Saturday, 29 June 2013

The Karate Squid


Daniel Loligo was sad about the move; for he was a Loligo Vulgaris or a common European squid, The Mediterranean Sea was his home and now his mother had moved them right across the Atlantic Ocean where the common species of squid is the Illex illecebrosus, bunch of short fin suckers thought Daniel. They may be called Shortfin Squids but they are considerably larger than the European squid. Daniel himself was only 40 centimetres long and at age 18 months out of a maximum 3 year lifespan Daniel would grow no more than another two centimetres, the Illex’s grew to over 60cm despite having a shorter lifespan and so poor Daniel felt afraid of his new classmates. 

Until he noticed a beautiful female and she gave him the eye, by that I mean she changed the position of her lens to meet his (human’s change the shape of their lens to focus on an object.) He walked over to her, she was wearing a cheerleader’s uniform and in all eight arms she held her water resistant pom-poms, “Hi,” said Daniel, hoping that she wasn’t a Semelparous organism like some species of squid (meaning they only bonk once in their entire life and normally right at the end of their lifespan, what a sad bunch of frigid organisms,) “What’s your name?”

 “Ali Gills,” she shyly beamed back at him, “are you new around here?”

“Yeah my mum and I just moved from the Mediterranean,” replied Daniel.

Just then a large Illex shouted from the other end of the water polo park, “ALI!”

She jumped, “oh, I’ve got to go, sorry,” she spoke so softly and nervously, got up and whirled off to the young male squid. Daniel turned away but just as he did so he saw the male give an evil stare.

As he moved away the squid swam up to him, “Hey small prawn, what do you think you’re doing talking to my girl?”

“Johnny!” yelled the Ali, “please don’t hurt him!”

“Sorry mate, I didn’t kno…..” Daniel started but before he had time to finish what he said Johnny had raised his arms, and began to beat his fins. Suddenly he lunges forwards and wrestles Daniel to the ground in a Kung-Fu-come-squid type manner. Squid’s cannot throw a punch but they certainly know how to fight. Daniel suspected that Johnny had brushed over some eggs because he doubted that Ali’s reproductive glands were ready to produce a chemical known as Beta MSP yet.  Female squids coat their eggs with this chemical produced from their sexual organs and if a bloke brushes past they become very hostile and a bit edgy. It just so happens that male squids tend to be attracted to the eggs, it’s the squid equivalent of a good night down the pub.

“You on the Beta MSP’s or what?” shouted Daniel, raising himself on six of his legs and raising another two in the air.

Johnny laughed and swam off, “leave the girl alone prawn!” Kicking him back down before he left. Poor Daniel could see starfish hovering around his head.


Daniel was both hurt and embarrassed and reeled back to his rock where his mum was hanging some washing out on the line, she noticed his stress, he could clearly be seen whereas normally his chromatophores (pigment and light reflecting organelles) enable Daniel to change colour to suit his surroundings. “What is wrong?” she asked.

“I hate it here! That is what, I hate it here, why did we have to move from the Mediterranean?” he bawled as he swam under the rock and hid his shame.

“The fishermen were hunting us so much, we were virtually becoming extinct,” explained his mum. This wasn’t true; the European Squids are in ample supply. However the people of the Mediterranean had a taste for squid so the chances of them landing on a plate somewhere in AndalucĂ­a were very likely.

“That’s a chance I’m willing to take!” yelled Daniel and stormed off.

Suddenly his mother noticed an old Japanese Flying squid standing quietly in the doorway; he had many ringed markings around the back of his head which told them he was old. He was very small and lightweight, “Hi,” said Daniel’s mum.

He spoke with a quiet Oriental accent, “I am the janitor; my name is Mr Todarodes I have come to fix the air flow system in your rock.”

“Oh yes, err do come in, we’ve been having a lot of bubbles coming through,” she noted that he was watching the bad behaviour of her son and sighed, “Don’t worry about him, he’s 18 months old, you know, typical teenagers,” she sighed.

He came in, he looked upset, she guessed he was too low in the ocean, the Todarodes Pacificus, or Japanese Flying Squid favoured the upper layers of the water and although favoured more cooler waters than the surface of the Pacific here it must have seemed freezing for him. Daniel finally came out from under the sand he buried his face into but was still angry with his mum, noting Mr Todarodes he held off arguing with her and swam off, she called after him, “Daniel!” but it was no use.

The next day he spotted Ali Gill again and she came over to apologise, “that’s ok, yeah I’m alright,” he told her.

“Johnny is not my boyfriend anymore, I mean he was, but I left him…..” she quirked up. Daniel seemed happy with this but when Johnny noticed them talking he came over. Some squid-like karate moves put Daniel down to the sand again; Johnny shouted down to him, “if I find you talking to my girl again I’ll make calamari out of you!” Little did any of them realise but the janitor Mr Todarodes was hiding behind some seaweed, watching them through the school fence.

Daniel decided he needed to learn karate, so he went to visit a school of martial arts, he swam in through the door and looked around, lots of young squids were chanting “We are the Illex illecebrosus; toughest Ommastrephidae in the Atlantic, no retreat no surrender!” while doing punches in unison. Daniel was unsure about joining but when one young squid turned and looked at him with an evil smile he left quickly, it was Johnny and his whole gang were there. Daniel knew he could not join there and so he swam home depressed.

Johnny and his gang followed him and cornered him off just near his home and they addressed him, “Oi, prawn, what do you think you’re doing, think you can do karate do you?” quipped Johnny causing his gang to laugh.

Daniel told them to go away but they began to take turns bullying him, kicking him and wrestling him to the sandy seabed. Daniel knew he was in a bad way, they would finish him off when suddenly Mr Todarodes appeared, “Stop!” he ordered and they all looked at the frail old flying squid and laughed, “Or what?” one asked. Mr Todarodes flew over to the little illecebrosus, taking him out with a single tentacle, wrapping his tentacle around him he used him to propel himself over to the others, in seconds each of his arms had panelled the other gang members, smashing them to the seabed. Shocked and afraid they all got up and swam for their lives.

Mr Todarodes held out one of his eight arms and helped Daniel up, “thanks Mr Todarodes,” said Daniel, just as shocked as the others but pleased to see him.

“That is fine Daniel-son, are you okay?” he replied, as he said this he waved his tentacle over Daniel’s hurt arm and the pain magically went away.

“Yeah I think so, thanks but I could have taken them if you hadn’t come along,” he uselessly pointed out to which Mr Todarodes grinned at and began to walk back to his shell. “Hey, don’t laugh,” Said Daniel and swam after him, thinking about it he continued, “Oh, ok, probably not. Say, how did you do that, I mean, wow, like that was amazing…hey, could you teach me karate?”

“No,” said Mr Todarodes and went into his shell.

“Please,” pleaded Daniel and repeated it, as annoying teenagers have a tendency to do, until he had no choice but to agree. “Be here tomorrow and we will see,” said Mr Todarodes. Jumping for joy Daniel thanked him and whisked away home, he was the happiest cephalopod this side of the North Atlantic Drift.



Mr Todarodes lived in an upturned conch at the end of the apartment block of stones, Daniel swam up to the shell and looked about but he could not see him. He was anxious to get training, hoping by the end of the day he would be pulling off deadly karate chops and round houses. “Mr Todarodes!” he called to no effect and so he repeated himself more than once.

He looked inside the shell, Mr Todarodes hushed him; he was sitting on the sand holding a pair of chopsticks in the air with one hand, some minnows swam about him and he was trying to catch one in the chopsticks, he missed and growled. The concentration on his face told Daniel to be quiet as he tried again to catch one but failed. “Blast it!” he said, giving up.

“Have you ever caught one before?” asked an intrigued Daniel.

“Yes Daniel-son……” He replied to which Daniel looked impressed until he continued, “…but only with a net.”

“I’ve come for the training, you know, the training Mr Todarodes?”

“Yes,” he simply said and swam over to the corner where his car was parked. I say car but it was more like a submarine convertible covered in barnacles and whelks. “You; clean this car,” he said.

Daniel looked upset, “what?”

“Clean the whelks off the car,” he ordered. Whelks is the common name applied to various kinds of sea-snail, many sea molluscs species are merely mistaken for whelks, the true whelk is known as a Buccinidae. However the whelks surrounding Mr Todarode’s car was the variety Nucella lapillus, more commonly known as the Dog Whelk or Atlantic Dogwinkle, although Mr Todarodes often described them as “blasted dogs!” These whelks had a modified toothed chitinous structure called a radula which acts like a drill to bore holes in the shells of barnacles and suck out their pulp insides, faster than a kid with an ice-pop. Seeing as the car was made out of barnacles Mr Todarodes considered the things a pest and threat to the very surface of his vehicle. Daniel looked upset but never-the-less got to work by trying to pull the whelks off the barnacles but did not get very far.

“NO!” shouted Mr Todarodes, sweeping a tentacle over the car, “like this; whelk on, whelk off….see?”

“Ok Mr Todarodes, whelk on, whelk off,” he said and went about using the method shown to get all the whelks off his car. When he had finished Mr Todarodes did not even thank him and Daniel went back home in what can only be described as, a teenage strop.

The next day he came back, hoping this time he would be shown some karate moves, however Mr Todarodes only directed him to the fence surrounding the conch, it was old and beginning to get tatty. “This fence needs to be varnished,” instructed Mr Todarodes. Daniel sighed and picked up a paintbrush. “No!” yelled Mr Todarodes and held his own belly towards the fence, not from the front mind, oh no, you are thinking of humans again, no, Mr Todarodes holds his belly from the back and opens up his anus. “Ewe, easy mate!” suggests Daniel.

“Like this!” says Mr Todarodes and Daniel can hardly watch as he sprays his ink-sac from his hind gut, almost pure melanin it can be squirted with its proximity as accurate as Leonardo Da Vinci with a paint brush. Daniel takes a quick peek hoping his master is not displaying his anus any longer and sees that he is not; he is pointing at the fence with his fourth arm, “Now,” he orders, “ink the fence!”

Daniel half-heartedly does his chore, he inks the fence from top to bottom then he goes home. The next day though Daniel is sure that he has done enough chores to begin his training but Mr Todarodes orders him to “Ink the fence!”

“But I have done that!” yelled Daniel.

 Mr Todarodes points to the other side of the fence, “not this side Daniel-son,” he informs.

Poor Daniel sees red and shouts at the top of his voice, “Are you having a laugh mate, I’ve cleaned the whelks off your car, I’ve inked your fence, I was supposed to be learning karate Mr Todarodes but you have just been using me as your skivvy, this isn’t bob-a-fucking-job week y’know!” And with that he goes to storm off.

Mr Todarodes yells him back in the sternest of voices yet, “Daniel-Son, come back!”

“What?” asked Daniel, turning to face him.

“Whelk on, whelk off,” he said, and Daniel sighed, swimming over to the car.

“Not there, here!” he said, pointing to where they were standing, Daniel sighed again and did the action like he was pretending to take the whelk off.

“HEY-YA!” shouted Mr Todarodes, kicking an arm at him. Daniel was amazed; he had blocked it with his move.

“Now, ink the fence!” ordered Mr Todarodes and yet again Daniel blocked the kick coming at him harder and faster. Ripples in the water went in all directions as his master sent a barrage of blows towards Daniel and he blocked them all with faster reactions. Being that the squid’s arms are attached to its head as opposed to its body, just like Mr Tickle, this lightning hand-to-eye coordination is actually normal behaviour but Daniel is a teenager and normal behaviour in any species in that period of their lives is beyond hope really.

“Wow!” said Daniel, he was amazed.

“Your training begins tomorrow,” Mr Todarodes told him.

Daniel went to leave. Unlike many Cephalopods squids do not have external shells; they have a gladius, or a chitinized internal shell however Daniel, like many of his friends supported wearing one on their head as a fashion statement (it’s all a bit silly really but you try telling these kids, they never listen) and so he picked up his hat and suddenly thought of something he had to tell his master. “Hey Mr Todarodes, I’ve had an idea, we could do one where I hang my shell on a hook, you know, shell on, shell off kind of thing, what about that?”

“No,” replied Mr Todarodes, “I think that’s enough, we’ll leave that to Jackie Clam for the parody of the remake.”



Daniel was feeling better about himself, so much more confident as he trained everyday with Mr Todarodes he plucked up the courage to ask Ali out on a date. She was delighted and so Mr Todarodes allowed Daniel-son the use of his car. Mr Todarodes thought it would be good for Daniel to ease the worry of the karate tournament that he had accidently signed his apprentice up for when he paid a visit to the evil karate school that Johnny and his mates attended, he thought he was just signing him up for a free prize draw to win an automatic barnacle removal kit.

Daniel was nervous of the date; she seemed to really like him. Man, he was glad he wasn’t a shallow water species of squid that had a hectocotylus, in which instead of his manhood he has one of his arms specialized to store spermatophores and transfer them to the female. Structurally, hectocotyli are muscular hydrostats. Depending on the species, the male may use it merely to store and transfer sperm to the female, or he may wrench it off and present it to the female. Daniel didn’t relish the idea of this wrenching an arm off malarkey and the rumour that went around the school playground back in the Med put him off the idea of any hanky-panky up till the point he was old enough to realise that he wasn’t a shallow-water squid at all. Even dirty magazines for the shallow water species had to have “beware when wrenching,” warnings on them.

No matter how much he told himself he wasn’t a shallow-water squid rather a deep sea type of Cephalopod he couldn’t shake the notion of the wrench. “Are you okay?” she softly asked him as they embraced each other squashed in the backseats of Mr Todarodes car, man there was no room to swing a catfish in there.

“Yeah, I guess so,” he replied.

“You know you don’t have to do this tournament if you don’t want to, Johnny is tough.”

This made him all the more certain that he had to fight, to prove himself to her but he did not say this, just continued to kiss her her under the gills, then across her mantle. She had a beautiful mantle. Then he felt her caress his underside, he had no reason to be concerned, I mean he was no Onykia ingens (otherwise known as a Greater Hooked Squid for reasons that will become clear before the close of this lengthy parentheses section for this Subantarctic species are rather well endowed. When erect, the penis may be as long as the mantle, head and arms combined, they are undeniably “hung like a sea-donkey, if indisputably such an animal exists.) Mind you, all deep water squid have the greatest known penis length relative to body size of all mobile animals, second in the entire animal kingdom only to certain sessile barnacles, another good reason for Mr Todarodes to hate those barnacle fuckers. To add to his confidence that she would be impressed by his manhood we must remember that the actor playing the part of Daniel, Ralph Minno was of Italian descent. Ali Gill shrieked with delight (despite the scene being edited from the final cut, but hey this is the book, EL James watch out mollusc sex is the new bondage.)

From thence forward they were in love, but Mr Todarodes was now keen to make him put his lustful thoughts to one side and continue his training, copying a sideways move and pinch from a neighbourly crab. However one day when Daniel went to his training session he found an empty bottle of fish oil lying on the seabed and heard the destructive noise of bashing shells inside. He swam in cautiously to see Mr Todarodes smashing his car to pieces, little bits of barnacle were flying off, “take that you big cocked bastards!” he was yelling.

Daniel reeled up to him and Mr Todarodes shows him a photo of a beautiful young female Japanese flying squid, “wow, is that your wife?” Daniel asks.

“Yes,” he whimpered “today, it should have been our anniversary, wha wha wha!”

“What happened to her?”

“One day we went for a romantic swim, too close to shore, a fisherman’s net caught her, whisked he away from me. I swam for my life to the quayside where there was a restaurant that backed right up to the sea, from there I could see the people eating, I jumped up and that is when I saw her, she was lying on a bed of noodles……dressed in spring onion and oyster sauce! Wha, wha, wha!”

“Oh my, I am sorry,” Daniel looked again at the photo, “hey, she does look tasty though….”

“Huh? Oh, sorry, sorry, I meant she looks beautiful, in the photo like.” He tried to patch his statement up but knew it was too late, he swam out and Mr Todarodes told him there would be no training today. Daniel thought cool, I can go home and study my new issue of “shallow water babes,” complete with warning messages.



It was the day of the tournament, that morning Ali was riding her seahorse but she came to watch later on. Daniel strode inside not knowing what to expect, he hoped Mr Todarodes would be up on the routine but he confessed he knew no more than Daniel, “but this is my first time at a karate tournament,” pleaded Daniel.

“Me too Daniel-son,” replied Mr Todarodes, it did not give him much reassurance.

The hall was packed, lots of squid celebrities in attendance, Squid Rock was performing a warm-up set with his heavily plagiarised tune, “All Summer Long,” (kettle, black Mr Author??)

The most talked about appearance was from the famous actor Squidward Tentacles from the US hit soap opera, “SpongeBob SquarePants.” He paraded about draped in expensive seashells with an entourage of sexy mermaids and puffing on a joint of top quality seaweed, keen to point out to everyone that the creator of the show is in fact a marine biologist and didn’t just copy facts from Wikipedia.

Someone gave Daniel the low down on the rules and a Cuttlefish called him over for the first match, he shouted “Squids in!” (a joke that will be wasted on those not from the UK, that is why I left in the rather poor quality Kid Rock gag, you got to keep those Americans happy.)

The cuttlefish was a master of martial arts, a monk of the shoalin temple that would bravely lay down his life for the honour of his beliefs, the fact that after his death his bone would be shoved into the bars of a cage and used as a calcium-rich dietary supplement for a budgerigar while an old lady peered into the cage pointlessly chanting “who’s a pretty boy then?” did not register in his mind.

Daniel and his first opponent squared up. Daniel took on his first fight and won, feeding on the glory of that moment he went onto triumph all other matches and made it to the semi-finals; so did Johnny.

The semi-finals came, Johnny won his and Daniel’s opponent was Johnny’s friend from the same karate school, conveniently. His sensei instructed him to break his knee with an illegal move, “but sensei,” the boy protested.

“Don’t argue,” ordered the master.

“But sensei, squids are invertebrate, we don’t have knees!” he explained.

“Just do it!” he demanded and the boy went back to the fight, he flew a punch directly into Daniel’s arm and the crowd gasped as the crack could be heard and not believed. Daniel cowed over in pain and was escorted off to see the doctor.  The boy was automatically disqualified. Daniel was through to the final but the doctor told him he could not continue.

“Do that magic shit,” asked Daniel to Mr Todarodes, desperate to continue.

“I cannot, it would against the rules….” concluded Mr Todarodes.

“Please!” Daniel pleaded, knowing his pride was in shatters, his revenge had not been completed but mostly because his newfound girlfriend was watching and he really wanted to get her in the ink-sack. In turn Mr Todarodes had learned about friendship and also, to bend the rules slightly, after all he contemplated; they were breaking the rules, so cod knows we should too. So he rubbed the arm of Daniel and he came back out in true Hollywood fashion to a blaze of cheers from the crowd. But slightly annoyed looks from Johnny and the sensei.

The Cuttlefish asked quietly if he could continue and Daniel bravely nodded. He then announced that the fight would continue and both Johnny and Daniel stepped into the ring. A few moves into the round and it’s now clear that Johnny has the advantage, Daniel is protecting the leg. Johnny is pulled up by his naughty instructor, “sweep the leg,” he orders.

“But Sensei….”

“Are you deaf?”


“No buts get on and do it!”

“But Sensei, you really need to study the anatomy of a squid…..”

“I said no arguing….” His master was now pushing him back into the ring, “Sweep the leg!”

Squids doesn’t have legs, they have eight limbs that are commonly referred to as arms, and two longer ones which are tentacles, thought Johnny, my Sensei is a doughnut, he’s not following this story at all; I mean it’s factual and that….So, what limb do I sweep, and I haven’t even got a broom?

 Whilst Johnny was thinking this Daniel had moved into his crab pose, on the side with all his arms in the air. Johnny thought no more of it and knew he had no choice but to do as his master asks. He haphazardly flew at Daniel and with the perfect timing Daniel launched out and pinched the bully right on the mantle, sending him spinning over and crash landing into the rocks, unconscious. The crowd went wild and screamed Daniel’s name, Ali was flushed with admiration and attraction, Mr Todarodes was impressed and proud of his student, Daniel was overjoyed to have his revenge served and the readers of this story were overwhelmed with relief that this story is coming to a close and they can go back and check some gossip and look at their mates baby photos on Facebook.

Daniel stood admiring the crowd and much to his Sensei’s disgrace Johnny took the trophy off the master of ceremonies and presented it to Daniel, “You’re alright Loligo, good match!” he said, all was forgiven and the ocean was still once again. Until a big net suddenly swooped over the whole tournament hall and it was pulled out of the sea by two white bearded men in blue uniforms and silly blue hats, “Arrgh, there be good calamari tonight skipper!” one yelled and the other laughed.
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