Tok Tok Tok

A lobster sat in the water, staring out of his tank.

The people walked by, some stopping to look in. The lobster looked back, though they could hardly tell.

Some chatted, others looked disturbed. But some raised a finger, pulled it back, and tapped.

The “tok tok tok” they made reverberated through the water. The lobster’s mind thrummed each time, making him crazy. Several times per day, people did this.

In normal circumstances, it would have been fine. But with this his only interaction with anything, the tapping, and beating on his brain, made the lobster deeply unwell. If any fingers had been able to get in, he would have pinched them clean off in just one little clamp of his claw.

As the people kept tapping, the lobster became more and more crazed. But there was little he could do, until he figured out how to tap back.

Life in the Tank

Viva watched as her prey arrived.

There was little else to do in a tank of your fellows. You could fight, as some of the males did, claws flashing, gripping, pinching, but that was a boring pastime. You could wander the circuit of the walls, round and round, looking for any sign of potential freedom, but that was well-known to be fruitless.

So many of the lobsters just watched the comings and goings of men and women. In the doors, asking for fish or crab, or on occasion, releasing one her fellows from their prison of monotony, then out the doors again.

Viva saw her prey enter, a man sporting beards on all three chins, supported by the dolphin he was smuggling under his shirt. Viva knew that this was her chance. She started scurrying around the tank, energetic, trying to make her way to the top of the pile, be noticed, be wanted.

The man walked up to the counter, wrinkled his nose at the fish smell, and mumbled something. The young, emaciated little clerk turned to the tank, grabbed a bag and the extra-long tongs, and started fishing.

Viva watched as Hector was lifted out of the water, shaken a little, and placed in the bag. Julian was next, and she scurried to the spot he had vacated.

The man at the counter mumbled something, pointing toward Viva. The clerk nodded, and Viva soon felt the pressure of the tongs squeezing her sides. She took a deep breath before being lifted into the air, and watched the world around her twist and turn. She held back her nausea. She was placed in the bag on top of Julian, and the bag was rolled up, darkness enveloping them. Hector’s antennae tickled her, and while she might have been annoyed any other day, she knew it wouldn’t matter soon.

The people outside the bag spoke, some metal tinkled, and then the bag was lifted. All would be all right soon. The interminable boredom would end, the waiting done. She was glad. Would miss it, but was glad.

Crack the Claw

George is 35 years old. He is a teacher, who sidelines as an artist and late-night city rover defending the defenseless against swarmings. He wants a calm, normal life, free from the terror in the city. He’s afraid of anyone finding out about either side of his life. He is also secretly afraid of lobsters. He was offered the opportunity kill one innocent in cold blood, and end the rest of the city’s violence. Morality is an obstacle. He would become a pariah for it. And the police would be hunting him, and he’d have to leave town. In the end, he does it. The city is at peace, but he is not, and he must leave. He is destroyed, but the city is safe. He treats himself by ordering a lobster, and staring at its red corpse on his plate, before tentatively reaching out and cracking the first claw.