“I declared war on the Alaskan king crab the day it took my dad. It took many people that year, crab fishing. The most dangerous job in the US, apparently (I'd like to see what the drug mules make of that). At the time, I didn't care. I wasn't ready for the 40 hour fishing trips, miles from port. The Ice, the Wind, the Waves destroying everything you thought you knew. I just wanted to say I had killed an Alaskan king crab.
I had killed hundreds of pounds of crab before I saw it. The King of king crabs. The white crab. We hauled up the traps, one tonne each, as usual. As usual, pitiful catch. Fucking Russians. They'd been exploiting our waters again nothing but kelp and water flooding down.
But in the corner, a monster lurked. Huge, all of them are huge, but this one had a Hugeness to its huge, a fixed point of hugeness. And the colour, the shining white, whiter than the expanse of clouds above us. This was the Moby Dick of crabs.
We heaved the traps upwards and inwards to our boat. Hydraulics screaming. We fell back as the monster fell out. It pulled itself out of our cage and bolted across our boat. Loose crabs are dangerous, ask anyone in this town.”
I knew this already, I had asked the bartender who had given me my first lukewarm beer of the night what happened to her three-fingered hand. She replied with “crabs” and I had to choke back laughter over images of carnivorous pubic lice. I'm new here.
“It didn't scurry like the over crabs do. It sauntered with a purpose. It owned the boat, and people in it. I swear to sweet Jesus it reared like a horse as it came past me. It leered at me. None of us touched it. We could have ended it there and then. We didn't. The bastard simply jumped back in the sea.
It was like coming out of a trance. The imagined silence was broken and our crab was gone. We've been looking for it ever since, and we need more men.”
The end of his speech was like coming out of a fucking trance, the guy's mad, but we're all mad, and I'm a little drunk. “Yes.”