Researcher’s log, no. 389, vol. II
“Who the Hell is Frasier Crane?”
The jellyfish refuses to entertain my query. “I think Frasier Crane is a narcissist,” it yells at me. Narcissist. I scribble this word in the record. Labeled, highest frequency. “Narcissistic denial,” the jellyfish yells immediately. “Interesting” I say, though it is not, and record it under the same. I then wonder, the feigned sentiment, is it consequential. It could be. “Narcissistic withdrawal,” the jellyfish barks. And again, I record. Again, highest frequency.
“Your monkey’s fist is retarded and you know it!” The jellyfish tells me. Generic. The jellyfish applies it to many things. The monkey’s fist subtracted, it is a favored expression of this jellyfish. At least, that is, with me, in its presence. I engage the utterance. “My monkey’s fist is not a distraction from this work, jellyfish, this work is monotonous, and menial. It is a task best suited for a graduate student. As in, it is grunt work. This monkey’s fist, I will assure you, is not retarded, and in fact, this monkey’s fist is all that is getting me through with this process.”
A monkey’s fist is a special knot made of paracord. It is an arts and crafts project. It is a thoughtless effort, I have assured myself. But immediately: “That’s retarded and you know it.” It shouts. And in the voice of a child’s. I laugh. Mirthlessly. “Serves me right for speaking to a jellyfish. Serves me right.” Again. Mirthlessly.
“I think Frasier Crane is a narcissist!” Shouts the jellyfish. I record the word as always. “Do you know what a narcissist is, Jellyfish?” I ask it. “Frasier Crane” the jellyfish answers. “Uh-huh” I say. Why do I bother, I wonder. But I know, it senses both. “Tell me, jellyfish, do you know, what you are, do you know, you are in a vat, can you tell me this.” The jellyfish pauses as if it could be thinking, then says “I think Frasier Crane, IS A NARCISSIST.” I record this.
Three years. Three years since this study began. Three years in this lab spent alone in Antarctica, with nothing but the hostile, yet innocuous, incessant, redundant utterances of a truly brainless, 90 kilogram astral jellyfish. My name is Dr Lukesier Payne. I am the foremost astral biologist in this young, expanding field. “That’s retarded and you know it!” The jellyfish quips. As if uttering these words for the first time, and not 3,000 times, verbatim, as the record will indicate.
Staring at the monkey’s fist spooled on a homemade jig in front of me at the desk, I acknowledge, this is my third attempt to construct one. My failure to complete a monkey’s fist is my ignorance of the proper finishing knot. As I discovered, if one knots a monkey’s fist, swooping under the fist unravels the foundation, and swooping over fist finishes the knot prematurely, providing too much slack and therefore, a sloppy monkey’s fist. “NARCISSIST!” Screams the jellyfish. Thus far, two attempts, two failures. Hopefully I’ll get it. Terrestrial transportation, in Antarctica, is achieved on snowmobile. Screams the jellyfish. The key to my snowmobile is small. I misplace the key often. Hence this project. This monkey’s fist, which will attach as a keychain, is on course to be as large as a baseball. And, as light as a ball of yarn. The paracord I am using for this fist is fluorescent green. I’ll doubt I’ll misplace the key again. “That’s retarded and you know it!”
I examine the fist from all sides of the jig. All wraps are in place. Now, the moment of truth. Time for the knot. The jellyfish, as if salivating at the chance to advise, shouts, but nothing helpful. Perturbed, I forget to record the jellyfish’s word and I engage with its nonsense. “Really, jellyfish, is that because of my accent?” I demand it to answer. And, beating the jellyfish to its words I add further: “Too dignified?” A rhetoric question. The mere cracking of its voice thrills me, and I speak over it once more. “For the record, jellyfish, my accent is American muffin. Or, sometimes it is called Yankee crumpet. This is an American accent. It is not British. Pay enough attention, notice rhoticity. Note the A’s, and the R’s. Of the consonants. You’re an idiot, jellyfish, and you’ve no brain and that is why you continue to mistake it. Three, damn, years.”
The jellyfish, undeterred, says “I THINK, FRASIER CRANE, IS THE BIGGEST, NARCISSIST, IN THE WHOLE-WIDE WORLD.”
I’m now laughing. “I REFUSE, jellyfish to lose my temper to a brainless bag of venomous gelatin.” And the jellyfish laughs. I record its laughter, under moderate frequency. And as I do this it occurs to me, I’d neglected to record the previous exchange. I think back to the moment but I opt to forgo an edit. For integrity’s sake. The jellyfish, now uttering responses at a hyper rate. I jot the words in real-time. Scribbles in my personal record. The machine records everything of every moment. Today I am working on hunches. One in particular. One of the benefits of heading a study, alone. I open the drawer of my desk, and stow away the untied monkey’s fist. “Self-awareness, jellyfish, is reserved for only the most intelligent creatures, not for you,” I vainfully remind this astral being. Self-awareness is the very question of this study. “This study, is a waste of my time.” I say this to the jellyfish half-heartedly. The jellyfish tells me: “That’s retarded and you know it!”
And it hits me. That coincidental or not, it was right. Come on, Lukesier, I remind myself. To not be this foolish. You know better, Lukesier. Too better in fact, perhaps is why you would take such chances. To be talking with the jellyfish and not to, the jellyfish. Beyond stupid is that for anyone. Downright dangerous, even. Not to mention fruitless. And I, as an astral biologist, I must be wiser.