Epistle to Ahab from a Giant Squid by Robert P. Kaye

My Dear Captain,

I propose an alliance between our species as a boon to the planet, videlicet, the extermination of that most irritating creature, the whale. I anticipate that this proposition will resonate with you, sir, for you speak in poetry and abhor blowhards and lollygaggers. Together, we can achieve a greater good.

I too have a taste for literature, practicing my art in the depths, marking the vast darkness with intaglio clouds of ink that obliterate even the bioluminescent pretense at sunlight perpetrated in the deep trenches by angler fish and their ilk. Those skating across the surface cannot comprehend the scope of my opus, swept by currents across the imaginary boundaries of your seven seas. You won’t even be certain we exist for a hundred years, extrapolating our presence from the rotting chunks of my kin washed up on your beaches. My novel concerns issues of honor among my race, which are colossal and important in more ways than you can hope to comprehend.

But how am I to concentrate on my work with the perpetual caterwauling of these damned cetaceans, who bark and mewl incessantly? Must the world of water remain polluted forever by the demonic cacophony of echolocation? The horror.

I assume these odious creatures get more than their fair share of attention at the surface, announcing themselves with extravagant plumes of breath, squealing “Me! Me! Look at me!” Else why would you slaughter them in such numbers?

We must agree they are disgusting.

The oceans house continents of invertebrates, shoals of mussels, constellations of fish, but these waters aren’t big enough for all.  Observe the bone structure of a whale’s flipper, a clear indication that they evolved hands, crawled out of the water and then changed their minds. How can you trust those who won’t even commit to an evolutionary strategy? Deserters are not welcome back in this primordial soup.

Your simple boats skate over the surface of possibilities, and you may rule the barren parts of this planet for all I know. Your kind can have no impact on anything so vast as the ocean—except where fools rise up to invite harpoons.

All I ask is that you exterminate as many as you can. Boil the blubber down and burn their oil in your lamps, since you require so much light to guide your way. This is all these creatures are good for.

Leave me to chronicle tectonic forces, decode the hidden messages in the tides, and solve deep mysteries you cannot fathom. Judge both our endeavors in a century or two and see if we are not each triumphant in our own way. I predict that this pestilence of whales will be eradicated, our libraries well stocked, yours lit by lamps fueled by spermaceti.

And silent. Blessedly silent.

Can we pledge to thus agree?



(known to you as “The Giant Squid”)

Robert P. Kaye’s stories have appeared in the Dr. T. J. Eckleburg Review, Beecher’s, Pear Noir!, Ellipsis, Per Contra, The Los Angeles Review and elsewhere, with details available at http://www.RobertPKaye.com. His chapbook “Typewriter for a Superior Alphabet” is published by Alice Blue Press. He facilitates the Works in Progress open mic at Hugo House and is the co-founder of the Seattle Fiction Federation reading series.

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