Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Down by the riverside.
Last night, having worked relatively late, I returned home in the rain and I needed to walk. I kissed my daughter hello, then put the leash on my dog and headed out to the river.
The river at night is deep and melancholy but if you listen closely, over the roar of speeding automobiles you can hear it ripple and splash. It soothes me. Makes me feel like I am not alone in the world.
Up ahead, uncharacteristically, despite the dark and the rain, was a cluster of men. A flurry of Puerto Rican Spanish drew me closer.
When I arrived at the group, I immediately knew what the commotion was about. A man in the center of the group held--tentatively--a fishing rod--a rod that was bent in half under the tug of some undersea leviathan.
As the fisherman tried to bring in his line, the Puerto Ricans speculated. "A tire," said one. "El muerte, a dead body," said another. "A shopping cart," said a third. The fisherman, oblivious to all this speculation just kept bringing in his line.
At last, after a good 15 minutes and some puzzled looks from my dog, something broke the surface of the water. That something was flailing and struggling like a wrestler avoiding a pin. The men yanked the creature out of the water. It proved to be a giant squid, its tentacles waving and ink squirting.
One Puerto Rican grabbed an arm of the squid and like it was a cave woman dragged it across the macadam to a grassy area away from the water. The squid began to settle, losing energy, fighting for breath. It looked at us with its giant saucer-sized eyes.
And then, well then, something strange happened.
"George," it said.
The Puerto Ricans turned to me. My dog let out a bark.
"George. Make the logo bigger. You have to dial-up the branding or the spots won't work."
I moved through the group of men and knelt down by the squid. I knew I was facing not just a squid, but an Oracle. "But what about my integrity?" I asked. The squid paused, gave a squirt of ink and, his breath expiring, went on.
"Don't fight it man." By now the creature's voice was barely audible. "Life's too short."
I gave my dog's leash a gentle pull and I walked home.
Posted by George Tannenbaum at 5:06 AM