The Ten O’Clock Lobster

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Even in death, this one put up a fight.

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We who are about to be eaten salute you.

It was ten o’clock at night. I just got home from work and I was famished. Much to my surprise, my generous sister-in-law got a bargain on steamed lobsters and left one in a bag in my kitchen. Now, they say you should never eat anything heavy after 8:00 p.m., but honestly, who’s gonna pass up a cooked lobster?

My family eats lobsters religiously, as if the food is etched into their DNA. After a big lobster dinner, my Grammy would pick through the remnants of every plate and collect all the delicious lobster meat. She packed bags of the stuff in a chest freezer for a year’s worth of bisque, rolls, and salads. That’s just tactical thinking right there, and when it comes to good seafood, you never give up a lobster.

I’m sort of an idiot when it comes to appetite, because my brain is unexplainably located in my stomach. That unusual disposition has gotten me into trouble before. Last night, I nuked a small container of butter and attacked the lobster with my bare hands. Part of me said to look for picks and crackers in the kitchen drawers. Another part of me said to unhinge my jaw and shove half the lobster down my esophagus.

Just then, disaster struck. SnapCracking open the lobster’s arm, my thumb sliced into an exposed shard of crustacean armor. Blood spewed everywhere. Even in death, well-steamed from the supermarket, the lobster refused to go without a fight. I cursed myself for not using the cracker thingy and rushed into the bathroom for a horrible reenactment of Civil War surgery.

Now, anyone can get a paper cut. Anyone can be nicked by an exposed nail or get scratched by an irate feline. But between me and the lobster, this was bloodsport. This was gory. In the top-ten bloody injuries of my life, this was among the upper rankings. Two adhesive bandages, gauze, and a strip of medical tape later, I was back to the kitchen with the undersea monster.

Some of my blood was splashed on the crustacean’s claws, evidence that the lobster had made his mark. It was a message. I could almost hear him say, “We’re not done yet, you son of a bitch.”

I respected him for that. It was an arena match that my seafood-devouring family could appreciate. I washed off my meal and consumed the rest by 10:45 p.m. This morning, applying a fresh bandage to my cut thumb, I can say with confidence that some meals are worth the fight.

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