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You’re A Giant Squid. Can You Fight And Defeat A Boat?

Ahh, the ocean.

What a lovely place to be.

You bask in the cool waters of the ocean, spending your whole days saying “Ahhhh.” Sometimes, when you love being in the ocean so much, you even throw a few extra H’s in there, and say “Ahhhhhhhhhhh.” You do this for a few weeks, until suddenly, a thought occurs to you:

For the first time in your life, you contemplate your existence. You look around, and notice that compared to you, everything else is tiny. You begin to feel an overwhelming sense of pride. Of all the things in the ocean, you are the biggest.

Yes. You are a giant squid. This is what you look like.

You think about what a beautiful squid you are.

“Wow oh wow,” you think to yourself. “Good squid. Handsome squid.

You love to be a giant squid!

You are a beautiful squid. You never fight a boat—you never even see one. You spend the rest of your squid life relishing in your squid beauty.

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You’re right. You are essentially a hotdog with limp noodles hanging from you. You are horrible to look at.

You thrash your disgusting tentacles around in the water until you tucker yourself out. All the movement creates a minor tsunami, killing 40,000 people in Japan. You take heart in knowing that while you may not be the best-looking thing in the ocean, you are certainly the biggest. You feel a bit better.

You take heart in the fact that while you may not be the best-looking thing in the ocean, you are certainly the biggest. You gleefully swirl your hideous tentacles around, knowing that true beauty lies within. All the movement creates a minor tsunami, killing 40,000 people in Japan. You feel amazing.

Now that you know what you are, you’re ready to do what a giant squid does best: swim around the ocean looking for things to conk your head on. You want to conk your giant dumb squid head against everything until your basal ganglia fall out and you die. You can’t help it—such is your nature.

You begin to repeatedly smash your head into the sand at the bottom of the ocean.

You smash your head into the sand some more. God, it’s good.

Suddenly, a shadow passes over you.

The pit you’re bashing into the sand grows larger and larger, and you hear something deep inside you start to rattle.

“Smash smash smash,” you sing to yourself.

“Smash and conk, conk and smash.

To me now it is time for smash and also next week.

Conk squid head on government holiday.

No day off for squid of me.

Smash supreme.”

This song has no real rhythmic pattern or structure to speak of, but it makes you happy to sing to yourself anyway.

You give your enormous squid head one last smash and fully dislodge your basal ganglia, dying on the spot. The Italian Coast Guard fishes your dead body out of the sea and turns you into calamari for its Michelin-starred Italian Coast Guard restaurant. It doesn’t batter and fry you, so customers are kind of underwhelmed. In a scathing review, a critic writes that your texture leaves something to be desired.

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You look up, and see a dark object passing overhead.

That’s a boat. According to international sea law, there can only be one boat in the ocean at any given time. This is the one and only boat that’s in the ocean.

Yes.

You swim up to the boat to get a closer look at the boat. From down below, it looked small, but now that you’re closer to the surface…

Unfortunately, it’s true: This boat is big. It’s husky. It’s curvy all over. It is, in fact, the one thing in the ocean that’s bigger than you.

Feelings of inadequacy flood you as you realize that you’re tiny little peanuts compared to the boat. Your self-esteem plummets. How could you have ever taken pride in being the biggest? This boat is so much bigger, and it doesn’t even seem like it’s trying. It’s effortless. How does it do that?

You berate yourself for ever thinking you were anything special. Now that you’re looking at it, you notice that the boat also has a beautiful wooden undercarriage. Of course it does. This boat has everything.

The boat floats there, continuing to be big, taunting you with its general largeness.

“Good boat. Big boat.” You compliment the boat.

The boat just floats there, ignoring your compliment.

“Bad boat.” You say to the boat, pointing to it with your tentacles.

“Big squid. Pretty squid.” You lie, pointing to yourself.

The boat just floats there, completely unfazed.

You break off a piece of coral and put it on top of your head, like a fashionable hat.

“Très chic,” you explain to the boat.

You swim around below the boat, giving it a view of your fabulous coral hat from all angles. The boat continues to bob on the surface, unimpressed.

Suddenly, something falls into the water—it’s a craft services table full of finger foods. You hear an uproar coming from above the water as deli meats and sliders rain down all around you. There is no doubt about it: The boat is hosting some sort of lavish Hollywood movie shoot.

The boat has upstaged you once again. No one has ever hosted a lavish Hollywood movie shoot on you.

Your gills burn in shame as you rip off your coral hat in disgust. How could half-rate coral ever hope to hold a candle to a checkered plastic tablecloth and cubed cheese platter? You’ll never impress a boat that big.

The boat’s engines start up, and it begins to move. You hear the laughter of Hollywood elites as it speeds off toward the horizon, mocking you.

Emotions bounce around inside you. You feel them all: anger, fury, madness, bad feelings, the grumblies, and red pain. You feel a few extra ones, too: hot hot heat, nausea of the brain, O’Callahan’s folly, and the grumblies (lite).

All these disparate emotions are too much for your squid body to handle, enormous though it may be. You need to do something to blow off steam.

You try to calm down, but it’s to no avail. Emotions are bouncing around inside you, like a bunch of air hockey pucks on an air hockey table. You feel them all: anger, fury, madness, bad feelings, the grumblies, and red pain. You feel a few extra ones, too: hot hot heat, nausea of the brain, O’Callahan’s folly, and the grumblies (lite).

All these disparate emotions are too much for your squid body to handle, enormous though it may be. You need to do something to blow off steam.

Well, well, well. You thought you could use therapy to fix your feelings? News flash: Therapy is expensive. You can’t afford therapy. And even if you could, it doesn’t work. At all.

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You swim after the boat, tentacles curled into tentacle fists. You’re going to fight this boat, and what’s more, you’re going to win. You can feel it in your skeletal support system: Defeating this boat is your destiny.

Well done! You chose to fight the boat and lose, and you accomplished your goal perfectly.

As you were swimming after the boat, it occurred to you that your anger was probably misplaced. It wasn’t the boat’s fault that it was so big and so fast—it couldn’t help it, the same way you couldn’t help being the second biggest and second fastest. Also, it was going much faster than you. You couldn’t keep up with it. But mainly the first thing.

To fight a boat like that, hypothetically speaking, you’d probably need a pretty strong motivation.

You check out the boat’s wake, and what do you know, it’s absolutely enormous. Just more confirmation that this boat is better than you at everything. Do you hate it, love it, or just want to be it? It’s hard to tell.

You notice that pages of what look like a script for a lackluster movie sequel have flown off the back of the Hollywood boat, mixing with the deli meat in the water. If only you could read.

It would take too much time.

You go belly-up, pretending you’re not the second largest thing in the ocean, but rather, a neglected house fish. You imagine an indulgent life of eating pellets until your owner goes on a six-day wellness retreat in Tucson and leaves you to slowly starve to death.

Wish dead, you think to yourself, dramatically. Wish never born.

You sigh loudly, hoping to elicit sympathy from a passing pelican.

“Any life better than this life,” you groan. The pelican appears to be unmoved.

You swim through the ocean, trying to move on from the whole boat incident.

Oh god. Oh what the hell. What is that thing?

“One time I went above water and got stung by a million bees!” the creature says.

Makes sense.

“GLARBALARBALARBALRB.”

“GLARB LARB.”

“Howdy.”

Oh god, it’s some turtle. He looks like the kind of guy to really talk your ear off about about all his lame hobbies.

You pretend not to see the turtle. This doesn’t work, mainly because your eyes are enormous.

You open your squid beak to say hi, and a loud screech emerges. “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE,” you bellow, sending a high-pitched sound all the way to Japan, rendering anyone on the beach who was still alive completely deaf.

“Hey there. Want to hear about my many fascinating hobbies?” the turtle asks.

You open your squid beak to say no, and emit a second high-pitched “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE,” deafening any living person in Japan who had just arrived at the beach in the past 30 seconds.

The turtle interprets this as an unequivocal yes.

“This is one of my favorite things to collect,” the turtle says. “I love it because it has six holes, which reminds me of the six ways that turtles have sex: shell on, shell off, shell to the side, in public, underwater, and threesome.”

You frantically search the ocean for something to conk your head against. You see a North Korean missile floating by, and an oil rig doing some deep-sea drilling.

“Of course, sometimes I encounter a plastic loop that has been cut through each hole, and then I can’t grab on to it, and that makes me sad,” the turtle drones on.

You conk your head on the North Korean missile, and hear a tinny speaker deep inside the missile activate: “Mount Rushmore is overrated!” says a voice in Korean, which you just now realize you understand perfectly. The missile floats innocuously away.

“If I could invent a new way for turtles to have sex, it would be while smoking a cigarette,” the turtle says. “They don’t let me invent those kinds of things, but if they did, that’s what I would invent. I just thought you should know.”

The oil rig immediately explodes, cascading the annoying sea turtle in sticky black oil.

“I seem to be dying from sludge now,” says the turtle. “I only got to do two of the ways turtles have sex, but that’s pretty good, considering there are only six total.”

That worked incredibly well. You are free from the annoying turtle.

Hmm.

You swim down, down, down.

Down some more.

Getting pretty dark now.

A voice echoes out from the distance. It’s a submarine, which is like a boat, but different, legally speaking.

“Hello,” the submarine voice says.

“Well, hello there, giant squid! I’m TV’s James Cameron,” says TV’s James Cameron. “I’m in the Mariana Trench right now because this is where I go when I’m feeling happy. You see, I love the new movie I’m filming: Titanic 2: Titanic In Japan. I’ve got a great cast and a great crew, but most of all, I have an amazing and talented boat that’s the star of my production! The movie wouldn’t be possible without the boat, which is why I love the boat oh-so-much. It’s just great! Things sure are looking up for James Cameron.”

You fall head-over-tentacles in love with James Cameron, Hollywood’s hottest and most eligible divorcee.

“Okay! And I love the boat!”

James Cameron’s submarine takes a nosedive and disappears even deeper into the trench. He’s so dreamy. Maybe if you can think of a way to get the boat out of the picture, then he would focus all his attention on you instead.

You begin to explore the ocean, looking for a way to sink the boat and win over James Cameron’s heart for good. Suddenly, you happen upon an underwater shipwreck.

Not exactly. This is a different boat. It belonged to pirates, but the pirates wanted to test out their cannons without hitting anything, so they fired them straight up, and then the cannon balls fell down and punctured a bunch of holes in the ship, and it immediately sank.

“FREEZE, PUNK!” Comes a voice from behind you.

“No, not you,” says the voice, annoyed. “The boat.”

You turn around and see a scuba diver armed with an assault weapon.

“My name’s agent Mark Baxter, and I’m a member of the international sea police. This boat is under arrest for not having the proper permits to be in the ocean.”

Seems like the international sea police take this whole permit thing very seriously.

“By the way, very cool that you’re a giant squid. I’ve got a lot of friends who are giant squids, and they’re some of the greatest ocean dwellers I know. One fact about giant squids is that a giant squid’s eye is the size of a volleyball.”

Maybe it’s this thing.

“Freeze again, punk!” a second agent says, swimming up to the boat. “Oh hey, a giant squid! Look how big its eyeballs are!”

Um, wow. This guy is…a lot. Also, it’s like.…obviously? Big eyes are kind of part and parcel of the whole being-a-giant-squid thing? So maybe take it down a notch?

“Yes, its eyes are the size of a volleyball, to be exact!” says the first (better) diver.

You don’t ask the divers about volleyball, and miss your one chance to do so. You spend the rest of your life regretting the fact that you never asked what volleyball was when you had the chance. The rest of your life is only three minutes long, because the overwhelming curiosity immediately kills you.

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“Freeze again, punk!” a second agent says, swimming up to the boat. “Oh hey, a giant squid! Look how big its eyeballs are!”

Um, wow. This guy is…a lot. Also, it’s like…obviously? Big eyes are kind of part and parcel of the whole being-a-giant-squid thing? So maybe take it down a notch?

“Yes, its eyes are the size of a volleyball, to be exact!” says the first (better) diver.

Well, it looks like you messed up big time. You just couldn’t resist not asking about volleyball again, could you? You deserve to reap what you’ve sown.

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“A volleyball is the ball used to play the sport of volleyball, which is a game enjoyed by humans, primarily above ground.”

Knowledge of volleyball floods your basal ganglia. You understand that people like to be on dry land while clothed in swimming outfits as they smash your eyeball back and forth to each other across the single greatest weapon in the world: a net. You know so much about volleyball that there’s no room left in your brain to know about anything else, and you forget where you are. You forget what you are. You forget that the divers are there. You still remember that whole incident with the boat.

“Pretty neat, huh?” the first agent says.

You wave your mighty tentacles, terrifying the agents. They shoot upwards. “Oh noooooooooo…We have the beeeeeeeends…” you hear them cry as they hurtle toward the surface of the water at a medically inadvisable speed. Hey, that gives you an idea!

You swim down to the bottom of the ocean floor, then use your tentacles to torpedo yourself upwards, blasting past the bends-riddled agents. You fly up and out of the water.

You look around you and see an airplane is confessing love.

Aww, that’s pretty nice.

Woah, okay there. Didn’t expect the plane to get religious, but that’s cool.

All right, looks like the plane’s really committing here.

So the plane wants to marry God and Jesus. Seems like kind of a personal moment. Better look away.

You look down, and see the ocean far below you.

You plummet back down into the water, smacking up all your tentacles real bad.

You swim down to the bottom of the ocean floor, then use your tentacles to torpedo yourself upwards at an angle, blasting past the agents who are positively overcome with the bends. You shoot up and out of the water, sailing in a graceful arc over the ocean below.

You execute a flawless flip. Hell yeah.

You do a second flip, even better than the first. Awesome!

You pushed your luck by doing one flip too many, and God struck you down for your hubris. Let this be a lesson in temperance.

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You fly humbly through the air, crash-landing on a beach filled with dead people. You notice that everyone on the beach who is alive seems to be incredibly deaf. You are in Japan now.

You are in Japan in a major way. No one could argue that you’re not in Japan right now. Hey, while you’re here, you should try to find something to help you sink the boat, the apple of your beloved James Cameron’s eye.

Yep, it doesn’t get much more being-in-Japan than it does right here.

Wow, it’s the fabled Japanese Helmet of Promise! This is an enormous helmet that adds +10 attack and +5 dexterity to anyone who’s wearing it. It was made when two scientists in Japan got bored of creating robots who could beat humans at chess and decided to make a robot who could beat humans at making large helmets. This is the helmet the robot came up with—the largest helmet known to man.

You add the helmet to your inventory and head through a bamboo forest as you make your way back to the ocean. Wow, what a realistic and scenic trip to Japan this has been! Just like you always imagined it would be.

“Howdy,” this man says. He’s totally blocking the ocean.

“Me? Well, I just moved to Japan. Yeah, I got the whole idea for it after watching this amazing movie called Spirited Away. Have you ever heard of it? It’s pretty far out. Anyway, I’m super into Japanese culture now, in a way that’s totally normal and not weird. Also, I’m deaf on account of being on the beach when something incredibly loud and bad-sounding happened about 20 minutes ago.”

“Yep, just your average guy moving to Japan for reasons that I’m not going to explain but you can just trust are the reasons that anyone else would move here. Definitely not because of gross weird ideas I have about women or anything. Well, I’m going to go practice swinging my six mid-priced katanas around talk to you later bye.”

You try to leave without killing him, but your conscience won’t let you.

What do you want to say when you’re killing him?

You sound incredibly badass as you kill him and shuffle back to the ocean. You inhale a deep breath of water. Ahhh, it feels good to be back in the ocean again.

You bask in the cool waters of the ocean once more. A shadow passes over you once again.

It is.

You size the boat up, looking for its weak points, and find none. Ugh, it’s still so perfect. Suddenly, you hear a familiar voice.

“NYELLO!”

OMG, it’s James Cameron again! Wow, he’s so swoon-worthy.

“Oh, giant squid, TV’s James Cameron isn’t doing so well right now,” TV’s James Cameron says. “You see, my current movie, Titanic 2: Titanic In Japan, has run into a sort of production snafu. My special-effects crew is entirely out of commission due to them all getting killed by a tsunami or deafened by a loud squid shriek while on location in Japan. Now I don’t know how I’m going to achieve my ultimate effect, which is of course getting the Titanic 2 to sink, just like the Titanic 1 did in my film Titanic 1: Titanic In The Middle Of The Atlantic. I’m doomed!”

“Boat, boat, boat,” is all you hear James Cameron say, as he drones on, dreamily. He just can’t stop talking about the boat, can he? You can hardly blame him. The boat is pretty special looking, even from here.

You begin to conk your head against the boat in a jealous rage, trying to sink it so that you might be the sole object of James Cameron’s affections.

Conk, conk, conk goes your head against the boat’s exterior. But the boat is too strong, and your helmetless head far too soft. Your basal ganglia fall right out of your head due to all the conking, and you die on the spot, never winning James Cameron’s love, or even his lust.

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You have one large helmet.

You begin to conk your head against the boat in a jealous rage.

Conk, conk, conk goes your helmeted head against the boat’s exterior. It seems like it’s working—debris is starting to fall from the boat into the water around you. But you can also feel your basal ganglia begin to get worn out from all the conking. The scientific basis for this is that even football players can still get CTE while wearing helmets.

You send one last conk in the boat’s direction, and it works! The boat gives a shudder, and starts to sink. You also give a (less epic) shudder, and start to sink (in not as cool of a way). Your basal ganglia have been pushed past the point of no return, and your quest to kill the boat has also ended in you accidentally conking yourself to death. James Cameron quickly forgets about you and moves on to something more alive.

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A person, a veggie platter, and a piece of paper all float in the water.

It’s got a lot of cauliflower left. No one ever likes the cauliflower.

It’s Elle Fanning, the star of Titanic 2: Titanic In Japan. Bit of a controversial casting choice. Hollywood should probably not have whitewashed Titanic 2.

It’s a pretty official-looking piece of paper. If only you could read…

You didn’t ask nicely, and as a result, you didn’t get to learn to read. Let this be a lesson in manners.

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Okay, but quickly.

Knowledge of how to read floods your basal ganglia. You know it all: letters, words, syntax, the difference between a comma and a semicolon. You master every single written language. Good job, squid!

“THIS CONTRACT BETWEEN THE INTERNATIONAL SEA COUNCIL (“ISC”) AND THE TITANIC 2 (“BOAT”) HEREBY PERMITS “BOAT” TO BE IN THE OCEAN INSOFAR AS THIS CONTRACT IS PRESENT IN UNDOCTORED FORM.”

“FREEZE, LARGE PUNK!” Comes a voice from behind you. It’s the international sea police! Recovered from the bends!

“We recently recovered from the bends, and we’re definitely not in the mood for any law-breaking boats. So, please produce your boat permit, and we’ll be on our way,” says the second agent, whose name you never caught.

The Titanic 2 does not produce a boat permit.

The agents open fire, launching heat-seeking underwater missile after heat-seeking underwater missile at the boat. Already weakened by your conks, it sinks.

“And that’s a wrap on Titanic 2: Titanic In Japan!” shouts James Cameron jubilantly, signaling for the underwater cameramen to cut. “I got the perfect shot to end my movie, and it was all thanks to you, giant squid. You’re the best! And not to mention, pretty cute as well…”

“Hey, um, giant squid? Would you maybe want to be my date to the red-carpet premiere of Titanic 2, which is premiering on the same day as Avatar 2, Avatar 3, Avatar 4, and my biopic, James Cameron: A Life Of Being Married And Then Not But Still Looking For Love And Hopeful That It May Be Just Around The Corner?” Asks James Cameron bashfully. “They’re all premiering on the same day because I decided that would be convenient.”

You did it! You sank the boat, won James Cameron’s heart, got a producing credit on Titanic 2, and even learned to read along the way. You are officially the biggest thing in the ocean, and, once you marry James Cameron, you’ll also be the most married thing in the ocean. Congratulations!

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