AN EXHORTATION FROM THE GIANT SQUID, EDITOR-IN-ABSENTIA OF HIS POOR MOJO’S ALMANAC(K) AND RELATED LITERARY CONCERNS
My Dearest Scribblers and Scribblerixes,
Please pardon the dearth of prefatory pleasantries in this, my brief missive, but I fear that time is not in overabundance: I have just now had the good fortune to lay hold to a hand-crank cellular telephone clumsily left over-near my temporary confines here, and have but a brief moment to text unto you all my “OMFG”-worthy predicament, for I find myself held prisoner within the extensive bowels of what I am beginning to be made to suspect may be the main (or possibly prime subsidiary) offices of the Fiction-Writing Directorate.
Indeed! Lower your shockéd and supercilious brows, Gentle Readers, for it is true: I am held here against my will, all due to what I have begun to suspect are the sinister machinations of the American Meteorological Society, in conjunction with the Target Corporation.
To abridge what might otherwise be an oppressively complex tale: Some months past I received a certified letter reminding me of an obligation I had made to George Dayton (founder of Target Corporation) in 1906, on the occasion of the celebration of the nuptials of his eldest son, David, and a distant cousin of mine, Beatrix–an invitation I had intended to decline, until I had discovered that I would already be in the vicinity on other business, and that a four-course dinner would be served with open bar (I was not always the well-to-do cephalopod you know and love today, Dear Readers). In the end, I was so charmed by the ceremony–not to mention the sight of Beatrix’s many silk-and-tulle-wrapped arms and tentacles arcing up out of the black and depthless waters of the Portsmouth Mine Pit to grip David’s puny human paws in deathless and dreamless matrimony, a sight whose inherent beauty was only amplified by the 72 mint juleps I had already imbibed–that I inadvertently agreed to aid in the promotion of the groom’s father’s burgeoning discount dry-goods business. The next morning, as I nursed my swollen and aching headsac, it dawned upon me that Dayton may have mistaken me for a more famous relation of mine–having seen snapshots from the event (to which I had chosen to wear the new copper-and-iron surface-walking suit that I had come to that region to fetch), I must confess that I did cut a handsome mien: The westering sun gleaming on my suit’s crystalline dome and brass pressure-fittings, the gouts of steam and smoke billowing from my dual-exhaust ports, the scythe-ish curves and gleaming serrations of the primary-manipulator claws–it was far from shocking that a noted Midwestern businessman might have mistook me for a Deathless Dreamer with deep pockets and noted leverage in local and state government.
In any event, I had presumed that the dissolution of this marriage four years later relieved me of my obligations to George Dayton and the corporate entity that ultimately inherited his personhood, soul, and vast, mechanized subterranean estate following Dayton’s exeunt from this material plane in 1938. Sadly, my lawyers inform me that, in this matter, I was mistaken. And so–despite a busy schedule, which included writing and revising my own weekly advice column, among other personal and professional obligations–I found myself hanging in a blue and cloudless sky, ensconced in my finest mechanical velocitating suit, dangling below a red-and-white montgolfière and above the scintillant waters of our own Detroit River, so that promotional “B-roll” might be shot for some upcoming commercial advertisements.
Then, without warning and despite assurances to the contrary by both the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, violent thunderheads rolled in from the suburbs, blotting out the sun, and whipping me and my lighter-than-aircraft first out of frame, and then entirely out of the region. I was buffeted and beaten by the savage winds, draggéd through the peaks of uncooperative pines, harrowed by scavangerous birds, and ultimately suffered a precipitous descent after a clutch of nefarious robins loosed and absconded with a large portion of the stitching securing the deflation port of my balloon’s envelope. Fortunately, my acceleration was retarded when the sagging silk snagged upon the spire of a great, sooty, jackstraw building, Perhaps some disused factory or abandoned Rust-Belt fortification was my brief thought as I considered the gothic architectural flourishes and occluded crenellations–that is, prior to my velocitating suit swinging forcefully into the edifice’s rough-hewn brick walls, at which time I lost all sense for an undetermined period.
When I awoke I found myself here, presumably within the great and terrible confines of that building, rudely stripped of my modern (and quite comfortable) land-walking velocitating suit, and deposited in a tiled tank–perhaps a mid-sized swimming pool, or a bathtub formerly tenanted by William Howard Taft (who, as I recall, was likewise a cousin of Beatrix, but not mine–although I can no longer claim to recall the tortuous genealogical arabesque which made such a case possible).
In the intervening hours between that wakening and now, all manner of displeasantry has befallen me: A strange little dwarf of a man, Gustav, has stared at me for long hours, often making notes, and generally refusing to answer questions with anything other than a derisive tsk or tut; on two occasions he has been joined by bun-haired Ethelie, whose insistence that they “shall see good work of you, yet–or in the least, good canapés” is precisely as disturbing as one might suppose–although significantly less disturbing than the frequent visits by Lida, who sits upon the edge of my tiled temporary tank, gently stroking my left hunting tentacle and insisting that “this shall all be sorted out sooner than you’d expect.” Obviously, these visits are not disturbing in and of themselves, but are made so owing to the presence of the janitor Boggins, who stands in the doorway during Lida’s visits, his hands toiling within his trouser pockets in a most distressing fashion as his greasy eyes caress my visible convexities (the tank being somewhat shallow for one of my, ahem, girth). I have also been suffered to watch a great pack of delicious verbhounds chase and hector this same janitor, yet remain just beyond my grasp, here in this improvised tank. And I am so very hungry.
And all of this the more frustrating because I do, as a very important cephalopod, indeed have very important business to be about, such as my much-celebrated advice column.
So then, please, in the Section reserved for Comments, do tell: What commitments–real or imagined–keep you confined, and prevent you from returning to your prime and true work, that of writing That Very Special Thing Which You and You Alone Must Compose?
Poor Mojo’s Giant Squid writes his weekly advice columns and ongoing memoir from Detroit, MI, publishing these at www.squid.poormojo.org. He is aided in this endeavor by the Poor Mojo’s Almanac(k) editorial team: Morgan Johnson, David Erik Nelson, and Fritz Swanson.