The last time we were with the Gewgaw, it had been on a homo sapiens eating rampage. Its last sad victim was a young boy who was just trying to have some childhood fun. The Gewgaw, turned evil by people’s hatred for its ugliness, now lived a quiet existence under a bridge, unbothered except for when the unfortunate villager wandered past the stream.
For quite some time, the Gewgaw was perfectly satisfied with this life. Its appetite was always satiated, it always had sound shelter over its head, and it found solace in the solitude of sub-bridge living. However, one uninteresting day (meaning no wanderers had strolled past yet), the Gewgaw decided that something was amiss. It thought it had found the best livelihood possible, but perhaps it was missing some vital aspect of leading a full life. The Gewgaw crawled out of the stream’s murky water and perched on a sun soaked rock. It twiddled it long claws as it pondered aloud.
“What is the meaning of life? I was so sure it was solely about getting revenge on those selfish villagers, but now I just don’t know. But I was treated so badly in the village, only for being a malformed, hideous creature, so nothing extraordinary should be expected from me. Right? Next thing you know, I might start having audible soliloquies regarding my future.” The Gewgaw let out a long, mournful sigh. “What I really need is a wise, all-knowing, ancient being that can solve my problems.”
By dumb luck, the Squid, a wise, all-knowing, ancient being that can solve people’s (and deformed creatures’) problems, was swimming by in the stream. He had vacated his previous abode in the sea during a fit of boredom and found this abnormally deep stream. Upon hearing the Gewgaw’s plea, the Squid decided this could warrant his attention, so with a gigantic splash he surfaced. One of its giant yellow eyes peered deep into both of the Gewgaw’s.
“You called?” asked the Squid.
“Well, I announced I have an issue. I didn’t know pondering aloud would bring a giant squid to my bridge.”
“First of all, I am not a giant squid. I am the Squid.” The Squid peered at the Gewgaw intently to make sure it understood the difference. The Squid continued, “Second, if you do not wish me to solve your problems, please do not hesitate to tell me, and I will not waste any of my time here in this stream.” From the tone of the Squid’s voice, the Gewgaw could tell that if it dismissed this aquatic creature, it would not be pleased. Even for an ancient being like the Squid, time wasted is time lost; it could be knitting at home instead of listening to a whining, hideous ball of fur and claws.
“Then let me tell you my problem,” the Gewgaw began.
“I already know your dilemma,” replied the Squid swiftly. “I have been solving people’s, animals’, and…creatures’ crises long before your grandparents ever thought about your mother. So trust me, I know problems.”
“Then what should I do?” The Gewgaw had begun nibbling at his curved claws nervously. It could almost feel the knowledge tucked away in the Squid’s brain, and it recognized that here was a creature that could surely outsmart anyone if it so chose. It could probably even trick the Gewgaw out of its comfy living if it was in the mood to do so. These thoughts did not settle well with the Gewgaw. And neither had its last meal, a particularly bony peddler.
The Gewgaw’s stomach growled. The rumbling sound picked the Gewgaw up out of its reverie and brought its attention back to the Squid, who had been lecturing the Gewgaw on the futility of life, seizing each moment as if it were your last, and fate—quite the funny thing—for several minutes.
“And that is why you should never invite a rhinoceros to dinner, especially if it has not bathed recently. A very important life lesson, if I do say so myself. And I do,” said the Squid.
“Er, excuse me?” the Gewgaw interjected before the Squid could continue. “Would you mind repeating Life Lesson #245?” The Gewgaw hoped the Squid’s large eyes would not see through the Gewgaw’s thinly veiled plan it had just hatched.
“You mean the parable about the mouse who wanted to fly? If you insist. Though I do enjoy this one immensely,” said the Squid, who began telling the anecdote about the young mouse in its burrow that decided it wanted to be able to fly, even though its controlling parents frowned upon this ambition.
The Gewgaw had been systematically observing the stream’s water level for many months, ever since it first set up its new home. It turned out the Gewgaw had always had an interest in science, though it had never been allowed to explore the subject due to the scared teachers in the village. It noticed that for the majority of the day, the water level in the stream was absurdly deep, deep enough for a giant squid, er, the Squid, to comfortably relax. But each and every day, right after evening tea, the water level dropped, almost as if someone had pulled a plug in the bottom of the stream. Such was the nature of this body of water, and the Gewgaw hoped to publish a paper about this phenomenon in the coming years. Until then, his observations would pay off with a different task.
The Gewgaw measured the time of day by food, so it knew that evening teatime was just about over…now. The current picked up speed, and the water in the stream was rapidly carried away to another body of water in a far-off land. The Gewgaw grinned mischievously (that was how all its grins looked due to its crooked teeth) when it saw the Squid’s large eyes widen even more, if that was possible, when it realized what was about to happen.
“Wha—the water? What is happening?” asked the Squid, suddenly panicking.
“Oh, this is just how this stream works. Perfectly normal.”
“Please, help me! Help me get to deeper water!”
“Uh…nope. I was kind of hoping this would happen, actually.”
“You tricked me!” boomed the Squid.
“No,” said the Gewgaw, “you were caught by nature’s mysterious forces. A simple creature like me could never outsmart a wise being like yourself.” It made sure to keep just a hint of sarcasm in its voice.
“Well, ‘aaaaargh’ yourself!”
With that final immature reply, the Gewgaw leapt at the Squid, its mouth agape, and swallowed the Squid whole. And the Gewgaw lived happily ever after.