A Tale of Winter and Samsara on Sullivan’s Island
It was ludicrous to the Anarchist Crab that the one and only thing it could rely on was the tide and its timing. On Sullivan’s Island by Station 26 this occurred every six hours – where the turning of the incoming or outgoing tide forced the Anarchist Crab to relocate approximately four to six feet up and down the beach.
‘Life’s a joke,’ foamed the Anarchist Crab with its crazy, unblinking chortle.
This formed the principle basis for why the Anarchist Crab was also an atheist. If a God or Gods existed there would be someone to blame for this absurd sideways excuse for a life. Given the miasma of toxic cynicism which surrounded the Anarchist Crab, labelling it a nihilist might sound more apt. But the Anarchist Crab could never relinquish or reconcile how shit the hand of life it got dealt.
Trapped in a perpetual repetition of sufferance is a popular viewpoint (at least on a Monday) – which is why so many of us arm ourselves with blame – because it’s light and easy to wield. In youth, it often accounts for a lot of anger and blue hair, black clothing and cosmetics, Doc Martins and overcoats.
However unchecked, blaming misfortune can quickly spiral out of control – blaming it on the stars, on lime disease, on gluten, on others, on family, on money (or lack of), and on the misdeeds of past lives.
The Anarchist Crab was adamant it got served the largest pile of stinking dukkha. To try and take this away from the Anarchist Crab was a personal affront. If the Anarchist Crab watched movies it would have strongly identified with Paul Newman’s Cool Hand Luke – because deep down it was afraid to believe. Faith is a scary business. And apart from the exceptionally benevolent and beautiful sanguine freaks out there, the majority of us operate on a system of rational fear – like being afraid of bears, sharks, lightening and happiness because when they enter our lives they can really fuck us up.
So, the Anarchist Crab rationalised, to acknowledge a celestial warden would serve only to legitimise the Known Universe’s personal vendetta against it – and that was too much to bear.
‘Hey-o,’ said the Bipolar Jellyfish which had washed ashore nearby.
Caught in the thraldom of excavating a new burrow in the fresh wet sand left by the outgoing tide, the Anarchist Crab failed to register the Bipolar Jellyfish’s presence.
The Bipolar Jellyfish watched the Anarchist Crab fly across the tidal belt, depositing armpits of sand and transporting crushed up shells from its old home further up the beach. Each time it passed, the Bipolar Jellyfish trumpeted a fresh salutation.
‘Hola… Hiyyyy… Whatsuuup… Heyyy…’
But the Anarchist Crab was still muttering the same spiteful screed under its mandibles and couldn’t hear the jellyfish over its internal rhetoric.
‘A donkey in Morocco — a dog in Korea — a kid in China… or Uzbekistan — they got nothing on me.’
Eventually the repetitiveness of the work slackened the Anarchist Crab’s mind into a lull of quiet. That’s when it suddenly heard a voice.
Because crabs have toothpicks for feet when they walk it often looks like they are treading cautiously as if on stilts or tippy-toes. So when they stop it’s easy to mistakenly think it’s due to some unnerving or uncertain thought. However, in this case we’d all be right.
is that you?’
Frozen on a crest of loose sand, the Anarchist Crab pivoted in the direction of the voice – terror filed the harvested black honeycomb of its beady eyes.
The Anarchist Crab had never seen a jellyfish before. So its glistening apron of gelatinous flesh and tentacles was a certified freak show of nature. Of course, the Bipolar Jellyfish could also make the same claim the same about the Anarchist Crab, if it’d happen to think like the Anarchist Crab.
The situation was made more awkward by the fact crabs can’t scream. Their thick mandibles prevent it. So while the Anarchist Crab’s loud exclamation reverberated sharply inside its exoskeleton, the Bipolar Jellyfish was faced with the stolid affront of a spurred, burnt yellow crustacean staring silently back at it with its unblinking black eyes.
‘Argh! You can talk… but how? You have no… face!’
‘That’s not very nice.’
‘What- in the name of Poseidon-’
‘Who – I was correcting you. Mamma Tree taught us that. “You are a who not a what.”’
Remy the sanderling overheard the peculiar conversation as it marched by and decided to interrupt. This was nothing new. Sanderlings have an arriviste’s penchant for exaggerations, condescension, peer pressure, flights of fancy, mob mentality and interruptions.
‘Ow, a good ol’ fashioned theological beach-off – where do I sign up?’
Although sanderlings posed no threat to beach crabs, a genetic disposition to hate birds cleanly extracted the Anarchist Crab’s instant dislike of Remy.
‘To be beached – oh the travesty of destiny.’ Remy lamented while looking down at the Bipolar Jellyfish.
‘You’re a fish then?’
‘Yup- well no-
I’m a Godfish.’
‘Shouldn’t you be in the ocean then with all the other fishes?’ asked the Anarchist Crab.
‘I can only imagine the existential quandary this sticky predicament has put you in my poor jellyfish.’
‘Hey, how did you know my name is Eli – have we met?’
Sending one eye to the water’s edge while keeping the other on the Bipolar Jellyfish, Remy whispered loudly across his outstretched wing to the Anarchist Crab, ‘I dunno about you dude, but this one’s more jumbled than a Bayou Jambalaya.’
‘You know that’s a woman crab,’ said the Bipolar Jellyfish.
It should be noted that while the Anarchist Crab’s immutable grudge against the Universe centred on how unfair its sod of a life was, what really got on its tits was the complete lack of respect for female crabs. Everyone just assumed all crabs were dudes.
Again, the Anarchist Crab projected an unnerving silence to the outside world as it screamed away its frustrations inside its shell.
‘Oh, like the soup.’
‘Try Laurie,’ the Anarchist Crab clicked.
A delicate cry from the pacing of sanderlings on the water’s edge beckoned Remy’s return.
‘Sorry, must fly chaps, ahem and lady – literally. Haha.’
Remy briskly strutted back to his squadron which lifted like flaky grey embers in the stiff onshore wind.
The sanderlings glided out over the breakwater, briefly, then yawed back to the shoreline and landed like an audience taking their seats.
‘Birds are such jerks,’ muttered the Anarchist Crab.
‘Yeah-’ said the Bipolar Jellyfish, ‘wait, what’s a bird?’
Stay tuned for Part II…. Follow or Subscribe so you don’t miss what happens to the Anarchist Crab and Bipolar Jellyfish