How the hell did I get here ... and where is everybody?
Okay, calm down. Try to back-track ... when did things get weird? ... just yesterday you were trying to find a good spot for lunch ... right ... and the guys from down the street were all eating together and it looked like a good time. I remember that they couldn't hear me come up behind them ... and I got closer and I could tell they were freaking out about something. And then, when I poked Ray on the back, he just looked at me and said ... "Not you, too?" And then I tried to turn around and run, but it was too late; we were locked in.
Right ... oh, god.
And then I can kind of recall the whole place shaking and knocking us around like some kind of earthquake, and the terror on everyone's faces was so brutal that I'm sure I'll remember it for the rest of my life.
At least they let the kids go. They weren't complete savages ... and I suppose they could have been.
What did those kidnappers look like? There were five or six of them. I remember they had beards and shaggy hair and orange overalls.
"How many you got, Henry?"
"Enough? What the hell kind of answer is that? This is our last run of the week and I got bills to pay."
"Don't worry. You'll get your share."
"I hope you're right."
"I'm always right."
"Sure you are, Hank."
"Go to hell, Francis."
"Whatever you say, Henry."
Okay ... now, what happened then? You've got to remember, It got pretty fuzzy and it was hard to breathe ... almost impossible. I kind of remember a struggle--not a good one, either--and I seriously thought I was going to die from the lack of oxygen. But the assholes that trapped us didn't seem to mind. They were smoking incessantly, too. And then they threw us down onto the deck and cuffed us ... right ... and we were packed so tightly in that cell ... and they kept throwing more of us in, and more of us ... what did they keep saying? ... something about needing to get twice as many of us to please the boss ... but there were hundreds of us ... from all over the area ... oh man ... what is up? This is not good. They keep putting us in different kind of cells with different kind of walls. Is this some kind of torture? These walls seem as thin as paper ...
"I think today is the day."
"Are you sure?"
"I think so. I want you to pick up two."
"But ... can we afford two?"
"Who's paying for them, anyway."
"Right ... two it is."
"But, Alex ... you know how I like to enjoy mine, right?"
"Yes ... alone."
"No problem, Aunty ... I'll just keep 'em together and you take yours when you want. I'll enjoy mine later."
"Good. I cleared out a spot for them. And I don't care how much you have to spend, either. Just get a couple of lively ones."
"I'm sure you do."
Gotta keep moving. It's fucking freezing in here. I remember when they put us in this cell ... wait a minute! Us? There was another guy ... what was his name? Leonard? Yeah ... and he was from Martha's Vineyard ... a townie ... and he had just gone out for a bite to eat, and they got him too. Poor guy. He seemed so nice. Said he was retiring early ... gotta keep moving.
"What can I get for you today, sir."
"I'll take two of your liveliest."
"Sure enough. I have some that just came in a few hours ago."
But what happened to Leonard? I remember that woman who came and turned on the light for a minute. She pulled him out of here screaming ... she looked like she meant business, too ... and I could hear pots and pans in the background before the light went out and it got cold and then all I could hear was the whirr of a compressor somewhere in the background ... oh, man ... this is not good ... this is not good at all. This is ...
"I see you made short work of yours, Aunty."
"Well, I haven't had one in a long time and I forgot what a luxury it is."
"It's so strange that it seems so natural to us ... but anywhere else in the country they wouldn't know what to do with one if it showed up with a bow around its waist."
"I think it's better that way."
"You're probably right. Hey ... you left mine alone, right?"
"He's all yours."
Oh no ... what's happening? I'm moving again ... ouch ... that was a rough landing ... well, at least it's a little warmer now... oh no ... I remember that guy ... he was at the market ... I think he's the one who's been taking care of me ... I only caught a glimpse of him as they were transferring us ... maybe he's going to let me go ... I didn't do anything to him ... what could I be worth, really... I'm just one lobster ... oh ... I'm moving again ... oh, shit ... the air is so much warmer right underneath me ... hey ... what the ... easy buddy ... I hear splashing ... is that water? ... is he going to put me back in water? maybe ... maybe ... oh dear god please, yes ... oh, joy ... I'll be able to breathe again ... I'll be able to quench my horrendous thirst ... I'll be able to ... I'll ... I ...
This story is dedicated to all of the Lobstermen of the South Coast who work harder than I would ever care to.
And to the precious cargo they hunt, which adds color, charm, taste and character to the area where I grew up, moved away from ... and am currently immersing myself in (one pot at a time), once again.
Thanks for eating.