Welcome to episode 15 of Messin’ with Mark, God’s Sitcom. If you are unfamiliar with this show, basically God plays pranks on me for heaven’s amusement. This has been going on my entire life. It’s the only explanation for the ridiculous stuff that happens to me.
This particular event took place only a few days after the story I posted last week when my then best friend Matt and I were walking across a low, narrow bridge covered with frogs when work trucks began to pass, squashing them and splattering frog parts and/or juice all over us.
As with most of these stories, they are funny now, but not so funny at the time. So sit back, pour yourself a hot toddy, and prepare yourself for a tale so unbelievable, it can only be called . . .
ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS!
Oh, wait a minute, somebody else already used that one.
Anyway, Matt and I had gone to the island of Maui with my parents. We were eighteen so, of course, our thoughts revolved mostly around girls, surfing, tanning, music, girls, beach volleyball, girls, bodybuilding, and girls.
I came home early from the beach one night and was watching an episode of All in the Ohana on the TV, Hawaii’s answer to All in the Family, when Matt came in and said, “I met a girl. She’s coming over. Get out.” After grumbling a bit, I grabbed a blanket and a bottle of wine and went to the beach.
It was almost dark by the time I got there so I found a nice spot with soft sand, spread out my towel next to a fallen log, and sipped at the wine until I fell asleep. I awoke several hours later in searing pain. Something was pinching my thigh. I sat up but it was so dark, I couldn’t see a thing. As my eyes adjusted, I saw what appeared to be giant rocks distributed in the sand all around me, which was odd because when I arrived there were no rocks anywhere. I stood up and, to my horror, all the rocks stood up, too. They were not rocks. They were crabs. GIANT crabs. And they were getting ready to eat me. The pinch on the thigh was just a test to see if I was good and thoroughly dead.
They must have been very disappointed when they found out I was alive. One would think that would be enough for them to say, “Oh, well. So much for that. Let’s get home, guys.” But no. My being alive didn’t seem to discourage them at all. They stood their ground as if to say, “No problem. We can wait.”
“But I’m only eighteen,” I told them. “You’ll be waiting a long time.” They looked at each other then took a step toward me as if to say, in their silent, clickity, crab-like way, “That’s not a problem, either. We’ll just hurry the process along a bit.”
It was at this point that I decided to demonstrate who was boss to these lowly crustaceans, for I was a human being, damn it, and they would have respect for me or else! I took a big step toward them, kind of like stepping over the line drawn in the sand by a schoolyard bully. But not only did they not retreat into the ocean, they all took another step toward me, in complete unison like a very ugly army.
This was quite disconcerting for a city boy from Los Angeles. I was a surfer but apparently, California crabs are both tiny and ‘fraidy cats compared to their Hawaiian counterparts. I looked behind me for an escape route but there were dozens of them there, too. I recalled what a karate teacher had told me once – “If you ever get into a fight with more than one guy, always hit the big guy first.” The biggest crab was not hard to spot. He was front and center, obviously the Admiral leading his soldiers to the chow hall, and I was the chow.
Determined to die a lion and not a lamb, I looked for a weapon and saw a big rock wedged under the log I had been lying next to. I picked it up and unceremoniously dropped it on the Admiral. There was a sickening combo squish/crunch sound and all ten of his legs shot straight out in every direction.
“That was easy!” I thought. If I only had a few hundred more big rocks and they would all stand still, I could finish off the entire platoon.
I was sure this would discourage his army. No luck. They just got more angry and started chasing me around the beach. Apparently, one of them had said, “Hey! He killed Admiral Snappy Claws! Get him!”
Remember that scene in Rocky when Rocky Balboa chases the chicken around? It was kind of like that, except I was the chicken.
I finally leapt over them in an athletic display that would have landed me a spot on the Olympic Track-and-Field team if anyone was there to see it. In my memory, those crabs chased me to the edge of the highway, clicking their claws in anger and yelling, “We’ll get you next time, haole boy!”
Shaken and pale, I returned to the room and knocked the door. Matt yelled, “Come in!” I entered and saw him watching TV alone. The tryst he was hoping for hadn’t panned out, which was just as well for me, because I needed to tell someone about the harrowing experience I had just endured. He didn’t believe a word of it. Then I remembered I had proof of the giant monster crabs – Admiral Snappy Claws stuck under that big ol’ rock!
We went back to the beach and there he was, all alone. His loyal army had deserted him. Maybe they were glad he was dead. Maybe he was a total bastard and they were all fed up with his abuse. Maybe they were just pretending to be mad when I squashed him in case he survived and had them all drawn and quartered for mutiny. In any case, there he lay, his career of eating tourists finally at an end.
A year after I returned home from that trip, I got a mysterious post card in the mail. Here it is –
Needless to say, I was very impressed with his English skills. One also had to wonder how he mailed that postcard. Did he wait in line at the post office? If so, how did he get through the door? Anyway, as always, I’m sure watching me get chased all over that beach by killer crabs gave God, Jesus and their heavenly host of angels big laughs on that widescreen in heaven.
Years passed and I thought I was over it until a few weeks ago when I broke into a cold sweat while watching Moana with my daughters, thanks to this character –
Not funny, Disney. And, as always, well played, God. Well played.