Monday, April 3, 2017

Incoming

<I'm hungry> said Eats-Fast.

<We don't care> said Has-Ideas and Big-Suckers.

The three giant squid were swimming through the sea as quickly as their jets could carry them, which was not very quickly at all, since they were also dragging the strangest piece of equipment any squid had ever carried: a submersible.

Of course, it wasn't a submersible anymore. Has-Ideas had overhauled its structure completely. The vessel now contained water instead of air, and bore wheels instead of a propeller. If a human suffering from equal parts whimsy and pedantry had seen it, that human might have called it a surfacible.

<I'm lost> said Big-Suckers.

<We don't care> said Has-Ideas and Eats-Fast.

Eats-Fast was lost too, but saw no reason to admit it. She knew that Has-Ideas knew where they were going. An island, Has-Ideas had said, an island made of beautiful rocks and surrounded by cool water. An island where people would catch fish and bring them to you, more than even Eats-Fast could swallow. Her salivary glands fired up and her radula rasped the inside of her beak in anticipation.

No squids had ever crawled out of the ocean before. A few of their distant cousins the octopuses had tried it, roaming from tidepool to tidepool, never staying away from water for long. Their reports filtered down through plankton and tuna, through anglerfish and whales, until even giant squid in the depths of the sea had heard about the unbelievably friendly and accommodating creatures that lived on land.

<I'm scared> said Has-Ideas, slowing down as they reached the shallow water where sunlight illuminated every detail of the squids' color-changing skin. They weren't used to seeing each other in such bright light, so to her companions it looked like Has-Ideas had shouted as loudly as possible: <I'M SCARED>.

<WE DON'T CARE> Eats-Fast and Big-Suckers shouted back cheerfully. They continued to haul the surfacible up the rocky slope, dragging Has-Ideas along with them.

Has-Ideas couldn't help trying new things. As a paralarva, she'd used mucus to create a food-catching umbrella. As a juvenile, she'd constructed a predator deterrent out of sharp fish bones. And as a young adult, the moment she'd seen the broken submersible half-sunk in the mud of the seafloor, she knew it was her destiny to use it on land the way the bony four-armed creatures used it underwater.

But now that she and her friends were only a few feet from the air—now that they were climbing inside the surfacible and sealing the door—now that she was working the machinery to turn the wheels to clatter and splash onto land—now she was terrified. Sure, some humans loved octopuses, and built predator-free homes for them, and fed them delicacies.

Others ate them alive.

***

(This was all Twitter's fault. Here's how it happened:



And then Topazios absented itself from the story by the time I finished writing. Which is just as well, because no one calls it that anymore.)

8 comments:

  1. Nice! I want to read the rest of the story. But wouldn't giant squid die from decompression before they could get that close to the surface?

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    1. Ooh, good question! One of many great things about squid--and most other invertebrates--is that they're essentially incompressible. With no gas-filled spaces like a human's lungs or a fish's swim bladder, they don't suffer from compression/decompression as they change depth. (Shelled cephalopods, of course, are a whole different cuttle of fish.)

      The "rest of the story" exists only in our imaginations--unless you or someone else cares to write it--I consider this complete as a rather silly bit of flash fiction. =)

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    2. How long have you been waiting to be able to say "a whole different cuttle of fish"?

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    3. As unbelievable as this sounds, I'd never thought of that phrase before composing the comment. It might be the high point of my writing career to date...

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    4. Shame to waste it on only a blog comment. You should reuse it somewhere else.

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    5. I reserve the right to do so. ;)

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  2. I love this because a.) I love squids and have been reading your blog for years because I love squids and b.) I love @magicrealismbot and it has *definitely* sucked me into a fiction-frenzy a time or two when I should have been working on my dissertation >.<

    More, please!

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    1. Thank you so much! It's wonderful to know you've enjoyed the blog and this story in particular. And I sure am familiar with the fiction-writing-instead-of-dissertation-writing vortex...

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