At Walmart the dad bought two pairs of red sweatpants and one red sweatshirt. Cutting the legs off a pair, he joined the loose legs with safety pins, stuffed them with newspaper, and pinned the tentacles to the end of the sweatshirt’s sleeves. He cut pizza-sized circles out of cardboard and made wide awake eyes with black Sharpie and taped the eyes to the sides of a red winter hat. He put on the red sweatpants and the red hat with the eyes and the tentacled red sweatshirt and soon his kid’s friends started to arrive. Not one of them, child or parent, remarked upon the dad’s giant squid costume, which the dad found pretty lame because, with exception of the kid who dressed up as a Minecraft cow, it’s not like their costumes were any great shakes. A ninja? A doctor? You call that inspired, Brandon? Aggrieved, the dad and his kid and his kid’s lame friends and their uncostumed parents left the house and made their way down the street. It became clear to the dad that when you’re a giant squid, not only are you not appreciated, you’re not useful, either, because despite having sweet homemade sweatpant tentacles, those tentacles are not functional. You can’t pick up a crying kid with tentacles, brother. And unless you hold them up in the air in a giant shrug, those tentacles are going to drag through puddles and grit and fallen leaves. It’s downright lugubrious, brother. Brother, believe the dad who tells you: when you walk around your block in a giant squid costume you’re just like a giant squid swimming in the deep: you’re in a midnight zone where your only companions are small beasts with crappy costumes and boring parents and glow sticks hanging from their heads. There’s a midnight zone on the earth’s surface, brother, and it holds lonely and terrible depths.