Ian cried tears on to the hard shell of a dead crab and knew in his heart he was finally a man*
I'm telling ya,
used to be I would have had a great big shiny new WTF? ready, at a time like this.
I would have said,
"A crab, Larry?" (Larry's been calling himself "Ian" lately. Hey, don't ask me.)
A honking dead, stinky, stupid-ass crab? Really?"
I know better.
I know to keep my yap shut,
like when somebody invites you to their church and you can't weasel out of it;
it makes about as much sense as a drunk-butt family-values congressman in the back of a squad car,
but you have to be respectful.
You have to act like it's the unveiling of a masterpiece, for the love of mike.
Cos it's my man Larry having the epiphany right here on East Warehouse Street,
bawling like the football game ain't on tv.
I have some tricks.
I have learned to get creative with it, during awkward moments
when I'd rather be in Arkansas hunting runaway My Little Ponys
than sitting on the curb like a lost pigeon,
watching Larry turn on the waterworks over a dead crustacean.
I plan the week's menus.
Lean Cuisine, reduced fat Oreos,
big ginormous tubs of mac and cheese or caramel swirl, for when I feel weird.
I think about Gina,
who I loved like monkeys love bananas,
and who, if I didn't talk to her for more than 24 hours, I went all gonky.
if she were here, with weepy Larry,
who really isn't a bad guy at all, God love him.
"Larry," I say softly,
thinking of the time I tried to get that barn cat to trust me,
"Honey...are you ready to go home, now?"
Larry looks off into the middle distance, nobly, like an explorer.
This isn't going to blow over any time soon.
I decide to work on his weakness, as women have done for centuries:
"Are you hungry, Lar? How about a double bacon cheeseburger from Burger Barn?"
We set off, leaving Crabby to his fate.
We're almost there,
to that palace of deep-fried happiness,
where I will get a large order of french fries and a strawberry shake,
and Larry will have his burger and regain his equilibrium,
and his not not-endearing Larryness.
It could have happened,
smooth as a dolphin's back,
Just half a block from our blissful calorie explosion,
who do I see coming our way, but Gina.
Gina, who I loved more than babies love their blankies,
more than pyros love a match,
more than anything, really, in all this world,
and she just walks right by without a word.
Then I am crying, just like that,
and I can't stop.
Larry, who never knew Gina or what she meant to me,
looks over and, saints bless him,
knows better than to say anything.
He just takes my hand and squeezes it like a stress ball,
and I love him for it, speechlessly, through my tears.
*This is for Out Of Standard, with Isadora, who asked us Toads to use one of an array of first lines for our poem today. The first line of this is the one I chose. I plead guilty to having written the rest.