The Crab Who Knew Better
by Jace Daniel (b. 1969)
Once upon a time there was a crabby crab, living at the bottom of the sea among a crowd of other crabs. He lived his life day to day with all his short-term crab friends, crawling around the dark ocean floor, minding his usual crab business of eating whatever he could find to make his legs nice and big.
One day the crabby crab felt more depressed than usual. Trying to wrap his mind around the situation, he thought to himself, “Where is everybody?” For, you see, although the crabby crab lived among lots of other crabs, he still was all alone. “What are friends, anyway?” he wondered. “Every time I make crab friends, it’s just a matter of a season or two before they disappear with no reason.”
As the crabby crab sat there scratching his crab head with his pincher pondering the situation, a large cube-shaped cage connected by a cable fell from the ocean’s top, landing on the ocean floor. Filled with delicious-smelling food, the crowd of crabs mindlessly scrambled to the cage, climbing with their crab legs up the cage and into the cubical interior, feasting on the food. The crabby crab, being hungry as usual, followed.
As the crabby crab began climbing up the exterior of the cage with the others, another crab, the most beautiful crab on the ocean floor that he had ever seen, crawled up to him.
“How’re you doing tonight?” she asked.
“Awesome,” replied the crabby crab, knowing right then and there that he didn’t mean it. “Couldn’t be better.” What else was he to say?
“Crawl with me,” she beckoned. “Just us.”
“But, there’s food here!” exclaimed the crabby crab. “Chow time!”
“Crawl with me,” she repeated.
The crabby crab considered his options. He could either go with the crowd and indulge in a needed feast, or he could leave the feast with the most beautiful crab on the ocean floor.
He thought. And thought.
“Sure,” he said, jumping down from the cage to join the beautiful crab.
Crawling against the flow of crab traffic, the two crabs crawled away from the food cage across the ocean floor, eventually getting away from the crowd of other crabs. The ocean floor got darker and darker, and before long, the crabby crab began to feel uneasy.
“Where are we?” he asked, as if she would know.
She smiled. “It doesn’t matter.”
“But what about the food?” the crabby crab asked. “Aren’t you hungry?”
“Not hungry enough,” the beautiful crab said.
The crabby crab thought to himself. He nodded.
“Me neither,” he realized.
And so the two crabs crawled together, pincher in pincher, into the ocean’s darkness. Hungry, but full.