|[Editors Note: You have landed amidst the wreckage of the American Dream. It's a novel called Big American.
How did this start?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!]
It is November first. Many might seek to find significance in this propitious day. I do not.
Although last week's column found the Squid, Thomas and Lisa still in Louisiana, still in late August, still among zombies and intrigue, although there is still a great deal of the Giant Squid's adventure yet to be told, my telling abruptly stops here.
I type this, briefly, during a lacuna in my current and most urgent matters: packing and moving the lab from our fair home high atop the sky-rise towers of Cincinnati.
It appears now that all the world is my penpal, for I have received no fewer than 97 letters, e-mails, telegrams and postcards within the last week, all pertaining to the most honorable and venerable Architeuthis dux, and his continuing adventures across the hardpacked surfaces of America. Some of these missives communicate a great and abiding loathing for the Squid's long-running cross-country jaunt, and eagerly cry that we return to our "good ole format" of trivial questions and soul-withering answers. These tortured souls shall rejoice for, effective immediately, to such a format we return— although it is none of their doing that has brought about this eventuality.
Of my 97 communiques, 3 are of special interest, and it is from their more simple words that the power of my action comes. The first is a brief telegram, which arrived on Monday, October 29:
ESCALADE STOLEN —STOP— NO BRANDO —STOP— HORRIBLE MONSTER KILLED TOM —STOP— I HAVE STOLEN ESCALADE —STOP—This was shortly followed by the following e-mail, received on Tuesday , October 30 at 13:07 GMT:
Have met with Lord High Presidento in Washing-Ton Deca and resolved pesky citizenship unpleasantness.
Owing to circumstances not forseen, I shall return under my own power. Escalade has grown tiresome to me. Perhaps I shall stretch my legs. Ha Ha Ha.
The treatment of African-Americans in Cincinnati is no longer conscionable. We shall subsequently transfer all offices to Detroit, where relations among the humans are, to the best of my knowledge, more equitable, and real estate pricing especially favorable.
Tom no longer in my employ. You shall now head laboratory. Please make all arrangements for move. I shall see you in MotorTown, Sweet Sang.
I once again may sign
The third item is a postcard which arrived with todays delivery, just brought up by the mailroom attendant— of note, this mail-boy has taken to wearing elbow-length latex gloves and a paper mask of the sort worn by painters working out-of-doors. Such are the times.
On the face of the postcard there is depicted a line of some dozen bikini-clad women. They wear thong-type bikini bottoms, and face away from the camera. The caption, in fluorescent pink cursive, reads, "A HEALTHY bottom line!" On the reverse is the following brief message:
You venerable ole Chink, you wouldn't believe how well things are going! And to believe, you said this would be the death of me. Who's laughing now, slanty?
It is postmarked September 22, Los Angeles. Sweet Thomas, who is laughing now? I honestly have no idea.
Two days ago a supple, leather jacket arrived for me, far softer than any leather I have ever touched. As per Thomas' too prophetic instructions, I have burned it, and shall sprinkle the ashes— Thomas' ashes— into the sluggish Detroit River, where they might someday find some lands of his youth.
A thousand small tales yet await us all in the buffer of this box. Video images, stills, audio tracks, e-mails, quixotic replies to meandering questions . . . who knows if any of it will be sorted out? Not I.
Alas, there are boxes to pack, hounds to crate, miles to go before we sleep.
Sweet Dreams, America,
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