Saturday, July 31, 2010

No marine worms were injured, or indeed involved in any way

Idea for a movie script: A remake of The Medusa Touch. An octopus, though confined to a tank in an Oberhausen aquarium, is found to be controlling the performance of the German soccer team in the World Cup using telekinesis. Concerned about the potential for panic if the public were to hear about its psychocephalopodic powers, the authorities step in and promulgate a cover story that the octopus is merely predicting the team's successes and failure. I envisage Derek Jacobi in the role of the aquarium owner.
Inspired by the publicity attracted by Paul the psychic octopus, New Zealand bar owners are following the usual NZ gold-rush mentality ("We'll all get rich by looking for $100 notes on the footpath, because someone else found a $100 note on the footpath last week") in the hope of windfall profits during next year's rugby tournament. The search is on for predictive molluscs to bring patrons into this bar or that.

The obvious candidate is one of the rare giant flax snails Powelliphanta augusta. These ferocious little carnivores live for up to 20 years, which should be long enough to accumulate a broad base of knowledge about each competing country's rugby team. But bad luck for bar owners (though good luck for tourists here; there is little danger of being set upon in the course of a back-country tramp and rasped painfully to death), almost all of the P. augusta population are currently estivating in refrigerators at the Department of Conservation. To enshorterise the story: The mountain ridge that provided their habitat has been removed, for it turned out to have coal underneath it.

Before the open-cast mining began, Solid Energy Corporation promised a cunning anti-extinction policy of retrieving snails by hand (job creation! Yay!) and translocating them to bush elsewhere of equivalent ecological value; but since such land is too expensive hard to find they will be kept on ice until coal extraction is complete and the land is restored to its original conditions, or they all slip quietly over to the Happy Rasping Ground, whichever comes first. Meanwhile we can console ourselves by hating on BP for their lack of environmental concern.

That was all a bit of a downer so here's a picture of an octopus playing charades. It's spelling out the name of a character from a Charles Dickens novel but the fish in the team really don't have a clue.


Hamish Mack said...

It's Knickerless Nicholson, innit?

mikey said...

Ok, if I followed all that, you've got an ommipotent octopus, some coal under a ridge and a bunch of 20 year old shivering snails. [As a side note, I'm thinking that snail slime just gets grosser if you chill it - but then it immediately occurs to me that if you put it in a jar with a clever name like GooFoo or something and people in the antipodes would be compelled to make sammiches out of it and sing its praises. But that is a bit of a digression.]

I might be skipping ahead to read the last page first, here, so ***SPOILER ALERT**** but it seems inevitable to me that the octopus will get rich betting on rugby, buy the coal and use it to cook the 20 year old snails as a lovely lunch accompaniment to some elegant GooFoo finger sammiches, on white toast points with the crusts neatly trimmed...

ckc (not kc) said...

...they're estivating on ice? ...what kind of summer do you get down in your 'pode?

J— said...

Put the mimic octopus (what an awesome animal, by the way) in the Paul role and the house could make a killing on bets.

Unknown said...

Could the super snail crush the coal and make goo diamonds?

Smut Clyde said...

...they're estivating on ice?
OK, "estivating" is the wrong word but I do not get to use it very often.

what an awesome animal, by the way
It has a

ckc (not kc) said...

"Wunderpus" - "POW! elephant, a" - these are not sufficiently serious names