A distinct hue and cry has gone up recently over my whereabouts (okay, it was only one of my loyal readers who sarcastically inquired as to whether or not Cap’n John was ever going to write another column again, but in some precincts, that constitutes a “hue and cry”), so I thought it about time that I spoke up and declared myself still among the living and accounted for. And no, contrary to rumors otherwise, I was not abducted by Halogen Creatures from the planet Zatox.
Just last week I was considering looking for property on Zatox though; according to scientists at some high-ranking but funny-smelling laboratory somewhere (I forgot where I read this), our Sun will eventually use up all its internal nuclear fuel and burn out, and I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure it’s gonna’ get a mite chilly here on planet Earth without the warming rays of the Sun beating down on us every day. So I thought a change of scenery (planetary) might be in order. Then I read further that the supply of the Sun’s internal nuclear fuel was expected to last another five billion years, so I figured I had a few billion years before I had to start worrying about moving off-planet. And doesn’t the phrase “internal nuclear fuel” just roll right off your tongue, sumptuously. Internal nuclear fuel. (I should get 10 bonus points in my Easy Writer’s Essay book for using the word “sumptuously”.) And it behooves us to remember that, according to comedian Steve Martin, a day without sunshine is…night.
Besides, it won’t make any difference anyway, if the guy at the University of Idaho (who the hell knew Idaho had universities?) is right about the Moon crashing into the Earth in about 65 million years (see link below, down there). I’m not sure, but I suspect that crashing into a chunk of rock weighing, excuse me, having a mass of, 7.35 x 10^22 kilograms is going to be seriously detrimental to Ma Earth and all living things thereon. (I’m not sure how much 7.35 x 10^22 kilograms is in pounds or tons or drachmas, but I believe it’s about equivalent to the weight of the new defensive lineman that the Tampa Bay Sucs just drafted…to quote my favorite daughter, he’s ginormous.)
So since I’ve been a little preoccupied with the future, and about where I’m going to be living after either a) the Moon becomes an iceberg to Earth’s Titanic, sinking us just like a concrete raft or b) there’s a helluva’ run on space heaters at the local Home Depot, the agile mind (yeah, right) that creates the rampant frivolity that typically is a trademark of the Welcome Aboard The R U Kidding website has been, well, preoccupied. Sorry.
(The flow of the narrative is interrupted here by cries from the audience…)
“What’s going on with Leak?”
“What’s happening to Leak?”
“What happened to Leak!?!”
“WHAT HAPPENED TO LEAK???”
You have to take a leak? (Sorry. Again.)
Leak? Who’s this Leak guy? Oh, you mean Leak Pohlups, Baby Sailor, who we encountered in my last post back on 5/11/18 “A YOUNG MAN AND THE SEA-THE SAGA OF LEAK POHLUPS, BABY SAILOR”. Yeah, we need to talk about ol’ Leak, don’t we?
Now it so happens that I am a voracious reader…I read in the mornings before I go to work if there’s time; I read at all meals, the newspaper online during breakfast and a book propped up next to my plate at lunch and dinner, and EVERY night before I go to sleep for 30 to 60 minutes, minimum. I don’t watch TV other than occasional sporting events and a few movies every month on TCM. I have hobbies, but mostly…I read.
I have a library of about 1000 volumes, the majority of which I have read at least once, and truly, I have no problem re-visiting a book several times, perhaps many times. (I have a friend who didn’t understand that, until I asked him how many times he’d seen Star Wars: Episode IV-A New Hope.) There’s always a new idea, or a new slant that I get each time I read a particular book, something I didn’t see or understand previously. Plus I’ve run out of room for new ones, so I’m stuck.
So about three weeks ago I finished whatever tome I had been reading at the time and went looking for the next treasure. Look look look, look look look, up and down and across the rows of book-spines, hunting for something that catches my fancy.
You guys remember Peter Benchley? Yeah, the guy who wrote the novel Jaws. Benchley wrote that one plus at least two other novels that I thought were pretty good, both of which I have in “the library”…one was a very funny and yet sobering (pardon the pun) book called Rummies, all about a big-time New York book editor and his battle with alcohol addiction and his tale of the thirty days he spends in a fictitious re-hab center. The other is called Beast, and it’s sort of a Jaws knock-off, all about a monster Architeuthis, or giant squid, that terrorizes the island of Bermuda, much like the great white shark and the island of Amity in his more famous work. (The word “amity” is from the Burmese amitafriendinhooten and translates to “You’re going to need a bigger boat.” See below, right there.)
It had been many years since I had read Beast, so I honestly didn’t remember how it went or how it ended, i.e., how “they” finally kill the giant squid…I’d even forgotten that it featured one. And I am completely comfortable in admitting that what I knew previously about giant squids you could put in a thimble and still have room to spare, other than I don’t want one in my pool.
Now I’m not squeamish to any great extent, but the more I read about Architeuthis and its giant eyeballs, the size of footballs, or its chitinous beak that hooks to a point and is used to rip and tear its prey, or the two yards-long testicles that are covered with suction cups that have a bony “hook” in the middle, to grasp its prey and draw it in, or its ink sac, whose spray is used to confuse a predator, of which there are few, or about the propulsion system that allows it to reach speeds of 75,000 MPH or even its giant size, estimated to be upwards of one hundred feet long and weighing in excess of 30 bajillion tons, yeah, the more I read about this animal…
…the more uncomfortable I got with the whole idea. And FYI, I had already written about Leak and the giant squid, Episode One, before I pulled down Benchley’s Beast…one of those rare times when something really was a coincidence. It was also much too late to start over.
(Phone rings in background)
“Yes, Tammie, what is it?” (It was Tammie Von Wetzel, my first mate, who monitors/spellchecks my posts in real time.)
“They’re called what?”
“And what did I call them?”
“Yeah, that’s no good…I’ll fix that right away. Thanks.” (I hate it when she does that.)
Excuse me, that word above was supposed to be “TENTACLES”…my error. (Shit.)
So where does that leave Leak Pohlups, Baby Sailor, who, along with the R U Kidding and its stalwart crew, including yours truly, was about to be menaced by a giant squid when last we saw them? Has cruel fate overcome our hero? Did the gargantuan beast attack and eat the ill-fated vessel and all aboard as a snack before bedtime? Are they royally screwed?
Well, the squid apparently decided that the Kidding wasn’t worth eating after all and veered off at the last minute and was last seen heading back into the murky depths, probably ending up in Cleveland. I shared an uneasy laugh with the crew about our close call and then returned to my quarters to bang out Toccata and Fugue in D Minor on my in-cabin pipe organ. And Leak? He jumped ship a few weeks after the squid incident, when we dropped anchor in the port of St. John’s in Antiqua, and was never heard from again…he was last seen leaving a dance club, arm in arm with an older woman (she was said to be almost five) as they headed for the Bay of Clams, carrying a bottle of rum and a bag of Cheetos.
Accordingly, this story is therefore prematurely terminated, due to the author’s unease with one of the secondary characters, who happens to be a humongous underwater creature that can rip your limbs off or swallow you whole, depending on his/her mood, stinks of ammonia (true), has about ten gazillion teeth, a poor attitude and doesn’t play well with others.
But besides all that, damn nice guy.
Can’t wait to work with him again.
Love and Jules Verne,