By Leah Umansky
Chester swam away from the light. He liked the murk, and the cool side of the sand. He taunted and teased but never entered the pearly web of heaven when it was laid before him. He knew he was safe. No one wanted a lobster.
Until one day, while practicing his falsetto, his claw got stuck on a thread floating at the surface. He was worn. He squirmed and squawked but the others were too busy keeping house: Angela was tidying the cupboard and Reginald was teaching little Jimmy to play polo.
Up Chester went. He knew he’d be spared, as he wasn’t a Bass or a Salmon, but he started to pray. He prayed to the High Holies and clicked his claws three times. He did deep breathing, while focusing intently on his third eye. He held on to a Holdfast, but it broke. When he reached the Euphotic (not to be confused with the euphoric) he faced one, large, gaping mouth, and then was hit with a giant sigh of disgust, as he was hurled back into the sea-arms by the Fisherman. He sighed, for he felt neurotic and scared but pretty much glad to be back with his friends in the Necrotic.
Days later, Reginald was lured by the pearly web of heaven, and he clamped on. He was getting out of this hell-hole. Sick of his kids, sick of his job; sick of the plankton; and most of all, sick of his wife. When he skivvied up that line and reached the sunlight, he gave the world’s biggest smile, and played, The Cucaracha with his claws. He curled his mustachios, and swung his hips, but Christophe let out a hardy laugh and said, “Bottom-feeders – good for nothing!” Reginald, too, was sent back to the deep, muttering about the cruelties of life.
His wife, Angela, for lobsters mate for life, had her death-stare set on Reggie. She listened to him recount the experience, “I don’t know. All I understood was, “bottom feeder.”
Angela rolled back her teeny, and beady eyes, and snapped her claw real loud, not once, but twice and fiercely. Clams shut. Bubbles burst. Her kids, fled to the corners, for they knew she meant business. “I’m nobody’s bottom feeder,” she said, “That’s not the crustacean my momma raised.”
When the shine fell to the sea, she followed that glimmer and reached the sandy shore. Christophe had never seen such a good-looking lobster. She was dark as sin and with the sass to match. When she saw his hand reach for her tail, she clipped and clawed but was too slow for his thumb cracked her tail. A sweet and salty scent rose, and filled Christophe’s nostrils.
Suddenly, he had blinders on: all he saw was Angela.
He dove into the sea, flailing through the seaweed and the cold. Her juices were still under his fingernails. He grew delirious and desirous at the same time. He tossed off his long-underpants; kicked away his monocle, and swam like there was no tomorrow.
He saw hundreds of lobsters and lunged at the. Suddenly, he held hundreds and rose to the surface. He was a man with a thousand beating hearts. He began to salivate, and his arms grew heavy with weight, with meat and with what the future would hold.
I’ve got a gold mine, thought Christophe, as he dropped the lobsters in the center of the Town Square. He set a cauldron to boil.
He threw them to the floor one by one, and as their shells cracked, shutters opened; doors were unhinged; pick-pocketers came forth with palms open; horses halted and, the heavens parted.
“Eat,” said Christophe, and he showed the men the cracking. He showed the men the sucking and the peeling. He said, “sing when they start to scream.” Soon, the town had a new delicacy and Christophe saw coins.
Leah Umansky’s first collection of poems, Domestic Uncertainties, is available now from BlazeVOX Books. She is the host and curator of the COUPLET Reading Series and she is presently at work on her second collection of poems focusing on our technological world, AMC’s Mad Men, and life in the 21st century. Read more at http://iammyownheroine.com.