People come into the bookstore all the time trying to get me interested in what THEY’RE interested in. Yawn. And Sigh.
Either they have written a book and want me to sell it. Kudos.
Or they are confused about why I don’t have the latest James Patterson. Because he is the devil.
Or they have a shedload of questions about the Bermuda Triangle, including the best one ever, ‘What side of Bermuda is the triangle on?’
They don’t get that I bought a bookstore so I could tell slash sell them all the things that I’M interested in. Leeemeeeee. But first buy this book because it’ll change your life.
ANYHOOSIT, the worst category of all is the ‘Random Adventure I Had That I’m Going To Tell You All About So You’ll Tell Me I Should Write A Book.’
The older man came in looking like everybody’s papa. Belly hanging over some beige corduroys, some soft shoes that double as slippers, Bill Cosby sweater (we need a new name for this sweater since all the rape happened), some sort of kangol shaped peaked hat and carrying a rolled up newspaper. I would bet the 48$ left in my pension that the government hasn’t yet pyramid schemed away that his nickname will appear in quotes in his obituary, and it’ll be something like ‘Mangoseed or “Punchhat”.
The next thirty minutes would change my life forever.
“Good Afternoon Young Lady…”
“Good Afternoon… Can I help you find something?”
His eyes twinkling, he went right for it. “Well I have a story and I keep saying I’m going to write it down in a book. You probably won't believe me, but I assure you, every word is true..."
It sounded like he had told the story 8 million times, so practiced was that line. And if he’s recited this tale so frequently and still nary a book offer… sigh. Lucky me. “Is that so?”
“It’s about a sea monster, right here in Bermuda.”
My ears and spirit perked up immediately because I am OBSESSED with the Loch Ness Monster. There is this man who sold all his belongings and sacrificed his marriage and his entire well being in order to live on a camper van on the side of the loch and watch for Nessie.
*locks eyes with said man*
I see you.
So yeah… I was interested but played it cool. It could go off on the wrong tangent anytime. I grabbed my popcorn just in case though.
“Really? Sea Monster? Here in Bermuda??!!“
Because I didn’t have a tape recorder, and have drunk oodles of wine since that day, I cannot remember word for word our exchange. But this I know - I stared at him mouth agape as he told tale of a giant squid that he has seen on Bermuda beaches that has the ability to spit neurotoxins from its eyes and send shockwaves into its prey. That has a huge hooded cape it whips around its body like an evil villain. That opens its beak and lets out a piercing squeal that paralyses those within range. That lives deep down at 5000 feet and rips sperm whales to shreds.
I was here for all of it. Serve me more. Let me turn my plate around because there is a spot right here with space. *points* I’m circling back to the buffet line to get seconds of this entire tall tale. This gramps was serving up all manner of magic with his story-telling and I planned to sit cross-legged at his feet all afternoon and say in a singsong voice, “Tell me more Mr. Sea Monster Man.”
Suddenly he glanced at his watch, and realized he had to leave. Like a blur, as random as he arrived, he was gone. As he was walking out he turned back and said, “I’ve been researching, and the closest thing I’ve found to what I have seen, although what I saw was more lethal, is a Blanket Octopus.”
The first thing that came up was an article called Five Terrifyingly Advanced Ways Animals Know How To Kill. Guess who is number 1.
“The blanket octopus … uses its giant, built-in flowing cloak to dissuade potential predators by essentially convincing them that it's the ocean's Batman. And you know what's even crazier? It's not a bluff: The blanket octopus totally is the Dark Knight of the sea, in every sense of the title. It's ingenious, it's merciless and it is, in all likelihood, plain old balls-out crazy. And perhaps most Batmanny is the simple fact that, while the blanket octopus doesn't have any "powers" of its own, that doesn't stop it from jumping into the fight. Over the generations, the blanket octopus evolved an immunity to the poison of the man o' war, not because it was getting preyed on by that species, but so it could get in nice and close to the thing and rip off its poisoned tentacles, which it then carries around the ocean and uses to whip anything that looks at it sideways.”
Mother Nature. STOP WITH ALL DIS HUR FOOLISHNESS. What type of madness? Are you expecting me to believe that this creature tears off the stinging tentacles of a Portuguese Man o’ War, an oceanic assassin in its own right, and wields them as whips??? And it has a rahssclaahd cape!!
The rest of my day (life) was spent devouring any information I could find about the blanket octopus. I’ve watched all the youtube videos, found a blog that shows a small one was found in Bermuda, and memorized its Wikipedia page, my favourite part herewith:
"These species exhibit an extreme degree of sexual dimorphism. Females may grow to over 2 metres in length whereas the tiny males are at most a few centimeters long. The males have a specially modified third right arm which stores sperm, known as hectocotylus. During mating, this arm detaches itself and crawls into the mantle of the female to fertilize her eggs. The male dies shortly after mating. "
Do you know what this is saying?? Let me break it down for you. The male, which is the size of a caterpillar, has a third arm, full of sperm, that detaches and CRAWLS into the female, which is the size of a basketball player. The sperm arm crawls. On its own. INTO THE FEMALE. Then he dies. Freaking. Out. #spermarm
Guys. *throws self on floor and rends my garments* This is a REAL thing.
I’ve never seen Papa Sea Monster since… When I posted the tale, nobody believed in a souped up Ninja version of the Blanket Octopus, but hearing about the ACTUAL creature sent shockwaves (not the neurotoxin type). Are we really sharing the planet with something this preposterous? What else is out there? Why don’t we know things? Shouldn’t there be a haiku about this?
Creature from the Deep
Venomous Tentacles? Damn.
#conspiracytheoryps The doctor that wrote that blog post is the same one that Papa Sea Monster told me he’d spoken to about what he’s seen. I don’t know if it’s relevant. But now you have all the facts.