In Search of the Giant Squid in All the Wrong Waters: Week 37
Friday, September 12, 2014, 7:53am
Today, I searched for the giant squid in Little Dollar Lake, which afforded me the opportunity to contemplate the intersection of doll and dollar, of plastic neck and paper torso, of pyramids with eyes, and eyes that blink like those of an actual child, and have human hair lashes besides. For bait, I used the cracked-off pinky from my baby-doll-in-evening gown toilet paper sheath that I inherited from my grandmother, along with her sphere of fused-together soap slivers from forty years worth of bathing. All the colors were soft. These things cost me no dollars, but a whole series of bad dreams, and a decent lather. I cast and heard a whimper in the pines—some squirrel asphyxiating on a piece of red chewing gum. In the branch over it, someone had tied a clapper-less bell. The wind blew and the bell swung, but nothing rang, and the squirrel fell. The pine needles on the forest floor seemed surprised, and made a run for it. My desire to personify the forest floor waned. So, I hummed to myself the fight song of Joachimsthal, Brandenburg—verses about the smells of ancient gymnasiums, glass foundries, castles that scare the birds. The litany of Bohemian mine disasters. The coda about the silver coin that yielded the name of our currency. It’s an erratic song, but it excited my biceps, and I held onto the rod as something pulled it from the deep. Whatever it was, it wasn’t little, and I wanted to rip it in half, watch all the valuable stuff spill out from the inside—soap, eyelash, my mother’s tomato pin cushion, the scrap of egg-bread she forced me to hold in my mouth as she hemmed my pants. When she pricked me with the pins, I had the bread to scream into. I reeled in. I saw what I saw. The world gave in to ventriloquism. Without us, the doll never cries, it dummied. I gave voice to the dead squirrel. The bell made its commotion, but the beasts made its sound.