Friday, August 16, 2013

Saran Wrap Lobster

Could he breathe in there?
When I'm out galavanting, trying to make money--namely, doing field work--one of my can't-miss procrastination techniques is to stop at the supermarket.

With the sudden realization that a terrorist attack/natural disaster can occur at any time, there is simply no alternative to an emergency stop to purchase bare necessities like peaches, hand soap, English muffins and more canned tuna. Yesterday I was on Bruckner Boulevard; a huge discount supermarket resides on the service road. A penned off area in front of the store prevents shopping cart theft, with a security guard booth manned 24/7 as well. Sort of a paradox, since paying the security guards is probably more expensive than replacing a  few nicked shopping carts, but who am I to say...

The premium quality canned tuna was not on sale, but the store had live, 'wild caught' lobster at five bucks a pound. I love lobster--better stated, I adore lobster. Not only were they cheap, they were a fairly good size--close to a pound and a half on average. After getting the attention of a fish monger, I picked out an especially large, lively specimen busily clamoring over other more lethargic compatriots.

I used to be a fish monger myself, working in the supermarket near my university. The workers in the deli section teased me, claiming they ate free cold cuts while I labored with smelly fish guts. I never said a word in reply, and for good reason: I ate like a king there. My department had a walk in freezer; it was one of the few areas out of sight of the store manager. There was also a professional steamer and a toaster oven, for some unknown reason. I never stole anything from the store, but felt that whatever I could eat while on duty was fair game. Large sea scallops and breaded oysters were a favorite out of the toaster oven; two pound lobsters were summarily tossed into the steamer. 10 minutes later I'd retire to the freezer to wolf down my prize. Customers would be calling from the counter; I'd emerge with mouth still full, butter dripping down my chin.  Should've just opened a mini restaurant on the spot...

Coming to a theater near you: Killer Trout.
Women would request freshly butchered trout from the large fish tank, then retire to another part of the store while I did the evil deed. I'd knock them out with a large mallet, chop their heads off and clean them. Sometimes they'd still be quivering while I wrapped them up. One night I dreamt that our shower at home filled up with water, and was soon teeming with live trouts that had teeth like piranha, nipping at my legs.

I used to place the live lobsters in paper bags, but yesterday this employee folded the tail under the chest cavity, laid the beast on a styrofoam tray, and ran him under a stretch-wrap machine, slapping the UPC label on top. Now the lobster couldn't budge an inch, or get any air.

The carnivore's hypocritical conundrum had raised i'ts ugly head: I had every intention of boiling this creature alive, then literally ripping him lip from limb for my greedy consumption...yet I was concerned he might be suffering in this styrofoam wrapper. What had I done?

There were still a few stops to make for my work assignment, but I kept thinking about the severely constrained crustacea in my trunk. Was it possible for a lobster to get a charlie horse? As a fellow long-legged creature who had flown coach his entire life, I knew the agony of prolonged constricture.

I arrived home and anxiously freed the lobster from his mummified plastic enclosure. Small bubbles were gurgling from his mouth; a few legs tentatively flexed. I grabbed a butcher knife and plunged it into the gap between carapice and head, killing the creature instantly.

While Mr. Lobster sat steaming on my stove, I melted some butter and lemon, reflecting on my cold, depraved existence. I had taken another small step forward towards my inevitable Karmic undoing, staring into the murderous, bloody abyss of my own carnal cravings.

I retrieved the now pink lobster from its pot, placed it on a large plate, and cracked open the larger of the two claws. Taking that first sumptuous bite, I arrived at a comforting, overly-simplistic conclusion: something that tastes so heavenly cannot possibly send me to the depths of hell. Bon Apetit!

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