On April 15, 2018
Today marks the halfway point of this year’s Na/GloPoWriMo! It’s been great to see how many of you have kept up with the project this year. Hooray for poems!
And now for our prompt (optional, as always). In her interview, Blake suggests writing a poem in which a villain faces an unfortunate situation, and is revealed to be human (but still evil). Perhaps this could mean the witch from Hansel & Gretel has lost her beloved cat, and is going about the neighborhood sticking up heart-wrenching “Lost Cat” signs, but still finds human children delicious. Maybe Blackbeard the Pirate is lost at sea in an open boat, remembering how much he loved his grandmother (although he will still kill the first person dumb enough to scoop him from the waves).
Killer Crab’s Dream
He always approached his victims sideways. Killer Crab they called him. Partially human, he’d dreamt of being a mermaid. Somehow, in one of those dark underground zones where, with others, he’d circled around in a holding pattern before landing on earth, he’d caught a glimpse of a mermaid beauty that so bewitched him, her face interfaced with his own imagined identity.
When you are half crab, one quarter human and one quarter cockroach — mongrel ancestry if there is one, even though they all spring from the same source — life is tough, there are genes to deal with, consequences of misalliances.
Crab struck fast and counterclockwise. With his sharp, gleaming black pincers he’d neatly slice off a head or two whenever they obstructed his oblique path. His aggressive talents could have been of use in the army, more so since his cockroach lineage, though slim, allowed him to crawl, leap, swim, dive or fly, and switch from one to the other in whichever direction, at a fraction of a second’s notice.
Sadly, his lightning tangential moves proved fatal in the military, causing a whole formation to disperse like chickens. He was handed a hurried dispensation for flat feet, no one dared mention claws, it would have been politically incorrect, risking a case brought maybe for libel or bodily discrimination.
Problem was, Crab needed red blood to counteract the clogging black lubricant in his system. Maybe there was a stray vampire gene somewhere, he thought. His dream of a mermaid-ID and, a fallback option, morphing into a merman, intensified. If only someone could straighten him out.
In the end, a mermaid named Lilibeth, third cousin-in-law to the nameless one he was in love with, was willing to undertake the perilous task. Lilibeth, a cosmic traveler, had heard strange rumors. The headless, it was said, had in fact made a pact before journeying to this planet, with the specific intent to allow someone to behead them. Without such a previous, signed agreement such a grievous act could simply not happen. After further explorations via the cosmic net, it became clear deals of that kind had been made with Crab that he had forgotten about. A forgetfulness that apparently was the norm, since that type of provision was usually hidden in a fine-print clause at the end of a life-contract, which as is the case with pre-nuptials, most people don’t bother to read.
The reason people signed up for those dangerous deals was that they propelled them way ahead in a cosmic game. They offered the chance to win precious not otherwise gainable points if they acted as top 101 facilitators helping to acquire old-fashioned, newly in-demand properties, such as patience, forgiveness
or compassion. Tough things to teach from scratch. First, pistachio-shell hearts had to be cracked open, sometimes even roasted. That’s where Crab came in. Theory was (and practice proved) that watching the head of your lover or friend roll to your feet worked as an effective opener. It broke hearts of rock-hard stone, scattering golden nuggets.
Lilibeth was trying to transmit all this to Crab via cellphone messages, she didn’t want to risk closer contact. She SMSed him the weirdest info: that evil he’d done was for the good. Some heads, she texted, that he’d sent rolling, belonged to people who’d made a wish: get me out of my head. It appeared Crab acted on far-fetched, invisible orders, carried occasionally by crows dropping a black feather in front of his claws demanding action. Hardly believable: in the end his pincers’ work, in an oblique way, turned out to be beneficial.
That bewildering thought so boggled Crab’s mind that little by little, in unguarded moments, the black goo bleached out of his system. He needed less blood to balance his metabolism, became less aggressive, slower, at moments almost at ease. Amazingly, the evil he had done had helped create much patience, forgiveness and compassion. And players in the Cosmic Game had earned multiple points.
Crab’s transformation was so pleasing that Ella, the mermaid of his dreams and longings (Lilibeth had revealed her name), picked up the signal. She opened her eyes, took a long look at him and arose from the sea.
She shook herself dry, drops of water spraying in every direction, wrapped herself in a moon-blue towel and flipped open her galaxy. There was mischief in her smile as she clicked to send Crab Instagram selfies including a close-up of her pretty tail. It was the opening move in another story.