Mark McFadden, (c) 2000
*Ssth(whistle), one of THEM. Oh man.
In a message dated 4/30/00 3:24:46 PM Pacific Daylight Time, Capt.Billy.Whizbang@hearstpapers.com writes:
leaving the Navy clear to get on and go postal on the Amphibious Humanoid city. Sending a clear message to the AH – “Nukes work. Maybe we can’t do Cthulu , but you are something else entirely ” That will put the Gillnecks back in their place.
Rue Terrania, by Jingo! They won’t forget that little bit of gunboat diplomacy for awhile.
I was doing lunch at the Citywalk with *Ssth(whistle) [which is the best I can do and he winces sometimes when I say it], who works as a Creature From The Black Lagoon at the Universal tour. Pretty decent guy, but kind of wry and sardonic like most expatriates in a strange land. Smokes unfiltered Camels whenever he can, so we were sipping some microbrew chosen for cool names and arcane ingredients and downing oyster shooters out on the patio at the fish place with the diving bell and the helmet with the thing by that place. We were daring each other to designer hot sauces arranged by Scoville rating and continent of origin. That’s *Ssth(whistle) all over; nicotine and spice and everything nice. He’s even a happy drunk. He says he’s such a deep one he doesn’t dare live with them, whatever that means.
Anyway, somewhere around Endorphin Rush the subject of that sort of thing and how the AH would react came up, what with us being engaged in mutually assured destruction and all.
He said that the Thresher incident was a very divisive issue in the Amphibious Humanoid civilization. You see, the Thresher was not attacked by AH commandos, it was being monkey-wrenched by an AH conservation activist group that was protesting the dumping of nuclear waste. Very 60s. So the elder AH get all sanctimonious about rash action and then we destroy that city off Devil’s Reef. Well, before you can say Tonkin Gulf Resolution, the elders get all nationalistic under this leader who uses hunting metaphors to get them all feral and they are doing police actions and terrorist raids and getting all martial and instituting a draft. In fact, much of the fighting was among different AH city-states as the campaign against surface aggression required the full cooperation of all AH civilization whether they wanted to or not.
Many younger AH citizens, the ones expected to fight these battles, looked at the big picture and demanded a public examination of the question of coming into conflict with the surface. Some questioned the morality of escalating a fight they had started. Some priests of a pacifist cult that advocated keeping Cthulhu asleep protested by dowsing themselves with scavenger shoggoth slime.
Many youth loudly asked if the elders would be so anxious to attack the surface if they had to beach themselves with the first wave. I’m not sure, but whenever he talks about the elders it’s usually in contexts of fat and huge.
Others of the middle class noted the size of the explosion that destroyed the AH city. “Did you HEAR that thing?” they’d ask at rallys demanding a rollback to a purely defensive stance, even advocating diplomacy.
Then there was the moral dilemma about what happened at Party Beach, which made the professed reasons for the police action dubious.
In any case, *Ssth(whistle) was an apprentice artist and had no deferment, so he says no thanks and surfaced in Venice on Halloween.
I asked him what he was apprenticing in and he told me that he was a performance artist that swam about the public currents performing extemporaneous interactions with invisible props or partners, often swimming parallel to a citizen and exaggeratedly mirroring their every movement for the delight of the, well, audience doesn’t really convey the idea because he said most of them paid him to go away. He said he performed these japes in absolute silence, without even sonar clicks according to tradition and the example of a famous one who came from a Mediterranean city where they rudely eat abalone and smell funny. Sorry, I’m not sure I got all that right, because we were both pretty buzzed and thinking about espresso.
We’re both careful about getting behind the wheel when drinking, *Ssth(whistle) especially because he has enough trouble getting from gas to brake with his feet. So he was going to window shop, maybe pick up some comics at the place with the models and anime stuff. I was going to catch a matinee at the megamulticineplex.
I’m still reeling from it. *Ssth(whistle), one of THEM. Oh man.
And I thought he was a nice guy.