The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59418   Message #3652261
Posted By: Rapparee
19-Aug-14 - 10:03 PM
Thread Name: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
You'd see them sometimes when you'd go fishing, usually in the Spring but, sometimes, in mid-Fall. Thousands of them in the river, fighting to find the mouth of the creek at the headwaters of which they were born.

        Their colors — bright gray and brilliant red and deep green and what even looked like a flash of blue — would dazzle you on a sunny day as they leapt from the water, trying to get to their spawning grounds.

        Most wouldn't make it. They'd be eaten by the bears which gathered along the creek banks or be taken by eagles or, for many, exhaust themselves trying to make the spawning grounds and die in the attempt.

        Those that did make it would spawn and then try to run the gauntlet again to make it to open water -- some few made it, but most didn't. They left their egg stalks cemented to stones on the bottom of the creeks, and one person said that these deposits of eggs looked like gardens of flowers.

        Eventually the eggs would hatch and the squid larva would fight their way to the river, only to repeat the cycle some years later. It had been going on for thousands of years, this spawning of Architeuthis Mississipiensis gigans, the giant squid of the Mississippi, which everyone simply called "big squid."

        Boaters didn't like them. During spawning season or when a school of squid would appear on the surface there would be so many squid that boats couldn't run their motors without damaging the propellers. Fisherfolk didn't like them because they couldn't be eaten — it was said that they tasted like ammonia — although a few were used for bait. Barge operators didn't like them because it was said that REALLY big ones attacked barges at night, which really scared the crews even though no one was ever hurt.

        Gradually the numbers of squid declined. Some people said it was because of pollution, but most said that it was because the squid migrated elsewhere. Dam workers reported giant schools of squid moving downstream, and the New Orleans newspapers said that "immense numbers of squid" had passed the city on the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

        So the next year they were missing from Cedar Creek, just as they were missing from all of the creeks around town. And we missed seeing them. Like nearly everyone in town, we liked watching the squid as they made their journey upstream. Even people like boaters liked to watch the shoals of squid, their bodies turning pretty colors and their tentacles waving in the air.

        And of course that was the year the Walt Disney released the movie "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," which had a great scene in it about a fight with a giant squid. The same sort of squid that used to be around town in such great numbers was in a movie. A squid was a movie star, and all of them had left. Like all of the kids in town we were really disappointed that they were gone, but we thought that maybe the squid in the movie could have been one of ours.

        Then the movie came out and we found out that the squid was a bad guy that tried to sink the submarine. Nobody liked that. We knew that squid were pretty fish which didn't hurt anything except maybe barges at night, and even that wasn't proven. So after the first couple of days the movie closed because nobody went to see it.

        We hiked out to the Swamp the weekend after the movie closed. We were hoping to get some early dewberries so that Mom could make a dewberry pie for Sunday dinner. Naturally, we talked about the movie as we walked, our dewberry buckets in our hands. We each had two buckets, and in one of them was our lunch. Of course, we'd made jokes about which one was to be our "lunch bucket" before we'd left, and finally Mom had had enough and told us to go get the dewberries and, because we'd forgotten them, had tossed our lunches to us.

        But we talked about the movie and the submarine in it and about things under the sea and about the squid and how it had attacked the submarine and about how there weren't any squid around any more. Tony agreed with those who thought that the squid had left because of pollution and Ted thought that they had left because it was time for them to migrate and Martha thought that they'd left because they were angry about being made a bad guy in the movie and I thought that it might have been because of all of these reasons or maybe just because they wanted to move somewhere else for a while..

        Eventually we reached the Swamp. It was pretty much as we'd left it the weekend before: quicksand pools, dead trees, live trees, bushes, shrubs, logs, illigators, Spanish moss, muck, mud, dry land, flowers, lizards, musk ox, and all. Swamps don't change much if you leave them alone, and we liked that.

        Remembering the old saying that you should never ever pick dewberries on an empty stomach, we ate lunch and then set out for the dewberry patches. There were lots and lots of early dewberries, but you had to be careful because they grew next to quicksand pools and you could slip in pretty easily. Falling in a deep pool of quicksand -- and all of them were really, really deep -- could be a major annoyance.

         All of our left-hand buckets were filled and we'd just started on the right-hand buckets when Martha said, "What's that?" and pointed to the quicksand pool.

        "It's a big blue eye watching us," I replied. "Nothing to be alarmed about. Probably happens all the time, only you don't notice it."

        "Why would it be watching us?" asked Ted.

        "Maybe it's part of Santa Claus's surveillance system," opined Tony.

        "Maybe it's the Eye of the Swamp, watching to make sure we don't do anything bad," opined Ted.

        "Maybe it's a really, really big squid and it's going to try to capture and eat us," opined Martha.
        "Don't be silly," I replied. "All of the squid have left. And besides, there aren't any squid in quicksand poo....aaaawk!" And a great big tentacle wrapped itself around me and started slowly dragging me towards the quicksand.
        Quick as half a wink, Martha and Tony grabbed my feet and stopped my slide towards the quicksand.

        "What's a 'quicksand poo...aaawk'?" asked Ted.

        "You stupid stupid!" I exclaimed. "Help Tony and Martha hold me!"

         "Stupid! You called me stupid!" exclaimed Ted. "I've got the highest reading level in my class! So there!"

        "If you don't help us, Mike'll be dragged into that mouth," said Tony. And I looked and sure enough, there was a beak-like mouth in the quicksand, opening and closing with really nasty sounding clicks.

        "Maybe I'll tickle you, instead," said Ted. "That'd show Mike for calling me stupid."

        And he sat down on the ground with a thump.

        And another tentacle flashed out of the water and started to drag him to the quicksand!

        As he passed me, I grabbed his legs. Now I was holding onto Ted's legs while Martha and Tony were holding onto my legs, and all the while tentacles were drawing Ted and I toward Our Fate (if Tony or Martha let go).

        Just then, there was a great big jerk towards the quicksand and my legs were pulled from Tony and Martha's grips! Ted and I flew towards the Horror In The Quicksand!

        And just before Ted's head touched the quicksand, I managed to hook my right leg around a nice, big tree trunk! With another jerk, we stopped.

        Did you ever wonder what the rope feels like during a tug-of-war? Ted and I know from first-hand experience.

        For what seemed like hours we were pulled and jerked and tossed toward the quicksand. And for what seemed like centuries I hung onto that tree with my right leg.

        Tony and Martha got up and got some big sticks and started beating on the tentacles which held Ted and me.   They were forced back when other tentacles came out of the water and nearly caught them.

         "Oh no!" cried Tony. "Whatever shall we do?"

        "Oh no!" cried Martha. "Our brothers who just ate lunch with us are going to be lunch!"

        "I could let go of Ted's ankles," I said.

        "Oh no! Don't do that! I don't want to be et!" cried Ted.

        "I'm getting a cramp in the ankle that's holding us to the tree," I said.

        With that bit of news Tony and Martha jumped up and ran into the brush. They were back in just a couple of seconds, dragging a long length of grapevine. With that they proceeded to lash my leg to the tree, which let me relax my ankle just a little bit.

        Still, the thing was pulling and jerking us, trying to pull us free of the tree, and all of us knew that it might succeed. The grapevines would snap, I wouldn't be able to snag the tree again with my ankle, and then -- sluuuuuurrrrpppp! Chomp, chomp, chomp!

         "It seems to be awfully hungry," Ted panted. "I wish it could find something else to eat."

        And with that, Martha reached into one of the buckets, pulled out a handful of dewberries, and flung them right into the mouth in the quicksand! A couple sort of spattered to the side of the mouth, but a big, ugly tongue came out and licked them inside.

        With that, Tony too started throwing dewberries at the mouth. Both he and Martha missed much of the time, but that tongue would lick up the splattered dewberries. In fact, the tongue got to catching the dewberries while they were still in the air!

        All of this would have been as interesting as heck if Ted and I weren't still being pulled mouthward.

        And then, just as Martha and Tony were throwing the last of the dewberries into the mouth, the tentacles let us go!

        Ted and I flew backwards towards the tree I was tied to. I hit the tree first and then he landed on me.

         The eye and the mouth and the tentacles disappeared into the quicksand. A minute later there was a big bubble that came to the surface and broke with an "UUURPPP!" sound. Then smaller bubbles trailed off towards the other side of the quicksand pool and finally disappeared.

        "Well, that settled the left hand dewberries," I observed. "And we're going to have to pick quick if we're going to take home any at all."

        Ted got up and walked over to the buckets. I got up to follow him and fell down. Tony came over and untied the grapevine that had still tied my foot to the tree.

        "Wow! That was exciting!" I said.

        "Falling down often is," replied Tony.

        "No, no. The fight with whatever that was," I replied to his reply. "I think that must have been a big Big Squid. And I thought that they were all gone, too."

        "Well, whatever it was, it's gone now. And I don't think that I want to go over to the other side of the quicksand pool. But, maybe, hmmmm....I bet that there's a tunnel or something that connects this quicksand pool to another one and so on until you get to the river. I bet that's where whatever it was went, too. To the river," said Tony, in his longest statement thus far that day.

        "Here, Mike," said Ted. "I filled your buckets with dewberries because you saved me from being et." And he handed me two buckets full of dewberries!

        We quickly filled all of the buckets with dewberries again, and then we walked home. I had to walk with one foot in the gutter for quite a ways, but eventually my right leg returned to the same length as my left leg. Ted's legs never did return to the same length, and we had to sew strips of cloth around the bottom of his pants legs so that they'd be long enough to cover the tops of his socks (and no matter what he says, we didn't use lace ruffles).

        Mom was happy to see all of the dewberries we picked, and the next day we had dewberry pie. She also made a bunch of dewberry jam and jelly for the Winter. But that night we had carrots and caviar and croutons and crackers for dinner, and when Mom brought the calamari to the table Ted yelled, "PAYBACK!" and ate it all. Mom just looked at him and sighed, and got the cake for dessert.