Skip to content

Clarion Call #13: Octopus Fight!

April 2, 2011

A picture is worth a thousand words.  But you don’t have to write a thousand about this one.  As always, there is no “right” or “wrong” answer.  Just write whatever comes to mind when you look at this photograph, even if your brain goes on a wild tangent.  When it comes to creativity, “mental misbehavior” is a good thing.

Statue of Neptune stabbing an octopus!

There are only two rules for Clarion Calls:

  1. If you choose to try the assignment, do not read the comments section before you post yours.
  2. This is a critique-free zone, and that includes critique of your own offering.  Save your analytical skills for Mondays with Linda.

With that in mind, I invite all of you to give it a try.  At the end of the year, I have a special honor in mind for the person who most often posts an answer to our weekly Call.  So have fun, and stay inspired!

10 Comments leave one →
  1. April 2, 2011 12:16 pm

    Xerxes, illegitimate child of Medusa and Poseidon, was an angry, angry man. With his hair of snakes and his magic trident, he had power. He could summon giant squid from the depths of the ocean and make them vomit water. For some reason, no one in his home village appreciated his gift. It may have had something to do with the giant squids destroying homes and fishing ships as they squirmed through the village. It may have been the well smelling of rotting fish. Or it might have been the flood one hot summer day. Xerxes drank a bit too much wine and in a fit of drunken revelry, he attempted to summon as many squid as he could reach. Dozens of giant tentacled monsters answered his call, squirming their way through the village to the hill where he lay with his empty wineskin. Water flowed from their beaks at his command, inundating the village.

    The town elders climbed the hill, robes dripping squid water. Villagers crowded behind, screaming their rage as they brandished pitchforks.

    “Xerxes, you shall not be allowed to destroy our village again. This time you shall be punished, as is only fitting.” The head elder raised a mirror.

    Xerxes gazed at his reflection. He adjusted several of his snakes. “I’m gorgeous, I know.”

    The elder stamped his foot and swore.

    The giant squids waved tentacles behind Xerxes. He raised his trident. Water gushed from their beaks. The villagers washed down the hillside to their village in a wave of squid water.

    They held council that night. It was agreed that Xerxes must be stopped. The reek of dead, rotting squid filled the night air.

    “How shall we stop him?” An elderly woman stepped forth in council. “He is the son of a god and a monster. We cannot kill him without risking their wrath.”

    “We have asked him to leave our village, but he refuses to go.” The head elder tugged his white beard. “We must appeal to his parents for help in stopping him. We have worshipped Poseidon for many lifetimes. Perhaps he will hear our pleas.”

    The next day, the elders gathered on the seashore. They blew on their seashell trumpets. They waded in the waves along the beach. They called on Poseidon. But the god of the sea turned a deaf ear on the villagers.

    They assembled on the clifftops, appealing to the gorgon sisters. Medusa heard their cries. She emerged from her cave dwelling high atop a ledge. The veil covering her face fluttered in the breeze. “Xerxes is my son. It is only fitting that I punish him as I see fit.”

    The elders bowed. The villagers danced and sang their joy. No more squid water washing through the streets. No more tentacled monsters destroying their homes and gardens. No more drunken singing through the nights as the squid rotted around Xerxes. They showered flowers upon Medusa as she strode through their village.

    Xerxes lay upon the hilltop, naked as a babe. He clutched a wineskin to his chest, singing to a squid still squirming feebly.

    “Xerxes!” Medusa’s voice rang across the sun-baked herbs. “I have been summoned by the villagers. You shall be punished for your sins. You shall be turned to stone for nine years.” She raised a hand to the veil hiding her deadly face.

    “You shall not win so easily, mother.” Xerxes sprang to his feet, magical trident clutched in his hand. He pointed the barbed head at the squid struggling at his feet. “Bring forth water and wash this mob from my perch.”

    Water gushed from the squid’s beak. Medusa planted her feet on the rocky trail. She lifted her veil. Xerxes and the squid both froze, turned to stone by his mother’s angry gaze.

    The villagers cheered. They carried Xerxes and the squid to the village square where they constructed a fountain around the stone forms.

    None saw Medusa leave. She wiped a tear from under her veil as she climbed to her solitary lair high above the village.

    • Mishell Baker permalink*
      April 2, 2011 2:05 pm

      I am slightly sad that this character was left out of my mythology classes.

      • April 2, 2011 3:24 pm

        I was going to work the pigeons into the story, but it got a bit out of hand. I’m glad you enjoyed Xerxes. I may have to rewrite this story for an anthology.

  2. Theresa permalink
    April 3, 2011 4:02 pm

    “I swear to you by all the gods if you do not get this thing off my legs right now, I’m going to stab it through the head and have calamari for dinner.”

    “Oh Niko, he’s just happy to see you. Aren’t you, Oktopus mou?” She reached down and pulled the tentacled horror away and cuddled it. “He didn’t mean it. He would never eat you.”

    Niko rested his harpoon against the wall and sat at the table. “Try me. I’ve been fighting the sea all day. Poseidon wants his own back, and he’ll probably get it. He’s been spawning children with just about anything and everything so that we’re constantly overrun by demigods trying to impress their father.”

    “It just shows his desperation.” The octopus looked at opposite sides of the room, unaware of the state of current events. She took it over to the pool and let it slide into the water. “We took what was his because he was too weak. His day is long over, and that he tries to get children to fight his battles.”

    He looked warily at the pool, uncomfortable with flaunting their theft but confident that the God of the Sea would not be able to manifest in their home. He also wondered, briefly, if he could find a way to smuggle the octopus out of the house and toss it back into the sea without his wife noticing. It was because he thought Poseidon would want it back or be mollified; he just wanted to get rid of the bloody thing.

    • Mishell Baker permalink*
      April 3, 2011 4:11 pm

      Welcome back Theresa! You know, I’ve heard that octopi are very smart… but cuddly? Hmmm. 😉

  3. April 5, 2011 8:26 pm

    It was the middle of the day as he strolled past the statue.

    “Grand testament to our vanity, isn’t it?”

    “Oh no, Charles, I rather believe it is a greater, more symbolic representation of the nature of the eternal battle between good and evil, order and chaos, the divine and the demonic.”

    “No, I rather believe that it’s more a showing of how each of us wishes to rise up to be the great hero of our generation.”

    It went on and on and on.

    Naturally, he ignored them. Pseudo-intellectuals, each caressing one another’s overblown and over-inflated egos to the point of mental orgasm.

    And the truth?

    Bollocks to the truth, who was right never mattered more than who was heard. It seemed to him that the more convoluted and far-fetched the theories became, the more implausible they became, the more they would be accepted by these imbeciles.

    Mr. Occam would have a field day with these cretins.

    The group of “scholars” wandered away, off to some other sight in the city where they could further exercise their bloated brain-muscles.

    He stayed. His doughnuts weren’t finished yet.

    Doughnuts, now there was something to ponder about. These truly were testament to mankind’s vanity. Created of simple ingredients, fashioned to perfect taste, delicious, addictive, and ever so terrible for health. Yet mankind continued to eat them right up, pompous and proud, sure that heart-attacks were for other people, of course not himself, never himself. Until that last doughnut down the gullet caused a twitching in the left arm and a pounding in the chest. Until all vanity of immortality was swept away.

    Ah, but these people drove him to dark thoughts. And it all started out so good a day. Of course, he really didn’t need to worry about the doughnuts, a little mortal pleasure in an otherwise dreary immortal life.

    He could well remember when the statue was made. He remembered asking what it was for, and why it was being made. He was young then, still starry-eyed and idealistic, not the doughnut-eating cynic he was now. The answer?

    “Well, it looks pretty amazing doesn’t it?”

    No symbolism, no deeper hidden meaning, no nothing. Sure, there were stories about the figure, but deep epiphany-inducing secrets? You’d get as much from a Rambo movie.

    He chuckled, now there was an interesting thought. He might be sitting around, a thousand years from now, watching pseudo-intellectuals commenting on how Rambo was the ultimate symbol of good versus evil in those old days, and how people looked up to him as a deliverer from oppression. He’d still be there though, eating his doughnuts, watching the self-righteous cretins with their ridiculous theories.

    With a final bite and swallow, he finished the final doughnut. He tossed the empty paper bag into the trash bin near the park bench, and walked away.

    He wasn’t seen there again.

    • Mishell Baker permalink*
      April 5, 2011 8:46 pm

      Welcome back! Cheerful as always, I see. 🙂

  4. April 5, 2011 11:29 pm

    (Alas, first draft material…*gulp*)

    Zepheozulas drummed his eight fingered hands on the console, pouring over the analysis the ship’s computer provided about the watery planet below. Affectionally called Aquatia, it was rumored to be his species origination. That its surface was 75% water, and the land masses provided little sustenance for sea-based creatures was only the first reason this planet was targetted.

    His partner Kanatarra lay her hand over his. “Do you mind?”

    “Sorry, love,” Zepheozulas said. “Headache again?”

    “It’ll be nice when you solve the great mystery so I can get back to clean ocean again. This H2O in a bottle just isn’t the same.”

    Zepheozulas smiled as an idea came to him. “The salt to oxygen ratio in the middle ocean is within standards.”

    Kanatarra giggled, tiny bubbles dancing from her nostrils. “And how do we explain that to the boss?”

    “Research. I found quite the structure. It appears to be decorate in nature, constructed by the bipedal land creatures no doubt, and might offer a clue as to our forefathers’ departure from ths world. I need a closer inspection.”

    When Kanatarra looked at the statue, she shivered, hugging herself with all four of her arms. “Darling, that thing gives me nightmares.”

    “So I’m going alone?”

    “You’re not going.”

    “What?” Zepheozulas rubbed his gills.

    “You heard me. What if they are inspired by this structure and decide you look too much like that tentacles darling, and throw those pointy sticks at you?”

    “It’s hundreds of years old, they can’t possibly still feel that way, or be that violent.”

    Kanatarra nodded. “Of course not. Check their airwaves for data. A species at this level of development should have audio visual entertainment. If that’s clear of violence, then we’ll go. Together, of course, and armed to the gills.”

    Zepheozulas grinned and accessed the files the computer stored under audio visual. Kanatarra quietly slipped away, leaving him to enjoy the entertainment.

    • Mishell Baker permalink*
      April 6, 2011 6:42 am

      Do not fear first draft material! This is a critique-free zone, and once you allow yourself to be “rough” all kinds of fun stuff can tumble out of your brain. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: