Response to Squidy Runs Away with Submersible Time


Ainslie Henderson




I’m just going to open the website and write the first things that come to mind. This is what I tell Nadine when she asks if I’d be willing to attempt a ‘written response’ to her work. That’s fine, that’s perfect, around 200 words she says, ok I say, and right now all that opening websites and automatic writing is happening...

Squidy Runs away with submersible Time. Apparently I have to turn the sound on, before I pause it to go back and get that essential sound pumping, I get a glimpse of a shiny, exotic looking fish. Maybe this kind of fish isn’t exotic in New Zealand, maybe to you kiwis this is just a trout, but to me I might as well be diving for pearls, coming up for air and drinking pineapple cocktails on the beach. I don’t even know if you have pineapples in New Zealand? I know embarrassingly little about your country to be honest. I know you have that smart, compassionate Prime Minister, who’s steering you through this pandemic as diligently as our British Buffoon Boris avoids his illegitimate children. That’s the only political dig I’ll be
making, for those of you who aren’t into that kind of thing. I’m not really into that kind of thing really, I’ve just heard good things about your Lady on the news and I got to thinking about Boris, and I couldn’t resist, and I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Back to the job in hand. I wonder what submersible time is. Time that can go under water? Ok, sound on, lets go….

SWEET CHRIST. LOOK AT THAT CREEPY LITTLE BASTARD'S TEETH! He’s got human bloody teeth. Did Nadine do this? Is it computer generated? What kind of woman is this Nadine? Maybe first, I should give you some background. Or, before going back to check on those teeth again, make some kind of disclaimer. I’m getting distracted, I know. Distractedness is how this whole thing came about. For me at least, I’m going through my emails one day, rather than writing the feature film (I write and direct stop motion animated films) that I’ve been paid to write. A very enthusiastic woman called Nadine is saying flattering things about my work which is much more interesting to me than actually making work and I find myself writing back. Then she writes to me asking for this written response thing, which I’ve no idea how to do, but I think it’s going pretty bloody well so far, don’t you? Anyway, the point is, I don’t know Nadine, or if she has anything to do with the putting of human teeth in the mouth of fish. I can’t vouch for her one way or the other.

It gets abstract. I’m not thinking in straight sentences anymore, but scratches of words. Dentistry. They hid in the underground during the war. He’s up against it, poor little Squidy, trying with all his might to rescue something, steal some fragment, some glimpse of time that he can keep for himself. He’s been working on that machine for years. They said it wasn’t possible, they still do. His own family turned against him. Turned him in to the state. Time theft they called it. You can see in his eye that he’s a good guy really. His heart is in the right place, its all just got a bit out of hand. He didn’t mean to lubricate that crayfish. But that wont wash with Ol’shifty peepers. That’s what they call him. That or G. I JOE  tambourine-sardine. They call him that sometimes too. Or ‘The slippery eyes of the ocean’. Or ‘Slip Eye’ for short. They used to call him that too, but they stopped, after the accident. His brother. All those sphincters. What a waste. But anyway, no point in dwelling on it. Onwards and downwards, as Squidy would say.

A rusted rain deer pipe. That’s what Christmas’ll be this year. OH! I’ve just noticed the names at the side. Ubend Don’t Break. I’m half pleased to be given something other than the visual to think about and half disappointed to have my own meaning making bubble popped. There’s me going back to that accident again. If only, if only I’d stopped the ripple. If only I’d thrust out the clip before the gush. NO, no, no point going over all that again. You shouldn’t feel guilty about sucking it up. We all have to make compromises, none of us are pure. You make your choices, you run from something you don’t want to face, and then
you’re swimming, further and further down till you don’t know what way up is anymore, or you pretend you don’t, like a toddler spinning in circles for the thrill of being dizzy. No responsibilities. I’m with Squidy. You can’t blame him. He’s frightened, he didn’t know what would happen, and now there’s no way out for him, he has to see it through now. Bless. Go easy on him. He needs friends at a time like this. There’s that feeling, lurking right where he doesn’t want it. It’s in his sex and in his back and his belly when he’s trying to work. She deserved better than that, Squidy thinks before he’s time to stop himself. What kind of
person leaves someone behind like that? For what? His machine doesn’t work like he thought it would, and there is some bit of him left behind that was like a green, real shoot from the cold, dark ground in Spring. It was an inkling of what makes life bright and real and alive and he abandoned it with her to chase some fantasy of himself. It isn’t funny any more, and good riddance to that. Everything having to be a joke. And he has to remember moments, like the one he took a stick and pretended to ‘cloud bust’ a cloud away to nothing, shooting at the sky and and it actually disappeared. Orbit lots of fish. What a relief
Orbit lots of fish feels like. light and easy, like recovering the only story there ever was. Like forgiveness. I hope you find your peace, Squidy. I’m rooting for you.


- for Gallery Faux, September 2020

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