“The Lobster Holocaust” by Mike Wong

When I was younger, the creek was the place to be. It was a fascinating world full of countless wonderments for an adventurous rascal to discover. When I think back to my happy, outdoor, childhood memories, when I was quite a different sort of boy, the creek always had something to do with it, whether I was in the creek at the time, or if I used the creek as a faster route of travel. The creek didn't save its marvels for me alone, however. Besides my friends, who also spent too much time in the off-limit area, there was evidence of other children, as occasionally new trails would appear, or fresh cut names in trees. Also, the creek seemed to be a favorite spot of the homeless, as once and a while I would run into a camp of some sort, luckily with the tenant not currently in, though I can't for the life of me ponder out why anyone would choose the creek. Getting through the day in the creek is simple. Living through the night, with the various creepy crawlers, well, that is a different matter all together. Sometimes the creek would change. Usually, creek fences would be repaired by the City of Rohnert Park, as many a lazy soul felt that a hole is a lot less trouble than vaulting over a chain link fence. Fires were popular, and I came across lots of burnt fields, since about everything in the creek was dry. One aspect of the creek that never changed was the cray fish, or the lobsters, as the kids and I called them. They were usually in crimson abundance, which was always a delight. If boredom took hold, I could always turn to the lobsters, for they never ceased to astonish me.

I am sure that the main reason I took to the creek was the absence of parental control. Sure, I also went to be with my friends, who were always there, and of course because there was always something to do in there, but the freedom of youth was the ultimate privilege. In the creek, you could say or do whatever came to mind, as long as it didn't require money. I abused that freedom, and participated in events that were quite disreputable, yet it was all in the spirit of youngling adventure.

The most interesting thing, in retrospect, that I ever partook in, was the routing of the lobsters, the besting of the cray fish. These crustaceans never seemed to take any hostile interest in us, the habitat-spoilers, unless they were manhandled or invaded in some form. Still, their pinch was tight, so I had heard, and for that the unworldly children as evil incarnate looked them upon. I myself was always careful around the beasts, picking them up gently and with my hand adeptly placed on their spine, so the claws never found purchase. So I really didn't view them as dangerous, though I too saw them as hellspawn, for how could so many others be wrong, especially friends. It was a very impressionable period of age, that, with the dares and so forth, and peer-pressure getting its sudden jump in popularity. It wasn't peer pressure that made me think that the lobster holocaust, which didn't have a name then, was a great idea. I don't remember what made we want to do such a destructive thing, but it isn't really important, if you realize I was about 10 years old. In the most likelihood of events, I was bored, and it was something entertaining to do. So I did it.

There were six of us on this excursion, and it was sometime in the summer. It isn't important who the people were, since little boys tend to be the same, and we were all little boys. Realizing that such an undertaking would require the proper tools; we each came up with a bucket, pretty deep but lightweight, from our respective homes. Mine was an orange Halloween basket, shaped like a pumpkin. We all met at one boy's house, waiting for him to finish his lunch. It was one of those interesting scenes I so vividly remember. Us boys on the porch, for his mother distrusted letting such rabble destroy her lovely furniture, the boy wanting to leave, desperately, arguing his case by saying he wasn't hungry, and the like. Finally, he was allowed out, with a stern and motherly look. I loved those days, where you could just go to someone's house and ask if they could go out and play, rather than the days of the new where appointments are necessary. After chastising the boy for making us wait, we set off for the fence.

Every boy knows how to climb a fence, at that age, and it was not a difficult task to swiftly get over into the dirty, unsupervised creek, even with barb wire threatening to snatch a piece of loose clothing. Once over, the search began. We walked along the muddy floor, careless of where we stepped; we searched for the lobsters as the SS searched for the Jewish in World War II. Every one we found would go into the bucket. Every now and then there would be a puddle that was too deep to hop, and we would have to go around it, up onto the yellow weeded bank. For the most part, though, the summer heat had evaporated most of the regular stream, giving the whole area a withered quality. Eventually, as it began to get cold, we had so many cray fish that it would be a hazard to add more to the buckets, as one might spill out and exact its just revenge. So, now we had to decide what to do with the 60+ lobsters. One of us had a whimsical brainstorm, and I don't think it was I, for I would have remembered such a malicious thought. We boys would go to an exit off the creek, which led to a busy street.

I didn't know what rush hour was, then, but I knew that at this point, with it beginning to get dark, the cars would be everywhere. With over-exhilaration at what we were going to do, due to unused adrenaline, we crouched at the sides of the street waiting for a good opportunity. Finding one, all six of us ran into the temporarily empty street and deposited the buckets of lobsters. Bless me, but this moment was going to be one of the most satisfying moments of my life.

It was these next few minutes that I most remember today. With elation on par with my first fireworks display, I jumped up and down. Then, the first car came, not knowing what it was about to do. With a sickening crunch, lobsters began to die. They bleed yellow, and I remember thinking that was odd. As the cars kept coming, the street became more and more yellow, and not one car stopped. I could see the blood on the tires as the vehicles sped away, for they had an almost fluorescent quality. There were scrambling lobsters, trying in vain to get to water and mud, and just ending up confused and dead. There were some lobsters that had only parts of their bodies run over, and they still tried to move away, they didn't give up. What struck me as odd was that not one of the pseudo-lobsters was able to escape; though if one did we would probably have put it back for another round. When the carnage was over, we went home, for it was dark. I didn't tell me mom what I had done, for I would definitely have been punished.

Something odd: I felt no remorse for my sins, for taking life, for being a murderer. It was just another day, a fun day, and a great day. I slept well, I am sure. Also, I feel fine about it now, writing about it. What this says about me as a person, I'd rather not discuss, so I will leave it at this: I was involved with the lobster holocaust, and I am glad to have known something so terribly bitter, yet so terribly sweet.