Went for a walk. Apartment manager saw me in the lobby. He said, “Where are you going?”
“You know,” I replied, “Beautiful night, a boy’s fancy turns to spring.”
He just gave me a look like I was a strange sound his car was making because the night was actually kind of ugly.
The night was so ugly it couldn’t get laid if it was the King of France. I liked it. I thought it needed a friend since it couldn’t get laid. I’m not a chick so I figured the night and I might get along no matter how ugly it was. Sometimes when things are ugly they’re only doing it for attention because they need a friend. I headed out, soundward.
I went down my cross street to the piers. At the end of the street was the first place I ever went to in Seattle when I was ten, like majik. I went to the door but it was locked: Closed. The girl who was in there closing up was so pretty it made my legs get weak. She looked Asian. She was 사팔뜨기, or sa-pal-duh-gi. That means cross-eyed in Korean. It just made her foxier. I think she was Inuit or something local though. She was too pretty to be Japanese or Korean. I thought she smiled at me through the window but I guess she was just uncomfortable because I wanted to go in the store and it was closed. Maybe she had closed ten minutes early. That’s what the smile looked like, “I know I closed ten minutes early but you can’t come in. Maybe if I smile at you you won’t call the store tomorrow to ask why we closed ten minutes early and get me in trouble.” She was that pretty. Even without the smile I wouldn’t tattle on her. Not if she closed an hour early and I needed a mummy for my party that evening.
I went to the pier across from the aquarium. I think it’s a little absurd to have an aquarium on the ocean or sound even. It’s like having seagulls in Kansas. Aquariums should be for people who don’t get to see water much. I guess I’m just mad because there are no aquariums in New Mexico.
When I walked out there I smelled some pot. There was a group of people smoking it. I thought of my friend, CM (Chronic Motherfucker from before). He would have run at those people and said, “Give up the fucking weed now or I’ll kill ya! Booga-booga!” He’s as big as me and plenty tough so they would have to give up the weed. Then CM would have tried to get me high for awhile but I don’t smoke and he doesn’t drink. It’s kind of sad to be friends when you can’t share things that are important to you.
Last time I was at the aquarium I stayed for a long time at the tank of the giant octopus. The Puget Sound has the biggest kind of octopus in the world. That’s what the tank says. I tried to call Jacques Cousteau to verify this but it turns out he’s dead. Leaving me without a single living person I can look up to, the lousy frog. The octopus has the highest development of the optic nerve besides man and maybe dolphins. The optic nerve is part of the brain, really. An octopus can solve problems and learn quickly without the aid of electricity which some mammals seem to require as a teaching aide. They are cousins to clams (like we’re cousins to cows) but I think they’re probably smarter than say, a three year-old person. People kill them and put them in tanks in spite of this. Asians eat them alive, still squirming on the plate.
This octopus in the tank is usually white. They can change colors though. It breathes plainly. You can see it taking in water to run through its gill sacks and then pushing it out. Just like a balloon breathing through a silk tube.
I never felt holy in a church. Not for one second and I’ve been in every famous church in New Mexico, England, Spain, Italy, and France too. Notre Dame is pretty and the Duomo is impressive and restful and the Pope is a nice man but I didn’t feel holy. Just a little chilly. Big churches are always cold I’ve noticed.
I felt holy watching that octopus vein take blood to its octopus heart. Every four seconds that vein would rise and fall in a single pulse like an orbit. Like a yo-yo doing an Around-the-World through a white stocking in slow motion. I watched that vein rise and fall for fifteen minutes because it felt holy.
Marine biology is not widely discussed at my university so I cannot report to you the MO of octopus copulation. It ought to be enthusiastically sexy though. Eight arms and all.
I like the aquarium because I can see three year-old children looking at a giant octopus and calling dogfish, “Sharks,” because their parents don’t know the difference either even though there’s a picture of a dogfish with the word “Dogfish” written below it right in front of the glass. Dogfish are a kind of shark anyway so I ought to cut them a break but kids appreciate knowing the straight dope instead of being half right. Besides a stingray is kinda, sorta a shark too but you’d sound like an asshole calling a stingray a shark. Their parents should tell them, “Those are dogfish.”
I went to the piers that lousy night because there are octopuses under there and I wanted to feel holy. I wrote octopuses and that’s what I meant. I didn’t write octopi because that’s not even ancient Greek, it’s just stupid. And octopodes isn’t English and the ancient Greeks were a bunch of dunderheads. That’s right, dunderheads. Plato, Zeno, all of ’em, even Aristotle. One of them measured the Earth accurately and knew it was round a thousand years before that idiot Columbus couldn’t look up a damn reference. The vikings had been to North America in 1004 and wrote it in several books and put it in libraries but the Spanish and Portuguese couldn’t be troubled to read. They still can’t. All the good literature in Spanish and Portuguese is from the Americas. Another Greek measured the speed of light pretty damn accurately considering he used nothing but lanterns. Aristotle was the only philosopher who ever had the balls to say, “Whatever is real exists and can’t be something else.” Every other philosopher since has been railing against that idea which is the only good idea that any philosopher ever had except maybe for Epicurus and the Cynics and look where that went. They had all these great ideas and look what’s left. Nothing but a lot of bad bank façades, a lot of boring plays and the most useless letter in English: X (Chris Carter aside). Fuck the ancient Greeks. That’s what I say. They could have left one good translation of Egyptian. They could have left written instructions that statues were supposed to be made of marble and painted. Fuck ’em for embarrassing the Renaissance masters. Fuck ’em for being ALL THAT and letting it go for a bunch of intercity politics. Fucking Sparta.
It’s stupid anyway. What good does knowing octo means eight do you? It’s just confusing because October is not the eighth month. No wonder I couldn’t learn the fucking months. The teachers thought I was dyslexic or stupid or something. I was just trying to make everything fit.
When I was standing on the docks, hoping there were octopuses with many veins dreaming of spiny lobsters beneath me. A girl came and stood on the pier near me.
“I’m straight,” I warned her, meaning sexually, not soberwise, though I was both at the time.
She backed off carefully with her hand on some Capstan in her pocket and I had the octopuses all to myself again. I gave the night my full attention.