The Cafe

SQUID: ORIGINS An Unnatural History

The O*W*C squid were a well-established presence almost from the O*W*C's inception, giving naturalists opportunity to observe them at some length and report upon their biology and behavior. Other students of the wily squid are invited to add their own observations about this little-known subspecies of cephalopod.

The Cyber Squid
(Loligo virtualis)

Natural Habitat: The Other*Worlds*Cafe chat room and related environs (sometimes seen lurking in the message board and log library). Although the O*W*C forum is the squid's principal habitat, the creature seems to be attracted to O*W*C members and may appear wherever enough members have congregated (this can be mildly embarrassing at formal dinner parties).

Size: Varies widely, but most fit nicely in the palm of one's hand. A few truly monstrous specimens have been reported, particularly when the chat involves the work of Jules Verne.

Appearance: These squid are rarely seen onscreen, but occasionally one will heave (:::snicker:::) into view. They generally appear as follows: <:= or <:>= or <:>==

Diet: Highly-specialized scavengers, this species subsists entirely upon chat room snack leavings. Appears to consider spam and hot-cross puns particular delicacies, as squid sightings increase dramatically when these items are abundant.

Behavior: Normally somewhat shy and retiring, these creatures remain well-hidden in the chat room until they sense the chat getting silly. They then materialize in huge numbers, hoping to be thrown by the chatters. (Note to the ASPCA: L. virtualis likes to be thrown.) This is the squids' most endearing characteristic, as hurling them can be wonderfully cathartic.

Although it may be possible to throw other species of squid, members of L. virtualis are favored by squid-hurling aficionados due to their even temper, copious ink production, and the satisfying "splat" they make upon impact.

Note: After a thorough squidding, the chat room floor occasionally becomes slippery. Chatters are encouraged to wear deck shoes.

O*W*C Origins

JaniceMars, one of the original founders of the O*W*C, has been kind enough to enlighten us about the earliest origins of the O*W*C squid:

Actually you might also wish to add that the paternal donor of the squid's genetic material was one Jimmy-the-Squid, captain of the Space Duck, an interstellar yacht parked in permanent earth orbit, powered almost exclusively by paintings of Elvis on Velvet. At the time that the O*W*C was forming, he was beginning an on-line cyberpunk writing commune. Squid were very important to his group as they used private rooms online named "Squid Hottub" and "Squid Transvestites" for their sporadic writing meetings. The tossable squid was spawned in those private rooms as a generic answer for the occasional interloper curious about the mechanics of sex with squid.

The throwing of squid became O*W*C's version of the more conventional online :::thwap::: and of course, eventually devolved into our version of a food fight.

Another mystery unveiled.

A chatter posted a comment about our squids' attractive qualities, prompting this exchange:

>>It seems to have some kind of attractive quality (which I wouldn't know, but it must be there, somewhere!) that causes it to always be mentioned. <<

Well, of course...haven't you ever noticed our squids' resemblance to certain of Lovecraft's Old Ones?

Our squid are somewhat more benign, but they do share the same (:::ahem:::) animal magnetism as their larger brethren.

If you join the O*W*C, squid will follow you all of the rest of your days.

Chip Alhazred
(The Mad Chipmunk)

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