Dead Crab Dreams


Have you ever seen a dead bird? Not a picture, but a real dead bird. I don’t think I ever have, but I’ve seen some other dead things.

My favorite dead thing was a crab. It was lying in a driveway on the outer banks of North Carolina. The dumb thing had crawled half a mile away from the sand and surf and roasted to death in the sun. What made it an amazing sight, though my husband found it gross, was that it was see-thru. It had dried up and all the color disappeared, leaving only a clear shell that showed its innards. It looked like a mock image of a crab from an anatomy book rather than something found in real life,

Why did it stray so far from the ocean? Did it get too drunk one night and forget the way home? Did it have a fight with its lover and storm off in the wrong direction? Did some cruel kid pick it up and carry it away from its beloved home? Did it hitch a ride on a passing car in the hopes of finding a new life? Or was it just unlucky?

The protagonist in my screenplay, “Projectionist” would find the crab fascinating, but wouldn’t feel too sorry for it. If any of Parker’s friends were around they would take turns throwing the crab at each other until it broke apart. If Parker was with the London, the girl he’s crushing on, he would ignore the crab, assuming she would be grossed out. Maybe I’ll add a dead crab to the script.


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