The following article appears as part of the Nexus’ April Fools’ Day edition.
A Marine Science Institute octopus with a history of daring escapes pulled off its most impressive caper yet yesterday, trapping, murdering and consuming UCSB first-year Evan Miller.
Miller’s excreted skeleton was found in a corner of the aquarium tank that holds the affectionately nicknamed octopus “Inky” by Facilities Management employees performing routine maintenance on the lab’s electrical equipment prior to the arrival of MSI’s morning shift.
MSI researcher Dana Harris said the octopus’ unique method of killing and eating its prey means Miller was probably cognizant of his doom for hours before his actual death.
“Contrary to popular belief, octopuses are not the most gentle creatures of the sea,” Harris said. “They are incredibly strong and eat from the legs up to minimize struggling. Additionally, they prefer to taunt their victims by continually releasing them from their grasps and pretending they are asleep, then recapturing them fifteen seconds later. You are alive… when they start to eat you.”
The female two-spotted octopus, a native of Santa Barbara waters, is an enormous 300-pound specimen collected near the Venoco-operated oil platform Holly off Sands Beach. The mollusk, in addition to Miller’s bleached skeletal remains, inhabits the Research Experience and Education Facility touch tanks at Campus Point.
According to R.E.E.F. Program Assistant Jennifer Nouvel, Inky probably attacked the naive freshman after he dangled his leg near the top of the tank. Nouvel said other visitors had reported that Miller had spent the greater part of an afternoon ridiculing the octopus.
“As far as I’m concerned, that young man got what he deserved,” Nouvel said. “Good ol’ inky, squishy justice.”
University of California Police Dept. Spokesman Matt Churchill said pending the results of the County Medical Examiner’s toxicology report, detectives are assuming the immature Miller just got a bit too drunk and brought the snack-time shenanigans upon himself.
“It was pretty ridiculous when [officers] arrived at the scene,” Churchill said. “When these freshmen get a little cheap Albertson’s vodka in them, the best we can usually hope for is to catch them peeing by the Engineering building.”
Harris said the facility will consider leaving Miller’s remains in the octopus tank as an educational tool.