How I Love Protagonists (Sexually)

Author’s note: Here is an article I found on my Google Drive this morning. I don’t know if it ever got published. Enjoy!


How I Love Protagonists (Sexually)

There are a lot of games I play where I fall in love with the characters in wholesome ways, where I end up at the end of the game and wanting to spend more time with them. It could be that I feel empathetic about them, their plight, the way they were treated, or maybe I identified with their goals or history.

For some reason, Natalya from Goldeneye comes to mind. Now now, I know in the game she was a terrible nuisance, which is a wonderful way to describe the constant way she ran in front of my horribly automatic machinegun with a nudist-colony type of abandon. But I had seen the movie, and I had watched her fall into the crater created by the Goldeneye blast. I watched how she bewilderedly and softly stepped through the sparking wreckage of the Bunker after watching all of her friends get murdered. I marveled at her ingenuity at being able to hide in the cabinet after making it look like she hid in the ducts.

Yes, after the 4th time she ran in front of my gun, and I stopped my shrieking for her violent death (which had really already been fulfilled), I remembered the memories that made her one of my favorite characters, and a true ‘Bond Girl’.

The way that I love Natalya doesn’t hold a candle for the fervor with which I hold Kaidan Alenko. My friends will tell you that my dedication (they would say fanaticism or obsession) to Alenko translates to a Tumblr filled with images and fanfiction of Alenko and John Shepard in a wide range of relationships.

Like the way I fell in love with Natalya, Kaidan’s softer demeanor radiates with me. He’s protective of his friends, fiercely loyal, and holds his values close to his chest. He’s logical, but also contains a personality expressive of emotion.

I think it’s important to say that I haven’t even played the Citadel DLC yet. I was actually restarting my Mass Effect character (Joshua Shepard, a blond Paragon with a mustache and a flavor-saver) by reimporting him and getting him to level 60 in order to min/max my playthrough for ONE FINAL TIME. I got to the middle of Mass Effect 2 before losing interest, BUT when I finally do get to the third one, I am going to romance the shit out of Kaidan for the second time, because he’s worth it and get that Citadel apartment so I can do him in the fanciest of digs.

There is a lot of polite banter on the internet about Kaidan’s sexuality. Some say he’s straight, others gay, and all kinds of Kinsey-scales in between. But here’s the wonderful part of Mass Effect: the choices. This is the only time I can tell you that being gay is a choice. You can make your wonderful Jane or John Shepard, and set them free to rip the clothes off of the same sex.

Regardless of who he’s fucking, he’s that guy that you’ve waited your entire life for because he knows who you are, completely. He knows what you’re capable of, and he knows how to support that, and push you forward.

And that ass.

There is a ridiculously low count of gay characters in video games. Here is a list of games with gay characters that I know of:

1) Mass Effect.

This is probably another reason I’m such a fan of Kaidan, because he represents me. He makes me feel welcome in a land meant for the straight adult male.

I’m exceedingly lucky in my life because I don’t deal with a lot of horribly blatant homophobia. If people make me feel uncomfortable, I just mute/block/defriend/unfollow them. I would like to think I’d call people out on it, but I think really I’d just ignore it. So if someone made me feel bad for making two characters burning-in-church gay, I’d tell them to fuck themselves, and move on.

Besides my homobro Kaidan, another character that I fell in love with, is Vaas Montenegro from Far Cry 3, only partly because of the game. I’m going to say right now that I did not finish that game. I played the shit out of it, but then there was a bunker and I heard a snake. The realism of the snakes biting your arm made me too much of a pussy to play.

The reason I wanted to start playing it is because of Vaas. I started by watching the Youtube videos of him torturing Chris and man, I fell in love. This guy was as terrible a person as I am. Just like Kaidan hit the parts of me that were soft and lovable, Vaas hit the parts of me that were cruel and vengeful. This was a guy I could crush my enemies with. He was a man that wouldn’t judge me for getting out of a vehicle and destroying a bitch for cutting me off at a stop sign by my house.

And that accent! The artful way his mouth moves and the way he picks and pronounces his words. He was a thoughtful asshole. He’s bright, he’s articulate, he’s clever.

Michael Mando is the man who both voiced and modeled for Vaas. When I looked at his other roles, I found that he has a history of playing men who are just the slightest bit off-kilter. I watched a dramatic slice of a movie where he argues with a woman he impregnated, eventually the two get into a fight; he punches her stomach. It is not easy to watch, but he’s a powerful actor.

I’ve always been a fan of Ulfric Stormcloak. He’s an attractive Nord, with a voice that could tear you to pieces (haha, I got jokes). This is a man that is dedicated to his cause and will give his life and the life of everyone else to restore the name of Talos to the pantheon of the Gods.

Four times out of five I sided with Ulfric because he is a genuine badass. The man killed a king! He killed an ally in the name of his God. He tore his province in half and would rather risk destruction than give up the name of his Savior.

He certainly doesn’t make an argument for picking your battles, but if you hear him talk to his general Galmar Stone-fist, his love and passion for the countryside he was fighting to free from the religious oppression of the asshole Thalmor is illustrated brilliantly.

I mentioned his voice in passing, but the richness and depth of his voice makes me wet. Vladimir Kulich’s voice makes me want to go to his house and record everything he ever says.

“Where is the newspaper?”

“Can you get me some juice?”

“I would like a McDouble with extra cheese, and super-size my fries with a large blood of my enemies.”

Can you even imagine him talking dirty? Um, sorry, I need a moment.

An Xbox Live friend and I like to text dirty pictures of video game characters back and forth. He shared some wonderful pictures of mechanic Ellis riding on tough-guy biker Francis, both from Left4Dead, while I shared Kaidan getting his dick sucked by John Shepard.

He has a thing for Ellis while I prefer Francis because he hates everything. I feel like we could ruminate well together over all the woes of everyday life, like airplanes, the army, Ayn Rand, barns, Bill’s plan, birds, boats, boat people, bridges, Canada, car alarms, churches, the cold, cops, doctors, elevators, electric fences, fish, flying, generators, goodbyes, helicopters, hospitals, hotels, islands, jumping, lawyers, malls, mazes, mondays, mountains, parades, prisons, sewers, small towns, snow, stairs, steam pipes, subways, suicide missions, Tanks (both zombies and the military types?), trains and their yards, tunnels (sorry Tunnelman), turnpikes, vampires, vans, boomer vomit, walking, whispering, woods, and finally, zombies.

Seriously, that is only what I found on a list on the internet. I’m sure he hates many, many more things, like cold barns full of flying fish hunted by birds saying goodbyes by a train-themed hotel guarded by police officers.

That’s some pretty awesome characterization right? But no, Francis doesn’t stop there! He cares about his friends; he knows he will only survive if they work as a team. All four characters mourn and cuss upon the death of any of their allies.

His muscles don’t hurt my perception of him either.

So I guess the point of all my words are that you fall in love with a character because of their characterization: their flaws, their pros and cons, their lovely faces, their sadistic smiles, and most of the time in my case, the way their bodies wear those clothes (because seriously Kaidan, look at dat booty).

These characters draw you back because you are immersed in their survival and their stories. If Vaas, Kaidan, Ulfric, and Francis only had their looks about them, eventually I would get bored, but something about their personalities makes me want to find out everything about them! I want to know how Kaidan drinks his coffee. Does he prefer like I do (full of sugar but no cream, to cut down on calories)? Does Francis get his vests from the Buckle like I would (doubtful)? Would Ulfric invite me to some creepy Talos ritual where we dance naked in Windhelm? Most importantly, would Vaas pull on my nipple rings and call me a bitch before he jabs his tongue down my throat? These are things I want to know!

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SA

Today I arrived in San Antonio for the first time in probably two decades. My main reason for picking SA was the River Walk and also it is close to Dallas. 

Originally I scheduled this trip To go with my “boyfriend” of five months but he broke up with me on the night before, 9 hours before departure, so I rescheduled when the hotel wouldn’t refund my reservation. (That’s the first of a couple of fuck yous.)

I rescheduled to April 15 but got impatient so Wednesday I moved my move to NOW. I shoved the dog in the car and jumped on the road. A mere five hours and one Buc-Ees later, here I am! Only to find that the hotel staff scheduled me for Saturday and not Friday. PISSED. I demanded (asked, really, cause I’m a bitch) for a refund and he suddenly made it work. Thanks Crockett Hotel. 

I threw my shit in the room, took a shower and dragged my anxiety prone dog down to the River Walk, ABSOLUTELY DEDICATED to the river barges. 

But like, don’t forget it, the Alamo is right across from the hotel. Simba took a shit there. I find it appropriate because that place is tiny and had a crush of people and was generally disappointing. People really should forget the Alamo. 

Don’t forget the Alamo they say, where a bunch of stubborn white dudes hated Mexicans more than they wanted to live and thus just threw their lives away. Good job white people. You’ve made feeling persecuted an art. 

After shitting on the Alamo, we hit the River Walk. It’s pretty, for sure. It is also lined with restaurants and chains. I made the circle in an hour. It hit me, wait this bridge looks familiar and YES I had completed the circle to my disappointment. Now to get on a boat, the elated highlight of my trip because I planned to lie there like a rich fucker with the spray on my face like a yachting shitlord. 

NOPE. NO DOGS ALLOWED. 

I much prefer Simba’s company to a boat, but I was thoroughly disheartened. Matthew at the Salt Grass on the RW was cute and my consolation as we fucked on a stolen barge piloted by an Italian. Jk. He just was cute and I was drunk after one Coronita Margarita. I fed bits of my chicken sandwich to Simba to reward him for not being a whiny asshole like me on the walk. 

After that I went back to the hotel and laid around depressed, watching Futurama, before going back to the RW. FUCK IT, I screamed, IM SOAKING UP RIVERBOAT VICARIOUSLY. 

This is when I realized Simba is better looking than me. People like him a lot more and I have to give props to the lovely couple and their child who cooed over Simba for a good five minutes and cheered me up. It really was a nice memory. 

Back to the hotel, I watched NatGeo’s Brain Games while trying to figure out how to trick Simba into being quiet when I leave for the bar. I’ll skip details but it involves me sprinting from the room, tucking and rolling to grab my sneakers, and slamming the door behind me. Sorry Simba. Can’t get drunk with you. That’s irre*HIC*sponsible. 

Day two edit:

The Gaybars in SA are, in my biased opinion, not as good as Dallas. I base this on a couple of things:

  1. The bars are huge and this look empty. Dallas has this problem too. 
  2. The drag show I watched at Pegasus had a small area for seating and I left wondering if they they ever have a packed house. 
  3. Essence was really fun but like Marty’s Live in Dallas, has way too much space. 
  4. I walked south to Bonham Exchange, somehow losing my credit card on the way or at a bar previously? Have you ever drunkenly tried calling a bank to cancel a card at 1 am. Please try to avoid it. 
  5. The Bonham Exchange is HUGE, and doesn’t have the square feel of Station4. Which makes it confusing? I kept humming the Luigi’s Mansion theme, which is actually normal for me, but appropriate. 

After that I went back to my motel and grabbed Simba and we headed to the hotel bar. There was a group there; I talked for a while, walked Simba and then went to the room where I ordered domino’s pizza. I ate the whole pizza and then passed out. 

I checked out early the next morning at 9 only to find HEY YOU OWE 90 DOLLARS. 

JESUS. Since I didn’t have a credit card and my debit was empty, they just had to bill me. 

Ive never been so happy to see Dallas. Simba agrees. 

Tweets4Jesus

Yesterday as I lay in bed, waiting for sleep to take me like a stranger in the night, I got to thinking, where is all the fan fiction for Jesus? So I came up with some prompts. If you write them, please tag me on Twitter or Tumblr: @cordinbleu.

  • Where is the JesusXJudas betrayal fanfiction?
  • What about an epic tragedy fanfiction where Noah has to leave his gay lover to drown because he hogs the remote?
  • AU where Moses carves the commandments onto stone dildos.
  • That seven year famine was really just because the farmers were sucking too much dick.
  • Sure it’s fine if Adam fucks donkeys but Eve eats one apple and suddenly they’re homeless.
  • Dr Who and his companion Jesus
  • The 12 Teenage Mutant Ninja Disciples
  • The parting of the Red Sea was just allegory for menstruation and gang bangs
  • Burning Bush?
  • It was the Romans, with the crucifix, on the hill!
  • MPreg!Joseph has an affair with the innkeeper. Mary sighs and simplys fluffs the hay into a bed.
  • AU where the three wise men are the three stooges. Come on, I am sure this already exists.
  • “Whatcha thinkin’ ’bout?” Pharaoh asks.
    “Oh nothing. Plague stuff.” Moses says, curling a finger through his hair.
  • Wait was that Moses? Shit. I can’t remember. Just consider it a crossover.
  • “Sampson, your strength is so BIG.” “And I never trim my hair either babe.” WINK.
  • Jesus as a rebellious teenage who takes to hip hop to mature his powers.
  • Jesus turns Israel into wine.

Okay I’m done. Please turn in your fanfics soon.

The next morning I also mentioned this gem, in relation to Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare: “I think the thing that bothers me so much about holding X to pay respects is that they’ve removed all emotion from it. “Press X, move on.” But then again, I spent a half hour tweeting fanfic prompts about Jesus, so what do I know.”

31 Days of Writing – Day 5

(Day 4)

Menapa and the Magic – Day 5

Every time that her father took her into Limsa, the city smelled like fried fish. That was no surprise of course, but Menapa still loved it. The salty air from the ocean, the warm cooking drifting on the breeze, and the shouts of the sailors unloading and loading the ships (the big ships, not those dinky rowboats) always excited her.

She held her father’s hand as her face jerked to each new sight. “It’s been forever since I’ve been here, daddy!” she squeaked, watching a fishwife rinse a half-fileted fish in a bucket of water.

Her father chuckled, “It’s only been a couple of weeks, daughter,” he told her while only barely glancing down at her. Instead, he led her through the crowd with his eyes forward.

“I know! Forever!” she cried, giving a little hop for emphasis.

Their footsteps on the rocks were lost in the occasional pealing of a ship’s bell, the calls of the merchants, and bellowing back and forth between meaty dock workers.

Limsa structured itself on the defensible pillars of Hydaelyn, natural rock formations that speared out of the ocean. Buildings were building into the sides, tops, and hung from them. The sea salt, carried on the wind, bleached the stone white. Bridges were erected from pillar to pillar to facilitate the growth of the city, and from a distance, backlit from the sun, it took the appearance of a fisherman’s net.

Wirvan’s goal lay high and closer to the Lominsan Island than the rest of the city. The Arcanists’ guild may not dwell as much on the sea as the rest of its people, but it would be unwise to tell them that. They were Lominsans, made up from the pirates and natives that were rumored to have crawled straight from the sea centuries ago.

The entry was placed past a tunnel and down a set of stairs, with an abrupt right turn into a tall wooden carved door. After a small square foyer, the space opened into a gigantic room with a towering ceiling. An entire pillar of Hydaelyn was dedicated to their guild and they took up all the space, crammed with books on high shelves and quiet people. It was dim after the bright sunlight outside, and the small windows high above them didn’t seem to let in enough light.

Not a head looked up when then entered, save for a seated, bespectacled woman. She brusquely slammed her book shut upon noticing them and ratcheted a smile onto her face that grew with each step closer. “Look at you!” she crooned to the little girl, before she looked up to the father.

“Hi!” Menapa replied with a carefree wave.

“I’d like to speak to someone about—“ Wirvan started, but he was interrupted.

“I know!” the woman exclaimed, hopping off her stool and exiting the small desk she sat behind. “Your little girl just summoned her first carbuncle, am I right? Where is it? You did bring it didn’t you? It’s very important to bring your first because their temperaments can be flitting things, and dedication is paramount—“

“No, she didn’t summon…that…whatever that is,” he huffed, his eyebrows meeting together to display his irritation. “We need advice.”

The woman looked a little crestfallen. “Well I’m glad you just didn’t forget to bring it.”

“I used nature!” Menapa puffed her chest out, planting her hands on her hips, and showing a full, bright smile with all her teeth.

“Nature?” the woman cocked her head, “The Arcanists don’t deal with nature. You’ll have to go to Gridania for that. She’s a conjurer. I should have seen it from the start. The cutest little conjurer, I’ve ever seen!” she crowed, putting her hands on her knees and smiling at the little girl, who somehow smiled even wider.

31 Days of Writing – Day 4

(Author’s note: I’m getting really behind because of Independence Day. I plan to catch up today!)

Menapa and the Magic – Day 4

(Day 3)

“Honey, I felt what she did. I don’t know what we’re going to do about her.” Mirta stood with her hands resting on the back of a wooden dinner chair, staring at her husband, a dirty-faced man hunched over a bowl of chunky broth, with a spoon tucked between his fingers, and a hand on his knee.

He sighed and brought a spoonful to his mouth, slurping. “We’re not going to do anything about her. She’s our daughter.” He met her eyes with no resistance. “She’ll learn how to control it.”

“I’m not worried about that!” she snapped, and when his eyebrows rose in surprise, she continued after taking a breath. “I’m worried she’ll just become another adventurer. She won’t have a future if she’s recruited by the Maelstrom.”

“The army won’t even know about her,” he countered, though he wasn’t sure. It seemed that the Maelstrom was full of soldiers with the unique powers his wife had described. After another slurp of his broth, he asked her again, “There was no one else around?”

Her mouth tightened, eyes narrowing to slits. One of the first questions her husband had asked her had been “Is it possible someone else used that kind of power and you just didn’t see it?” She had assured him in most definite words that she had not made a mistake.

“Sorry, okay, okay.” He waved a hand, dismissing his reluctance to believe her. “I’ll take her to the Arcanists’ guild tomorrow.” He pushed his bowl away from him, scooting his chair back to stand. “Don’t worry,” he told her, brushing her hair from her face; “it’s really a blessing. You know how rare it is to have that kind of skill.”

“I don’t want her to be exploited, Wirvan,” she said, pressing her cheek into the rough canvas covering his chest while wrapping her arms around him, taking comfort with his warmth.

Later as he put his daughter to bed, with a careful tucking of her blanket around her, he told her, “Your mom told me how brave you were today.”

She brightened instantly as the lantern light danced across her face. “I used nature! It’s always there; I love it, daddy.” She gave a little wiggle with her shoulders, excited.

“It is, yes, daughter,” he hesitated, wishing he could explain, “Nature is all around us, and protects us.” He motioned all around the two of them.

She nodded vigorously, eyes wide, staring at different parts of the ceiling.

Leaning in, whispering in a hushed voice, “But you shouldn’t rely on it to save you. Make good choices, and stay safe. Nature protects us, but it gets tired of doing it all the time.”

“Aww, why does it get tired?”

“Well, it’s just like your mom getting tired of picking up your clothes.”

She cocked her head questioningly, “But daddy,” she paused to think, “How is that the same? Nature doesn’t wear clothes.”

“If you relied on your mother to pick up your clothes all the time, how long do you think it’d take for her to get mad at you?”

“Oh,” she realized.

“You can’t ever abuse the generosity of nature.” He kissed her forehead. “Get some sleep okay? Tomorrow, I’ll take you into town and we can get those fish sticks you like so much.”

“I’m sleeping right now!” she exclaimed, and clenched her eyes closed.

“Sshhh, shhh, that’s a good girl.”

After a small giggle, she pulled the quilt up over her mouth and sank lower in the bed. “Good night daddy,” she called.

“Good night sweety.”

31 Days of Writing – Day 3

Menapa and the Magic – Day 3

(Day 2)

Mirta pulled, her feet slipping in the sand. The sandals could find no purchase. She heard her shirt ripping, but the crab pulled her backward all the same. Mirta tossed her daughter into the sand, “Run!” she yelled, her voice cracking.

Her feet touched the sand, but Menapa stumbled, falling to her knees, catching herself with her hands in the sand, in the shadow of the beast. Her face whipped back to her mother. Mirta turned to hit the crab claw with the bottom of her fists.

“Mommy!” she cried, trying to stand.

She screamed, “Go, Mena!” punctuated by the weak thump against the hard chitinous material. Clack went the small claw, and opened again, moving towards the woman with no rush.

“You let her go, crab!” Menapa scolded it, stomping into the sand.

She could feel it then, as a breeze tickled the hair on her arms, sliding across the back of her neck: nature.

The crab’s claw raked at her mother’s side, the rough cuticle cutting through the shirt, jabbing into her side. Mirta grunted, the air knocked out of her, the pain distracting her. She tried to take a breath, feeling the liquid run down her side, hot and sticky. It seemed to burn her, and for the first time, panic took control. “Go please! Now!” she yelled flinging an arm out, pointing. She collapsed to her knees, held up by the shirt in the claw.

The sight of the blood on her mother startled her and Menapa fixated on a trail running to the band of the pants around her mother’s hips.

The wind became stronger, the grains misting against Menapa’s legs. She could feel the earth around her; she could feel the tiny broken stones surround her body. She could use them. She looked at her hands, her palms sticky with the coating from her playtime in the sand. Her fingers folded over the wet palms with a slap.

She looked into one of those empty crab eyes, and saw nothing. “Let her go!” she screamed, stepping forward, with her voice high. It hurt her throat, she was hoarse, but it reminded her of the sand; it reminded her of the nature on which they stood.

Grabbing one of her mother’s arms, she pulled. The crab didn’t relent. Clack. Clack.

“Help me!” she called.

“Menapa, I can’t! Run! Go!”

Menapa wasn’t talking to her mother, though. The tiny little grains swirled under the sea creature. The grains melted together as they surged upward to the sky. A rumbling vibrated their feet. The earth pushed the energy upward.

“Let her go!” she screamed, shaking the tears from where they had washed away her face’s dirt down to her chin.

The nature pulsed from inside her; the earth exploded from the sand. The jagged earthy brown rockspear pierced the crab, carrying it and her mother upward. The legs of the crab met Menapa’s eyelevel. Her face scrunched up in revolt as water streamed down the spear.  

The knifepoint cut through the top of the crab’s shell, slick and wet. The crab’s legs shuddered, trying to move it, to free itself.

The claw released her mother into the sand. Menapa went to her: “Mommy! Are you alright?” She held her mother’s head with both hands on the woman’s cheeks.

Her mother appraised her, her eyes moving from Menapa’s face, to her shoulders and across her body. “I’m fine. Did it hit you?”

“No!” she exclaimed, a smile breaking across her face. She could feel the power of nature receding. She turned back to the rocky pillar piercing the crab. She could almost see the energy holding the sand. It oozed back into the earth and the knife melted to sand. Riding the breeze, the sand drifted onto to the beach. 

31 Days of Writing – Day 2

Menapa and the Magic – Day 2

(Day 1)

In the surf, about twenty yalms to sea, the water crested and frothed. The breeze spurred the waves, but not enough to push them with any menace. Both Mirta and Menapa agreed, even before they left the house, that this was a perfect day to come to the sands of La Noscea, with the blue city of Limsa in view to the west.

Reaching out of the sea like pillars of stone in a cave, the islands and their large structures hid the dawn for a couple of moments simply because the sun had to rise over the city to shine on their abode. Now in the afternoon, the sun was far overhead, more towards dusk than dawn, light reflecting off of the waves.

It was searing. Menapa let go of the sand in her hands, and clapped her hands together to shake the grains off her sweaty palms. She stood, sand pouring off her shirt and pants. The surf tickled her toes, and she stomped each foot, back and forth, giggling and splashing. She twirled with her arms out, feeling the breeze.

Dizzy, she heard a clacking sound, snapping. She thought someone had taken her wooden miner’s axe (it looked just like her father’s) and was hitting a stone with it, but the sound was irregular and dulled by distance. She looked down the beach one way, shielding her eyes with a hand, but the sound didn’t come from that way.

Clack, clack. After a pause she scanned across the beach to the other direction. Clack. Mommy stared down at something on the ground. “Makin’ potions…” she told herself, her voice eclipsed by clack, clack, clack.

She turned to the sea; water cascading off a red, jagged rock in the surf. “Ooooh…” she sighed, “a shell!” She let out a holler and bounced from foot to foot, jabbing her fists out in a little dance. “Mommy!” she called over her shoulder, “Look! It’s a pretty shell washing up the beach!”

Her mother hesitated, struggling to add the correct amount of fluid to the alembic. Sometimes these recipes had to be precise. She heard her daughter, and would look up in just a moment, staring absorbedly at the line in the measuring cup she had placed in the sand evenly.

As it neared the line, she slowed her pour. Carefully, carefully, she topped it to the guideline, pulling away her pitcher. She exhaled, relieved. Her voice preceded her eyes, “Mena, what kind of shell is—“ and her eyes widened. Her exhale reversed into a gasp. “Mena, come here! Come here now!”

She dropped her pitcher into the sand, the soft sshhh of it catching no attention from her. She leapt to her feet, sand tinkling against the container as Mirta ran towards her daughter.

Menapa had never seen a crab as large as this one! She ooh’d over it, and it clacked its pinchers. She always wondered why one claw was larger than the other. Her father’s arms were the same size. Why are crabs different?

She heard her mother yelling, but the behemoth crab had all of her attention. “Look at those big eyes!” she exclaimed, for they were larger eyes than she had seen. They didn’t sit on two stalks, like the tiny little blue crabs she liked to pick up and set down and pick up and set down. These eyes were fixed closely to the front of the shell, and they frowned.

Skittering across the surf, splashing, and the wet surface looked rough, but not dull. The sunlight made it shiny.  Clack, its pincher snapped together, but it was much louder now. Clack. Clack clack. Clack. Menapa covered her ears as the ferocity of the clacking grew louder.

Her feet kicked the sand, ripped from the edge of the breaking surf, her mother heaving her backward and turning her back to the crab, wrapping her arms around her daughter. Clack.

“Mommy!” she shrieked, surprised. The crab’s pincher stabbed towards them, large and imposing. It missed Mirta’s arm, but snagged her shirt, drawing the two towards away from safety.