Monday, July 14, 2008

Letter to the Pet Shop Guy

Dear Pet Shop Guy,

I was three when I bought a hermit crab from you. It was at the Pet Store at Greenville Mall which has now been torn down. You probably don’t remember me as it’s been twenty-eight years since I made the purchase or since my mom made the purchase of the crab that I had chosen. I probably also bought a container for them and some sand and food but I can’t recall that.

When we were checking out, you showed me, in a particularly off-handed fashion, how to hold the crab. You demonstrated that you did not need to take care and grab the shell between the tips of your fingers, but that the proper way was to cup your entire hand over the shell of the crab using your palm to stop up the opening.

I tended to the crab for a few months and it wasn’t very entertaining: it was more like a pet rock that occasionally showed mobility and emitted a foul but unique smell. I was also disappointed to find out that my abilities to communicate with animals through words and telepathy were not effective with the hermit crab. Until that point, I had communicated with horses, dogs, cats, squirrels, blue-gill bream, and the occasional robin. I suppose this lack of communication or any sort of relationship at all was the reason that when after months of getting my nerve up, I adopted your method of handling hermit crabs.

It worked it was amazing and I walked quickly to show my mother the miracle of the crab. As I walked through the dining room, the crab (I do not remember his name) probably frightened or suffocated by my gently cupping hand that he (or she) reacted and pinched the palm of my hand. I was startled and in pain and I flung the crab down like a detached yo-yo. The crab hit the wooden floor and his shell cracked perfectly in half. He was naked and injured and if you don’t think hermit crabs are very attractive in there shell then you should see one in the nude—it is not a pretty sight. The crab died and I cried and I felt guilty and I always have until yesterday when I was thinking about the incident and I realized that it in no small part had a lot to do with you and your rather irresponsible method of teaching a child, a small child the proper way to hold a hermit crab.

You should have been more careful, even if hermit crabs are shit pets.

Vic Demille

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