Capture | Paper Doll Tales

October 3 | Capture

I spent an afternoon on death row with two lobsters.

The white box marked with an ominous and unavoidable “Perishable” sat in my hallway.  As far from the door as I was willing to move it.  I feared jostling the contents.  Waking them from their ice-induced stupor.  Hearing their scratching, scritching attempts at escape all afternoon until their dinner death summons rolled around.

Cowardly me spent the afternoon in the far corner of our second story, as far away as I could get from the Perishable contents without actually moving their cage and doomed bodies to the curb for garbage pick up.

I don’t have a great love of lobsters.  Living or dead.

I remember well the childhood rite of passage standing at the lobster tank at the grocery story, transfixed by the waggling antennae and convinced that if I didn’t keep very, very close vigilance, one could somehow use those spindly, spidery legs to unhook the tank lid and come get me.  Conversely, I remember feeling sorry for the fate awaiting the dreadful little beasts.  I remember wanting to rescue one.  Or seven.  And then do what?  I had no clue.

My children had some ideas for the Perishable contents of our box.  “We could keep them as pets!” they chorused, cajoled, and campaigned.  “Pets!  Pets!  Pets!”  But life (and pet-hood) is just not an option for a lowly lobster.  It’s the ocean or the pot, I’m afraid.

So in my silent afternoon house, the lobsters lurked.  Living.  Breathing last breaths.  And I tiptoed around the box, giving it wary glances, as though those spindly, spidery legs would achieve miraculous ability to undo packaging tape and come tap me on my shoulder.  All day I felt some sort of pressure to eulogize their last minutes.  Me, them, and a silent house sitting shiva.

Capture | Paper Doll Tales

Pet or Pot were the options, so Pot it was.  I cowered (cowardly me) in the far corner of our second story, while below me the lobsters put up one last valiant bid at life, waving spidery appendages and clicking their mandibles in blind desperation to great shrieks of horrified delight from the girls.  James played Dragon Slayer to my Cowardly Lion and snuffed life from my afternoon death watch buddies.

Capture | Paper Doll Tales

We ate them.  They were delicious steamed with butter.  Death improved their looks quite a bit as well.

And that’s my story of how sometimes what we capture and dread and await comes and goes in a blink and what we feared would be so horrible actually tastes so sweet in the end.  That is, if we can live with the ghosts of what we’ve done.


For the month of October, I’m joining in on 31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes and so looking forward to the chance to notice and appreciate and set free the moments in life that bring joy in the midst of chaos.  It won’t take me long to write, following the rules to write an unedited response to a prompt in 5 minutes, but the insights and gratitude I gain in that short time will lift my soul skyward for the day.  Join me in reading!  Grateful for the challenge of Write 31 Days.


  1. Jo said:

    I love it! Well written, as always. But you have a kindred spirit in me who even hates to squash a bug let alone snuff out something as fascinating as a lobster trying to hold onto its life–like us all! But I am a cowardly hypocrite as I too drool and devour.

    October 3, 2015
  2. Papa Larry said:

    Another great writing. You really do this in five minutes? We’ve done live lobster thing once. A a friend’s house. Similar feelings prevailed with a different outcome. I ‘like’ lobster. I don’t ‘love’ lobster. 2 or 3 bites and I’m done. Nancy is the same. My two daughters, not so much.

    October 3, 2015
  3. Nancy said:

    I don’t even like it. Too rich. I love your writing. It makes October special.

    October 3, 2015

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