I'm not in the mood to write a summary now. It's good, I'll just tell you that. I started workin' on it a
year ago, and then I removed it to get it published, but now I just put it back to humor my public. Anyway, here it
Munchies for Mr. Squid
It was a fine day in Albuquerque.
Unfortunately, I was not there.
Hurricane Zingo was ripping through San Diego.They ran out of Z names, so now theyre making up stuff.My ADT sign was blown into the electrical wire lately.My
refrigerator is not working, and all my food has rotten.A large piece of the
roof was vaporized by lightning.My living room has flooded.I love my house.
I love my life.
I love my job.
I have no job.Some moron back
at Maritech increased the water pressure in the aquarium too high and something bad happened.A long story played out, that you have no need of knowing, and I ended up fired.
I now cant get a job due to my reputation.
And although Im the most qualified in the country, I cannot get a job in my
specialty, marine biology, because of my reputation, or my phobia.
A phobia so bad, I was thought to be insane.
That hurt my feelings.
I walked over to the refrigerator, and got some milk.I felt like I was holding that mushy thing you find in the Discovery store.
I threw the milk out.
I watched it as it fell toward the garbage can.By some freak accident, it can no longer serve its purpose, nor does it want to.It helplessly falls into the realm of disposed edibles and beverages.
I caught it before it fell in the can.I looked at it for a while, and stared at it and myself with disgust.I
just realized I had been throwing it out in the outdoor garbage can, which had now just blown away.My hair flopped in front of my eyes, soaking wet.Another
piece of my house suddenly got struck by lightning.
I poured out the milk and threw the carton in the air, for it to blow over
the fence and into Mr. Ubbss yard.I walked back in through the front entrance,
not bothering with the fact that the entrance was now flooded.
The ground felt unusually wet, as I soon realized was because my left shoe
was not on my foot.I walked back outside, hopped over the palm tree that had
blown into my yard, and picked up my shoe, which was now in the very eye of the storm.
I looked into the sky, and saw an eerie brightness pour in through the gaping
hole of the storm.It was about ,
but the paperboy now rushed through the streets, hurrying to finish before the storm ended.He tossed my paper in the largest puddle on my yard.
I always wondered what happened to the custom of tossing it on the doorstep.
I picked up the paper and shook it.I
took off the rubber band and shot it at the paper boy using a technique I learned in highschool from the guy who sat next
I opened the paper, and decided to try the classified.
HEY, YOU LIKE SQUIDS? read the ad.JOIN
THE SQUID HUNTERS!PAY:$10,000
I stared at the ad, and the people on it.Two boys and a girl, each wearing glasses, looked out at me with a toothy grin.They loomed over a huge squid, lying on an autopsy table.
As a matter of fact, I do like squids.I love squids.I studied them all my life.I worked with them.Id never apply for a measly position in the Squid
HuntersBesides, I cant work with squids due to my phobia.
I tossed the paper back towards the puddle, and immediately caught it.
It has to be a joke.
That meant $520,000 a year.In
two years, Ill be a millionaire.I checked the date.It was today.It was the local paper, which meant I might
be one of the only people who got this.I looked up from the paper, picturing
myself, in some fancy suit, wheeling up a squid on my five-acre yacht.
I looked at the ad again. Meet us, Pim, Pad, and Pod, at the abandoned water
park, found at 7800, E. Franks street.You will receive your application.We look forward to squidding with you!
Squidding with you.Okay, who
cares, I tore off and arrived there by .
I had parked my old, beaten car in the parking lot, and entered the abandoned
water park, which had apparently been converted into a marine biology lab.As
soon as I entered the door, with paint peeling off of it like apple skin, I was greeted by a large empty room, walls layered
with hundreds of chemicals, blood samples from squids, dissected creatures, and the sound of a young man in the background
screaming for Pim.
Pim! he screamed.Emergency!Emergency!Yow!Ow!Oh, god, pain!PainPain!Ow!
For crying out loud, Pad, what is it?Another voice.
I found three doors in the room, one on each wall.I headed toward the one opposite me, the one nearest to Pads voice.
I wasnt calling for you!Yow!
screamed Pad.It was coming from the door to the left.I was entering the wrong door.
You dont have to love me, you dont have to like me, if your heads getting ripped
off then Pods here to save the day!The door in front of me was smashed open,
bashing me on the nose.I stumbled back, and noticed Pod coming out of it turning
towards the door on the left, pushing me out of the way.He slowly trudged towards
the door, and I started to follow him.
Um, excuse me! I said, trying to get attention.He just kept trudging towards the door.I pulled the ad out of my pocket,
which I had ripped out of the paper, and showed it to Pod, or at least the back of his head.I saw your ad.Its very well made, and, uh, I like squids.I, um, hello?
Pod finally reached the door and smashed it with his boot.The doorknob was too loose to work, most likely from being smashed the wrong way every other second.The door broke loose and slowly opened.
The rooms contents were very intriguing indeed.
A fifteen-foot long, 3-foot wide squid was lying on a large autopsy table.Its foot wide eye focused on Pod with extreme intensity.Its flailing tentacles had destroyed most of the lab.One
tentacle was extended in the air, coiled around Pad.
I couldnt think of anything to do but gawk at the squid and its victim, being
shaken violently in the air.
Just dont hurt the specimen, said Pod.
Pod, you started Pad.The squid
then started whacking Pad into a file cabinet.
Ill get the tranquilizer, said Pod.
Goodowgriefowjustow! said Pad, while being smashed into the ceiling.
Pod shoved the tranquilizer just below the squids eye.The squid squinted, then opened a narrow eye at Pod.The squid
grabbed a large unintelligible metal object of a shelf and bashed Pods head with it.Pod stumbled back into a wall covered with shelves, and suffered the hundreds of objects crashing on top of him.He, surprisingly quickly, popped out of the wreckage and ran two steps toward Pad
and the squid.He stopped, and held out his hands flat.Just stay there, he said.
Argh!Argh!JustUgh! screeched Pad.I cant take it!
The blinding, ear-shattering explosion was pretty unexpected.
I shook the large eyeball off my feet and wiped the squid intestines off my
Hi, she said, standing right next to me with a rocket launcher.
Oh, great, PimThats the
eighth specimen this year.
Pim, Pad, Pod and I sat around the circular wooden table in the middle of one
of the labs as we ate McDonalds meals.As twisted as the atmosphere was, I felt
very at home.Pod seemed seriously irked.He seemed like the type that is permanently irked.I felt somewhat queasy
sitting next to Pim.She was stuffing enormous clumps of fries into her mouth.I slowly looked at her, then looked away.I
looked again.I felt intimidated.I
dont know whether it was because she still had on her bathing suit from feeding the squids, or that she still had a rocket
launcher strapped on her from when she blasted Pods beautiful specimen to smoldering calamari.
I rather enjoy calamari.I was
wondering why we werent having it.It would have been quite entertainingly ironic.
I stared at the enormous chicken whopper in front of me.I looked over at Pad.Even in the midst of company, he violently
shoved his entire whopper in his mouth in one bite.He chewed with his mouth
wide open.I enjoyed the company of this fellow, he was quite the laugh.
Pod was shooting Pad nasty looks, as if he was trying to rip him apart with
his eyes.I already knew, somehow, almost everything about these completely bewildering
characters I met 25 minutes ago.
So, said Pad, as he swallowed the enormous slab of meaty flesh, hows life been
I quickly looked up from my whopper to respond.Oh, quite splendid, I said.
Alright, said Pod, if you want to be a member of the Squid Hunters, you have
to talk like one.Youre out of work, for one thing, and now youre last hope is
three geeks and an Ammonite.Now I never want to hear the word splendid from you again.Kapeesh?
Pim glared at Pod for about seven seconds, then chuckled as she shook her head,
as it lowered back to her fries.
Well, actually, he is right, I said.I have been quite miserable.Due to a horrible accident, which I prefer
not to talk about, I have been out of work for quite some time.As odd as my
current situation appears to be, I believe I will rather enjoy working with you three respectable scientists.
Pim started gagging, trying to hold back her laugh and her fries.Pad spat out his soda on Pod in laughter.Youre like, talki
all like weird, and stuff, said Pad.Anyway, yeah, we can be pretty fun guys,
but I warn you, mollusks can be dangerous.If you take them nearly as seriously
as we take everything else, youll be gobbled up!Like a turkey that gobbles up
Pod just closed his eyes, not saying anything.
So, said Pim, howd you hear about us?
Well, I said, I read youre article.I
couldnt believe the deal.Do I seriously make half a million a year?
Pim chuckled and said, If we work hard, youll be making more than that.Weve got a secret.A very valuable secret. Shut
up about the secret, said Pod.
Right, said Pim.Anyway, well
tell you when youre an official member.
Pod ate the last bite of his veggieburger.Everyone had finished except for me.
Well, said Pad, anymore questions?Well,
Im sure theres hundreds, but
They seemed to notice the hesitation in my face.Should I ask it?Would it offend them?Or does it not matter?
He wants to know our real names, said Pim.Everyones face turned dead serious.
That, said Pod, will also soon be revealed.
Well, said Pad, Looks like we wont be going home soon.He pointed in the direction of the gaping hole in the roof from the hurricane, that was now pouring water
on the table, drenching my chicken whopper.The wind drowned out almost all sound.
Might as well get to work! screamed Pim over the wind.Time for youre training, and well be training for as long as that hurricanes here, which might be a while!So, to the basement!
We all, except for Pim, pulled our shirts over our heads to shield us from
the water, which really didnt do much good, as we ran towards the door that led to the basement.
When it hit me:my last chance
is three geeks... and an Ammonite?
And here, said Pad, as we finished walking down a particularly long flight
of stairs, is our basement.Used mainly for storing our personal stuff, and for
training new recruits.Youre the first one, buddy, so this will be a neat little
experiment for all of us!
We walked down the last few steps and Pad drew us to the refrigerator.
Heres our fridge said Pad, quickly opening and closing the door.In the one glimpse I saw, I estimated about 50 McDonalds meals were stored inside.
We can only afford McDonalds, said Pim.
At the moment, Pod quickly added.
Pad led us to a huge table, with a toolbox on the side of it.
This is our training table, said Pod, Youll start off here, with minimum tools
and lots of room.When youre a real Squid Hunter, youll be able to use all the
tools on a small table.
Pad was leading us to another area of the basement, and we passed a computer
on the way by.I looked over at it, and to my surprise, the windows were opening
and closing by themselves, and pieces of information on mollusks were appearing on the screen.
Dont look over there! screamed pod, as he pushed me up to Pad.When I regained balance, we were standing in front of another door.Pad opened it, revealing a workout room.
Gotta keep in shape! said Pad.And
over here, he said walking over to the opposite wall, is the basement-basement.He
pushed in a piece of the wall, creating a circular hole.Behind the hole was
a ladder.It led down to a lit room.
Secretive, I said.
Pad quickly pulled the piece of the wall back into place.Very secretive.Thats where we sleep.And most likely where youll sleep tonight.I dont know how
youre going to get back to your house for a while.
So, said Pim, Lets start.
Ten minutes late, Pim came walking back down from the lab to the basement,
soaking wet, holding a large squid, which was wriggling like crazy.She slammed
it down on the training table.
This squid cant shoot ink, she said.
So I have to dissect it? I asked.
Thatd be the optimum idea, she said.
I pushed the body of the wriggling squid.Well, the pens broken, and the weights pushing the digestive gland into the ink sac.
She raised her eyebrows, then winked.Prove it.Youve got until the heart stops beating.Ill give him five minutes.Go.
I grabbed 4 nails out of the tool box and pinned down the fins and the two
tentacles.I opened it up, and without disturbing any other organs, grabbed a
piece of the broken pen, dipped it in the crushed ink sac, and wrote done on the table.
30 seconds had gone by.
Ive seen kids dissect squids since 9th grade, said Pod, who I found was standing
But that, said Pad, crying, was the most beautiful thing Ive ever seen!
You obviously know your anatomy, almighty one, said Pim, bowing.
But thats the beginning of your training, said Pod.
10 dissections later, Pad quizzed me on handling, catching, the anatomy, and
the lifestyle of the Squid and other cephalopods.
Pod quizzed me on the geography of the world, especially the bodies of water,
and taught me all I didnt know.
Pim took me SCUBA diving in what used to be the shark tank of the abandoned
water park to feed the squids.We also fed some octopi, cuttlefish, and Nautili,
the three other most common forms of Cephalopod.
Then, we went to the workout room.I
had only studied squids before, never caught them.I nearly collapsed with exhaustion
in the first 10 minutes of our treadmill run.I constantly demanded the purpose
to run at high speeds while catching squids
You need the lower body strength to hold my ground while reeling in any type
of fish, said Pod.
What do you mean fish? I asked.
What do you mean, what do you mean fish? said Pod.
I thought we only catch squids, I said.
We do, said Pod, we justwhats the big deal anyway.
I thought for a moment.The answer
would ruin my career.
Nevermind, I said.
I ran harder for the next few hours.
By the time we finished, it was
in the morning.
Well, time to hit the hay, said Pad.
I dropped to the ground, which happened to still be the treadmill, and I went
flying off the back onto the ground.
The three Squid Hunters walked over to the secret entrance.Pad opened it up, and climbed inside.Oh, he said.If you want upstairs, theres an extra pair of PJs.I never
wore them.Come on, he said getting out, and walking out the training room door
and to the stairs.He paused, then spasmodically hopped up.
I looked behind me at the others.Pod
had already crawled through.Humor him, said Pim.I walked up the stairs, and found Pad after walking through about four different doors.He was searching through a suitcase that had very little in it.Most of
his stuff was in the basement, or perhaps in the basement-basement, which I had yet to have entered.
Aha! he said, pulling out a pair of baggy extra-large Dora the Explorer Pajamas.I understood why he hadnt worn them.He
tossed them to me, and started to walk back.
Hey! he said, the hurricane stopped!
I had suddenly noticed it at that moment myself.I looked outside.The sky was clear for miles.I could just drive home now.I looked over at Pad.
Only one day, and the Squid Hunters seemed like family, something I hadnt had
in a long time.
So before I knew it, we were crawling through the foot-and-a-half-wide hole
to the ladder leading to the basement-basement.
When we reached the bottom, everyone was setting up the beds.Pod had the TV on incredibly loud, and Pim was gathering snacks and sodas.It looked a lot more like a party than the average sleeping quarters.
Pad hopped on the sofa and immediately fell asleep, twitching and fidgeting
like crazy.Pod hopped in his queen sized bed.
Dont try to think about it, he said, laying back, watching TV.
Pim finally laid down her rocket launcher on a table, and hopped in a smaller
bed.You can sleep with me, she said.
Em eh, I think Ill stand, I said.Sit,
I mean.Lie!Down on the floor.
Suit yourself, said Pim.She flopped
around for a moment, then propped up her pillows and laid down, almost sitting upright, watching TV.She looked at the clock, then back at the TV.I could tell
she was tired, but she was trying not to fall asleep.She was waiting for something.
I looked at the television.On
was an anime about a man in a large red suit and hair that looked like it could pop balloons.I fell asleep in a few minutes.
Wake up! whispered Pim.I woke
up immediately.The television was turned off, and the clock read 3:45.Ive got to show you something!
She hurried up the ladder and popped out of the small hole in the wall, moving
quickly and silently like some sort of lizard.I stumbled up the ladder and struggled
out the secret entrance.Come on, she whispered.She lead me to the computer.
It wasnt moving on its own anymore.All
that was up on the computer was a large picture of an Ammonite.
The name Sky Orwell mean anything to you? she asked.
He was my old boss, I said.He
was the one who fired me.
Well, hes also a computer hacker.He
busted into our profile here and uploaded it to the internet so he could study it.
Why would he want your profile I asked.
Because of the information on it, she said.
That in a large uncharted region of the Pacific Ocean there is a very high
concentration of Ammonite, hundreds of little small ones and a couple of really big ones.
Well, that explained a lot.
I thought they were extinct for millions of years, I said.
They were evolving for millions of years, said Pim.Can you imagine the value of the discovery of an ancient cephalopod such as the Ammonite?Its shells could be used for jewelry, its flesh could be eaten, it would make a great household pet, and
Sea Worlds would go nuts for it.All we have to do is patent it, and were billionaires!
You can patent an animal?
Sure, she said.If you get to
it first.Unfortunately, Sky stole our info, and now hes setting up his yacht
for a long trip due north.
Can you get there before him? I asked.
Without saying anything, she opened a new internet window.She searched Google for Sarah Joyce.She clicked on the first
On the page, which appeared to be an FBI file or something of the sort, was
her portrait.Underneath, it gave most of her personal information, and stated:
Victim:Dr. Samuel Kor
Alfonzo and Ralph have the same thing, said Pim.
But you didnt murder him, I said.
You dont say, said Pim.
I scrolled down the webpage, revealing the studies of the investigation.A wrench with Pim, Pad, and Pods fingerprints was found near the glass.
It all makes sense now, I said.Dr.
Kor was my best friend back at work in the Maritech labs.His office was built
right next to a large aquarium, so he could watch the fish through a window.It
was rumored that I messed up while setting the pressure of the tank, and the window broke letting deadly fish in, that slowly
devoured Dr. Kor.I thought for a moment.I ran over to the toolbox, and Pim followed me, already knowing what I was doing.
A wrench was missing from the toolbox.
He stole the wrench using gloves, said Pim.
And broke the glass, I said.
Allowing the fish to eat Dr. Kor.
He fired me at first to divert attention from him.
Then he hired an investigation to find the wrench.
He wants that ammonite.
And he wants us dead.
From what I could see of them, Pim, Pad, and Pod were beaming.Huge sly grins crept across their faces.Thats about the only
flesh on their bodies anyone on the street could see.
Each of them wore baggy black leather pants, partially covered by their black
t-shirts.They each had a huge overcoat on cloaking their shape entirely, and
their hands were covered by black leather gloves.With their bangs and glasses
with sunglass clip-ons, their face was nowhere to be found.Pod had a top hat
on, and Pad had a ball cap on.Pims deep purple hair was straight, covering her
head and ears.
Nobody could possibly recognize them, and this fact put them at ease, as they
walked to Martins shop to complete a major part of their Ammonite mission.
I thought to myself that this was probably one of only a few times theyve spent
in the rays of the sun since they were accused of murder.They probably enjoyed
this moment, as they seemed to be walking on air, stepping in stylish, rigid steps like John Travolta.
As we walked through the busiest street in town, I found people staring a cold,
confused stare at Neo, Trinity, and Morphius.They must have chuckled when comparing
the shady characters to me, in a Nike t-shirt and shorts.
I waved to an elderly lady we were passing who appeared to particularly enjoy
staring a twitchy, tooth-gritting stare at us.
I suddenly double-took, as I noticed that behind her, on the opposite side
of the street, stood Sky.
He didnt seem to notice us.I
squinted with anger and took a heavy step toward him.
I felt Pims hand grip my shoulder.Not
yet, she said.She was just looking forward, down the street, not making eye
contact with Sky or me.
Feeling as though they both defeated me, I looked forward again and started
off toward Martins shop.
15 minutes later the three suddenly turned into a shop.I followed, and found myself in a Fishing shop.
We walked up to the counter, and someone with a nametag displaying Martin greeted
us. Are you ready to pick it up? asked Martin.Pad and Pod nodded.Martin pointed at me and made a questioning look toward Pim.She
nodded.We walked o the back of the store, to the bathrooms.We all turned into the womens bathroom, and walked to the back.Martin
looked around to make sure we were the only ones around, and somehow opened the back wall, and stepped through the hidden
I found myself in a huge room, with a chemical laboratory in the back.Huge tubes lined the walls, containing exotic creatures, including cobras, poison
frogs, and jellyfish; pretty much a bunch of guys you wouldnt want to run into in a dark alley.These displays were not the focus of attention in the room however.
In the center stood a large circular rack lined with many different things,
each of which Ive never seen the likes of before.The main object on the rack
was a huge harpoon gun, with one harpoon loaded in it.The harpoon was very wide,
as if something was stored inside it.Next to it was a bag filled with jellyfish,
and next to that was a bag filled with snakes.On the other side of the large
harpoon was a bag filled with exotic fish, all appearing wounded.Along the top
of the rack were devices that looked like they were designed to electrocute somebody, and along the bottom were metallic spheres
painted like happy faces.Several odd pieces of machinery were scattered around
the rack and so were odd vials filled with oddly colored chemicals.