It’s time for Weird Fiction Monday, when I post stories that I’ve written — both new and old — for the entertainment (hopefully) of my readers! As always, I note that I haven’t done extensive editing of the tales here, so don’t be surprised to find the writing a little rough.
While I’ve got round robin stories on my mind, I thought I would share a part of one I contributed to a number of years ago — 13, to be precise. Back in the day, my friend Damon was organizing a number of round robin writing exercises, to be passed around by email. In one of them, each participant had to build on a story based on a choice of one of five words offered. In this case, I picked the word “crab.”
Not sure where this little snippet came from — perhaps my cynical single life at the time — but nobody ever followed up on my contribution, no doubt wondering what the hell I was talking about. I found this piece quite amusing, however, and some of my strangest work.
Fish in the Sea
“Your table is available, sir,” the crab said, straightening its tie. “Would you care to wait for the second member of your party, or be seated immediately?”
Anderson swallowed uncomfortably to clear his throat, and shook his head.
“I can be seated right now. That’s fine.”
With a dip of its eyestalks, the crab host scooped up a pair of menus in one of its claws, waved the other one over its body in a sort of encouraging gesture, and scuttled towards the main dining room of the restaurant.
Anderson followed, walking slowly to avoid overrunning the creature, and he looked around nervously at the patrons of the establishment. He mildly cursed under his breath. All around him were crabs. At the table he was passing on his right, two crabs clinked champagne glasses together that were held gingerly in serrated claws. Ahead on the left, a pair of wide-bodied, bright orange crabs were tearing mercilessly at their meal, pulling the fleshy carcass apart with wild abandon. A small spatter of skin landed on Anderson’s jacket, and he flicked it off hastily.
Then the maître d’ was beckoning him to a table, and Anderson found himself sitting, accepting a menu that was scored with many tiny claw holes punched into it.
No doubt about it, this was a crab joint. Anderson cursed himself for allowing himself to be set up on yet another blind date by his friends. He should have learned by now.
“David Anderson?” gurgled a voice beyond his menu. Anderson lowered his menu carefully, and barely repressed a disappointed outcry. A Portuguese man o’war was squatting before him, wearing a yellow rose on its body that matched the one on his own jacket. The evening was clearly doomed even before it had begun.
Mustering all of the dignity he could afford, Anderson accepted and shook the proffered stinger, trying not to wince as its poison burned his hand.