News that a joint expedition by the Discovery Channel, Japanese public broadcaster NHK and Japan’s National Museum of Nature and Science successfully filmed a giant squid in its natural habitat for the first time hit the reclusive giant-squid community hard.
“We’re at close to a million hits on YouTube in five days,” Duncan the Giant Squid said at a hastily called meeting of concerned squid citizens, a video of which, with accompanying notes, fell into my hands courtesy of an anonymous colossal-squid source. “We’re hemorrhaging enigma.”
“Who let this happen?” said Clyde the Giant Squid.
“That idiot Lawrence the Giant Squid,” sighed Duncan.
“The pianist?” said Clyde.
“No, that punk who’s missing two of his tentacles. He was out there cavorting in front of a mini-submarine.”
“Yes, cavorting. This is a public-relations disaster. If we weren’t so overexposed already, I’d say it was time for another squid corpse to wash up on the shores of Newfoundland – 330 pounds of idiot Lawrence.”
“He’s got nice eyes. How big would you say his eyes are?” asked Clyde, opening his as wide as they could go.
“Gotta be 12 inches, but he’s an idiot. Who gets that close to an expedition like that? Call me cynical,” said Duncan, “but I see any kind of Japanese oceanic-research vessel and I just assume it docks at a kitchen.”
“Maybe we should just go with this, embrace the exposure,” suggested Madeleine the Giant Squid, a successful sea-life-marketing consultant. “We could unite as a species, try rebranding – maybe go with the playful, dolphin-like angle. Act all intelligent and leap around for tourists near resort hotels. Squeak. Can either of you guys squeak?”
“No. Besides, octopi have the highly intelligent, multi-armed, endearing invertebrate market cornered. What giant squids had was mystery. We were part legend. We were the Kraken,” said Duncan wearily “You take away our mysterious-deep-sea-creature angle and we’re just a somewhat freaky-looking big animal. And even then we’re always going to be smaller than most whales.
“We don’t even have cute. Humans love things with big eyes, but not when one eye is bigger than their little heads. Let’s face it, no one sees hundreds of subspherical suckers and melts inside.”
“And always the colossal squid threatening our mind share,” added Madeleine.
“I hate the colossal squid,” said Clyde. “How big would you say their eyes are?”
“Pretty big,” said Madeleine. “I gotta say, pretty big. You sure you can’t squeak? Also, idea, guys: Let’s start calling each other ‘squidizens.’”
“Give it up, Madeleine,” sighed Duncan. “Look at us. Listen to us. We’re too unpleasant to ever be lovable and no one even knows much about our mating habits yet. Just wait till those hit Reddit.”
“Yikes!” said Madeleine.
“I know I’m not the only one here who makes a much better unconfirmed sighting than I do a dinner companion,” continued Duncan. “We’ve created a demand for our presence the only way we could, by almost never being present, by flirting with presence, and now we’re a one-hour special on the Discovery Channel.
“Time was, bored on a Sunday, we’d just pop up in front of a ship and wave our tentacles about a bit. Keep them interested, scoot away. Sometimes we’d take bets on how long a ship would have had to have been at sea before some desperately lonely sailors would mistake a 43-foot cephalopod swishing its massive tentacles and batting its 10-inch eyes at them for a mermaid.
“Do that nowadays and boom! You’re a GIF – a mystique-draining genre if ever there was one.”
“My tell-all memoir, Go Ask Architeuthis, is going to be ruined if people find out I mostly just swim around and eat smaller sea life,” sighed Clyde. “Seriously, someone needs to talk to Lawrence. Is it too much to ask that one be born, live and then die without causing the words ‘once noble’ to be added before the name of your species?”
“I was all set to become the Cormac McCarthy of the deep sea,” said Duncan. “I’m refusing all interviews. I have eight arms and two tentacles, and not one of those appendages is capable of typing quotation marks. It was the perfect gig for me. My publicist is going to hit the roof.”
“Your publicist is a shark,” said Madeleine.
“I know, but they’re very hard workers. Hey, wait a second! Is that a colossal squid?”
Video cuts out.