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Squid #54
(published August 23, 2001)
Ask The {Sally McBootykins}:
In New Orleans Big American Chapter Thirteen

Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?

[Editors Note: You have landed amidst the wreckage of the American Dream. It's a novel called Big American.
How did this start?
Who is Sally McBootykins?
Show me Sang's "Story so Far"?
I hate this new squid novel. You guys suck.
The squid is on the road, people. Keep up. Want to catch up with past chapters? Check out the Archive.
Want to know what happens next? Read on!]

 Tom has fallen into his old habits and ceased to send me anything very prepared; raw video streams and crackling audio are all he cares to share. A stingy man, is he not? To have such a rich life, the tools to share it even, and to only allow us the crumbs he sweeps from his place setting between courses in the great and multi-hewed feast that is his American adventure.

The video footage is fundamentally uninteresting: He did not leave the Escalade often, and seems to have been caught in an unending traffic jam through the narrow mews of the French Quarter, slowly plodding past an unending array of bars, suspect "hotels", gentlemen's clubs and gift shops. The images through the window are of an oppressed city, trapped in heat. Men wrapped in stuck-to-skin shirts, women in limp tafeta like napkins stuck to a wet table.

LISA: "This traffic is incredible— I didn't realize it was always like this."

THOMAS: "Yeah"

{a wizened, dreadlocked African-American man runs a soggy rag across the Escalade's sizable windshield}

THOMAS: "HEY! CUT THAT OUT! I DON'T NEED— shit— HERE, HERE'S A BUCK. Christ, I hate that, when they get you at the intersection and—"

SQUID: "What are stored within those cases?"

LISA: "What cases? What's he talking about?"

THOMAS: "What cases, Mar— Mr. Brando?"

SQUID: "These cases, white. Surface scan indicates they are approxiamtely two meters in length, one meter in height and one in breadth. Of concrete, perhaps— the surface is course in the manner of imperfect concrete."

{another African-American man is running a soggy cloth across the windshield}

THOMAS: "A cemetary? I think he means A cemetary— those above-ground kind, like in the acid-trip scene in Easy Rider. HEY, STOP WITH THE RAG— christ—

African-American Window Washer: "Dollah fo' clean, sah. Dollah for the clean."

THOMAS: "Yeah, a buck. I've got it . . ."

LISA: "But I don't see—"

THOMAS: " Corpses, Marlon—"

SQUID: "Mr. Brando, Tom."

THOMAS: "— are stored in the boxes. Human corpses."

SQUID: "Ah."

LISA: "Tom, where's he looking? All I see are gift shops."

{a man is again dragging a soggy rag— aperently somewhat muddy, at that— across the Escalade's windshield}

THOMAS:" I dunno, but GOD! WILL YOU GET OFF THE DAMN WINDSHIELD! These fucking guys!

LISA: "I still don't see this cemetery"

AA Window Washer: "Good wash, yes? Good wash. Dollah, sah. Dollah."

THOMAS: "Yeah, here. Lisa, maybe he's looking out the back or something."

LISA: "You've never seen an above-ground cemetary, Marlon?"

SQUID: "This is a form of refrigration? My screen indicates the ambient temperature is nigh unto 100 degress Farenheit, and quite humid."

LISA: "No— there not refrigerated, Marlon. You've never seen a cemetary like this? I mean, I find that sorta hard to believe, considering—"

SQUID: "But, in the absence of refrigeration, does not the food spoil?"


{loud thump, like a melon dropped from a fair height}

THOMAS: "Jesus fuck! I just hit that fucking hobo!"

{sound of door slam}

There is now a brief joggle of moving video footage as Thomas races around the front of the Escalade, and then a jump cut to the face of the man he has hit. It is the same African-American male whom has washed his winshield at the last four intersections.

Still image: the African-American's broad, mahagony face.

Still image: The African-American smiles broadly. His teeth glisten in the light. They are very, very sharp— all incisors. I would surmise that he has had them modified by a dentist, filed.

Still image: A broad strip of the blue Louisiana sky, framed to the right and left but the edges of the surrounding roofs.

THOMAS: "Christ!"

LISA: "Jesus, Tom! Are you OK? Is that man OK? Does he need a hospital?"

THOMAS: "The fucker ear slapped me and ran off he didn't . . . he . . . HE HE— OH GOOD FUCK I CAN'T HEAR ANYTHING!"

LISA: "Tom? Tom!"


LISA: "Tom! We need to see a doctor."


LISA: "Crap; I can't find a pen"


LISA: "No cavitation in the tank? What the hell does that mean?"


LISA: "What! What's wrong?"


SQUID: "Ha ha ha."


LISA:"WHAT? What?"

THOMAS: "Holy shit! Fucking holy fuck! Jesus fuck shit; that fucker IS GONE!"

SQUID: "Dear Tom, you are not the only one who might place work orders with Devo the Automotive Engineer."

LISA: "What!?! Tom, what are you yelling about?"

THOMAS: "Mr. Fucking Brando is *GONE*!'

And, upon inspection of the rolling-tank telemetry, I can indeed confirm, gentle readers: "Mr. Brando" has indeed left the building.

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see other pieces by this author | Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid? Read his blog posts and enjoy his anthem (and the post-ironic mid-1990s Japanese cover of same)

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The Next Squid piece (from Issue #55):

Ask The {Sally McBootykins}: Night of the Walking Dead
Big American Chapter Fourteen

The Last few Squid pieces (from Issues #53 thru #49):

Ask The {Sally McBootykins}: How Many Matters Must a Man Attend?
Big American Chapter Twelve

Ask The {Sally McBootykins}: I Too, In Arcadia Be, or, Georgia on My Mind Redux--A Mini-Georgics, part six
Big American Chapter Eleven

Ask The {Sally McBootykins}: The Lazy Alligator--A Mini-Georgics, part five
Big American Chapter Ten

Ask The {Sally McBootykins}: Uncle Fried--A Mini-Georgics, part four
Big American Chapter Nine

Ask The {Sally McBootykins}: Uranium, Deep Beneath the Surface of the Earth, Can Control Our Spirits--A Mini-Georgics, part three
Big American Chapter Eight

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