There were live lobsters in a tank. By live I mean barely alive because what kind of life can one have crammed in a water-filled container, crushing your friends who were unfortunately tossed in before you and being crushed by those above you. Your pride and joy (your pincers, obviously) are held together with a thick elastic band 😦 Life is no good when it’s spent in a lobster tank.

I told the acne-faced lad working behind the seafood counter that looking at the lobsters made me sad. He said that I shouldn’t look at them anymore but it was too late. I told him that the image was forever seared into my retinas.

After making a couple of loops around the store I headed back to the seafood counter and asked how much it would cost to buy all of the lobsters. Acne-face sighed.

“Look, I get this almost every day. Some animal-loving hippie comes in and berates me because there are lobsters in a tank. It’s no different from any other animal that we eat.”

I didn’t like his tone.

“Besides,” he continued, “what are you going to do with them once you buy them?”
“I shall set them free in a pond where they will live many years as happy lobsters.”
“They will die. They need salt water.”

Aha. Thwarted by someone who reads National Geographic magazines. I thought for a second and came up with a magnificent solution:
“Then I shall fill my bathtub with salt water and they will live there.”

The thwarter becomes the thwartee.

“So basically you’ll move them to a slightly larger tank.”

Oh, he is a clever one.

“I will fill the pond with salt.”
“First of all, you’d kill everything else living in the pond. Second, the pond is frozen over.”

I knew he was right.

“Ok,” I conceded, “before you kill them, at least let me say goodbye.”
The boy looked confused.
“You realize that these were never your lobsters. You didn’t even know that they existed until 15 minutes ago.”
“If you grant me this wish I’ll never ask you for anything ever again!”

Eventually he gave up. He handed me a pair of rubber gloves and pulled a lobster out of the tank.

“You can only hold it for a second.”

I dropped the lobster instantly. It was slippery and felt weird and I thought it was going to bite me. I tried to pick him up but as I did so, he slipped out of my hands again, into a bin containing half-price pita bread.

For reasons unclear to me, the boy started to yell and got his manager. I was trying to grab pinchy (this is what I named him) but I just kept pushing him further into the bin of pitas.

I was eventually taken into a back room where the manager told me that I had ruined the pitas and the lobster. I asked him if the pitas were 50% off because someone had done the same thing before me. He told me they were not. I told him that putting pitas beside a lobster tank was sub-optimal because (a) pitas do not go with lobsters, and (b) lobsters are difficult to fish out of pita bins.

He tells me that I am no longer welcome at this supermarket, but given what an interesting day it was, I think I’ll go back next year.