Crabs Had, Crabs Lost

I became a foster parent to two hermit crabs when my middle school friend moved back to Switzerland with her family.

Though harmless, the miniscule pincers on her Jersey Shore crustaceans were enough of a threat to alarm the TSA.

Their fuschia highrise apartment was erected atop of my vanity beneath a billboard for a blonde pop star who was only mildly apologetic for toying with her lover's heartstrings (again). They participated in vigorous physical activity, grazing on the fibers of my wooly carpet and occasionally disappearing to alert Homeland Security of a different kind.

One of these things is a venereal disease.

One of these things is a venereal disease.

One afternoon I returned home from school late after baritone saxophone practice, apologizing to my crab kin for a lack of afternoon nourishment. I shook an Italian-American ration of pellets into their cage and reached for their hydration sponge, which now resembled a crater on Mars. The less-active crab napped on its surface, so I gently cradled him in my fingers to relocate his siesta for the time being.

Mid-move, his limp corpse fell out of its shell and onto the neon pebbles that carpeted his abode.

I cried. I cried as an accidental criminal of filicide. I cried for his cagemate mourning the corpse of a brother and his untapped potential of becoming more than a self-fulfilling prophecy. I cried for the inevitable dissolution of a long-distance friendship due to my own negligence as a preoccupied guardian.

My father lowered his body into the porcelain pet cemetery to join aquatic domestic wildlife of our past while I penned a death notice to his mother on official Lisa Frank stationary. At the end of a two-week fast from California rolls, I received a snail mail response that likely accused me of being an imitation crab.


Enclosed in the small package from the land of neutrality was a block of Toblerone chocolate and a letter that began,

"Dear Mia, It's okay. They were smelly anyway.
Now, what happened on the last episode of Friends?"

Analyze & Discuss:

Do you have crabs?
Please alert your lovers in the comments section below.

It's okay. We're all friends here. I think.