Fiction: Observations and Oversights on the Opportunistic Occupation of Octopuses in the Office

An essay by Camille Delacroix, as provided by Michael M. Jones
Art by Justine McGreevy

It all started with one simple question.

“Daphne, why is there an octopus on the ceiling?”

For there was, indeed, an octopus clinging to the ceiling of the renovated warehouse space I shared with my girlfriend, and it appeared to be … replacing a lightbulb. It was a relatively small one, only a few feet across, and sadly, that’s as far as my ability to identify specific species of octopuses goes. And while I’ve gotten used to a lot of weird things ever since I moved in with Daphne Watson–scientist, inventor, accidental cross-dimensional exile–this was as unlikely a phenomenon as any. I wheeled myself into the room, the door helpfully shutting itself behind me with a hiss of pneumatics–another one of Daphne’s never-ending efforts to make our shared space both accessible and automated.

The mad scientist herself practically bounced out of her workshop, stripping off goggles and lab coat and tossing them into a bin just outside her door marked “Decontamination” and came over to give me an enthusiastic hug and kiss in greeting. “Camille, darling!” As always, she was all lush curves, big blue eyes, long blonde hair tucked up into a bun for safety, and you’d never have guessed that she had a frightening disregard for the laws of physics, a so-so relationship with ethics, and had nearly destroyed the universe on our first date.

I returned the greeting but knew better than to let her get distracted from the topic at hand. “Octopus. Ceiling. Explain?”

Illustration of an octopus changing a lightbulb.

“Daphne, why is there an octopus on the ceiling?”

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Winter 2020 collection.

Camille Delacroix is a lifelong native of Puxhill, where she attends Tuesday University as a grad student and TA for their Masters of Arts in Liberal Studies program. A diehard geek and avid cosplayer, she’s highly active in the local fan community when she’s not mainlining caffeine and stressing over schoolwork. Her girlfriend, Daphne Watson, claims to be an “esoteric specialist” from an alternate timeline where airships are still in vogue, and asserts that she possesses advanced knowledge of numerous disciplines, “most of which aren’t even considered legitimate science in your world.” They have a cat named Mr. Farnsworth.

Michael M. Jones lives in southwest Virginia with too many books, just enough cats, and a wife who dies a little inside with each new alliterative title he tests on her. His work has appeared in places like Constellary Tales, F is for Fairy, and Utter Fabrication. He edited Scheherazade’s Facade and Schoolbooks & Sorcery. Daphne Watson and Camille Delacroix first appeared in “Saturday Night Science” (Broadswords and Blasters, Issue 1) and will next appear in the Robot Dinosaurs! anthology. For more, visit him at

Justine McGreevy is a slowly recovering perfectionist, writer, and artist. She creates realities with the hope of making our own a little brighter. You can see more of her artwork and find links to connect on social media through her website

“Observations and Oversights on the Opportunistic Occupation of Octopuses in the Office” is © 2019 Michael M. Jones
Art accompanying story is © 2019 Justine McGreevy

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