At bedtime we visit the crabs.
There are two — Climber, a sandy brown color with big claws, so named because he likes to climb. And pincher, reddish brown so named … well, you get the idea.
To continue: the other night (a hot Monday with plenty of moonlight) we went to peer into the well-lit, coconut-hair strewn abode of our little friends.
The usually docile domestic scene was a confusion.
Their spot next to the heater, where they usually nestle next to eachother –
we empty. The little cleared spots still there, still warm with crabby body heat, I imagined.
My heart leapt, my eyes began to rove
Over rocks, water dish, shells, miniature plaster skull and bones, coming to rest
on a limp, lifeless red claw laying in a confused heap of red next to pincher’s jewel-enrusted crab-sized mobile home. Oh, no.
Tristan, you’ve killed him! I moan.
Tristan gazes in. “No. He’s shed his skin, mom.”
What?? Do crabs do that? They have skin?
Yes, it turns out they do. Pincher is his usual intrepid, slightly ornery self, after a day of rest and recuperation from what must have been a lot of work and, I imagine, he feels better now.
The other day I pulled the Death card in a reading and realized that Pincher had demonstrated precisely that. The complete shedding of all there is, preserving only the essential.
The king is dead. Long live the king.