covering their moist orifices. Rob stood, and scooted a little farther, widening their radius to him. Rob shook his head in disgust. "I understand that Jarwaun has to be a pussy fart about this, because he has a shitty-ass D-town education and is, like, twelve—"
"Fifteen" the boy mumbled through his hands.
"—I could give a fuck—but you, Mols, have three fucking PhDs in science and shit; maybe none of them is bug science, but you are a rational fucker. You can Wikipedia this shit yourself: These bugs are bugs. They are, like, almost a quarter-inch long—they're like baby-stinkbug size. This ain't lice or fleas or ticks, with crazy jumping powers and super-strong shells and shit. They are plain-jane bugs that walk slow, and are lazy to boot. They don't like light or being out at day, and basically just lie low until night and then come and slurp up on you, and the fucking bites itch like fuck."
Rob took a moment to indulge in a long, luxurious scratching of the spine, his nails raking up and down the patch of skin below the base of his skull, betwixt his shoulders. My skin crawled to watch him do it.
"The fuckers—this is crazy, right, because every bed bug scare is so fucking scary and off the hook, like every news story makes them sound like fucking Nagasaki Death Worms or something—but the fuckers are, like, the 100-percent most benign possible thing. For reals. They don't make you sick. They don't lay eggs in or on you. They don't carry disease. They don't travel with rats or mice or shit, and aren't a sign of bad hygiene or any of that. They don't correlate to any disease at all. Fuck, they don't even spread easy, 'cause they're lazy little fuckers. Shit; they are less bad than mosquitoes—mosquitoes give fuckers West Nile and malaria and shit. All the bed bugs do is itch. If a mosquito bites you, you slap the fucker and go on with your day, no thinking twice, even though the fucker could have just juiced you with West Nile or malaria or yellow fever or a fucking botfly egg or, shit, fucking encephalitis. Bed bug ain't never gonna do that."
He stopped to scratch again, thrusting his left hand past the waistband of his trousers to scratch his leftern buttock. All three of his pulled further away, and I felt my hunting tentacles creeping back to scratch along the back of my mantle.
"All they do is itch. The fucking kicker? This was situation normal for humans for hundreds of years. The only reason we aren't all just plain used to bed bugs is that we poisoned our country so bad in the '60s and '70s with DDT that we fucking killed 'em off. Bed bugs getting so common is a sign that our shit is healthier, and you fuckers are treating me like I have fucking leprosy."
"If they so hard to get, 'cause they so lazy," Jarwaun asked, his hands now cupped loosely about his mandibles, "then how you got 'em."
Rob smiled bitterly, itched his scalp, then drank a swig from his soda's pop.
"That's the fucking irony," Rob said, "I don't even have a fucking bed; they ain't in my apartment. Crazy chick next door has 'em, but she's all 'Charlie Sheen is using TV rays to read my thoughts!' bat-shit and won't let the super in to help her clear the shit out. So, every night, the lil fucks troop under the door and come fuck with me, then scurry away. They ain't like flees or ticks, they don't ride around on folks; they come for the night, party in your sack, and don't even leave a sawbuck on the bedside table—which I also don't have. They are a harsh lover. But the takeaway is this: You guys are all super-rational and smart and look-it-up-on-the-Internet and let-me-Google-that-for-you-Rob and get on my back for believing in horoscopes and magic tricks I see on YouTube and Bigfoot molestations and shit, but the fact is, even knowing that there's zero chance of you catching shit from me right now, you'd totally French-kiss an AIDS dude before you'd give me a high five."
And at that he spun and hopped six inches closer to Molly—not quite reducing their separation to seven feet—and she screeched and fled the room.
"There goes rational thought," he opined, sipping again of his sodas. Jarwaun sat very still, so as not to catch the predator's eye.
"ROB," I then asked, "HAVE YOU CONTRACTED TO SELL MY ENTRAILS OVERSEAS?"
He looked me dead in my optically perfect eye. "Did you get an email from that Japanese guy, Ralf?"
"Yeah, I don't know shit about that."
With that he spat upon the floor and left me unnerved, and Jarwaun insisting he needed to head home immediately to bathe.
I Remain, Just Yet,
Your Giant Squid
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