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.