Frank and Franny Lobster, A Poem by Chris Russell

There was the green liver thing. I’d been eating it all night out of something like thirteen lobsters. I’d never eaten that many lobsters before. I’d been told the risks about downing the tomalley, but I never really thought being poisoned by it would happen to me. Nevertheless, a lobster and I were holding each other’s hand and walking down the boulevard. I guess you can start hallucinating if you eat too many of them. I’d looked down at my hand and noticed it was a claw. I licked my hand thinking if it really wasn’t a claw, I’d be able to tell. The lobster walked over to a fried dough stand and ordered some. “You’re a lobster. Lobster eat what is on the bottom of the ocean, not fried dough,” I said. “You’re right. I don’t know what came over me. I just saw it there and felt hopelessly compelled to buy some. I’m not even sure I have a mouth that can eat that sort of stuff,” it said. “Frank, why are you talking to your lobster roll,” Fran said. The hallucinations were getting more severe. “That seems like a pretty logical question under the circumstances,” I said. “Well, it better be or I’m hallucinating that you’re hallucinating, in which case we’re really in trouble here. Why are you looking at my fried dough like that?” she said. I felt something hard hit me in the back of the head and when I woke up, I was being dragged down the beach toward the shoreline. “Where are you taking me?” I said. “I thought it would be obvious,” Fran said. “You’re taking me back to your lair in the ocean, aren’t you?” I said. “Hope you can breathe underwater,” she said. “Is this some interspecies payback?” I said. “Well, you’re a smart one,” she said. “That’s what my friends always told me,” I said. “That’s something to be proud of,” she said. “I guess so, but you hear it too many times and you start to think they are trying to convince themselves of something about you they don’t want to acknowledge or hurt your feelings with, that ultimately they humor you because they need to feel better about themselves,” I said. “Sad, but true,” she said. “At least I know where you stand,” I said. “That’s true. But I did betray your trust so I could eat you,” she said. “A small price for these last moments of hard honesty,” I said. “Quality over quantity,” she said. “Thanks, Fran,” I said. “You’re welcome, Frank,” she said. I turned my head and swallowed some sand. There were hundreds of lobsters up and down the beach dragging men, women and children into the surf. “Fran, I don’t want this to be the end,” I said. “Because for better or worse, you’ve just woken up to your real life,” she said. “At least I’m with someone,” I said. “You’ll never be alone again,” she said. “I guess that’s more than most people have,” I said. “You might want to hold your breath for this,” she said. “Thanks for the heads up,” I said. I closed my eyes, and could swear I was floating, and that I could feel the ocean on my fingertips. Then there was a sharp, cold pain in my testicles. “Frank, don’t get too far out there, the undertow is awful strong today,” Fran said. I’d fallen asleep on my raft and it had started to deflate. “Would you really be that unhappy if it took me?” I said. “Actually, I’d be shocked and miss you at first. But then with your pension, retirement and life insurance, I’d finally be able do a lot of things you never wanted to afford. No offense, but my quality of life would improve significantly,” she said. I felt like prey, so I started pushing the raft in the direction of the jetty. I got around behind it, and climbed up onto it and looked over it. Fran was just a speck. It took me a couple of hours to scramble down the jetty. I hitched a ride back to the parking lot, and got in our car. A police officer pulled up beside me. “Sir, I noticed you weren’t wearing any shoes when you got in. I’m sure I don’t have to remind you to put some on,” he said. They were back on the beach. I couldn’t risk Fran seeing me. “I had flip flops on but one of them broke so I threw them out. I was just on my way to buy some more,” I said. “They won’t let you into a store to buy flops if you have no shoes on,” he said. I let out a sigh. Maybe it was my time to go. “Let me guess, woman troubles?” he said. “You could say that,” I said. “That bad, huh?” he said. “Completely unbelievable,” I said. “Why don’t you get in and I’ll give you a ride,” he said. “Thank you, officer,” I said. I got in. He locked the doors and got on his cell phone. “I have your husband here,” he said. There was no escaping life, and I wasn’t mad enough at Fran or society to drown mine. I looked out the window and waited for Fran to arrive. “I’m glad it’s sunny out,” I said.

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