Phosphorescent Squid

“The soft black talc blew through the streets like squid ink uncoiling along a sea floor and the cold crept down and the dark came early and the scavengers passing down the steep canyons with their torches trod silky holes in the drifted ash that closed behind them silently as eyes.”
—- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Dallas Zoo

There were some rare phosphorescent squid on display at the Dallas Zoo in the tunnel under the DART rail tracks. The poor creatures were hung on racks, strung up with monofilament fishline and flimsy hollow plastic poles. Their huge eyes, used to the inky blackness of the Stygian depths, stared featureless out at the crowd… at the children who screamed and taunted them.

“I WANT one Daddy!” they yelled. Apparently, desperate for funds in this day of official austerity, the zoo is actually hawking these fellows, to raise a needed buck or two.

The brats danced their frenzied waltz of greed in a rough circle around the squid while their procreators stood, horrified, trying to defend their wallets. I could bear no more of this scene and walked on to view some pachyderms.

Later in the day, as I was leaving, I spotted a limp, disconsolate squid being shoved into an open trunk door. It phosphorescent glow all but extinguished doomed to a long uncomfortable trip and a short demeaning captive life after.

I saluted the poor, hopeless beast and turned to board my train.