When the work week was done, Samantha transformed. The lust for fun that gleamed behind her beautiful blue eyes would be set free. Samantha was a devoted social worker by day, but evenings and weekends were devoted to games and getaways; time to vent the stress of a civilized grind. One holiday weekend trip was quite memorable - although for the life of me, I don't remember the exact holiday, nor do I remember the precise where or when. But it was somewhere along the eastern seaboard, and it had been sometime during that summer when hypodermic needles were washing up along the shores of New England. None of those minor details are what made the weekend so unforgettable, however.
Samantha had made reservations at a quaint bed and breakfast, a cozy little place a block off the beach. We arrived late afternoon, tired but not too tired for a quickie. Dinner and a few drinks capped off what was, at least from my perspective, the start of another great weekend.
The following day was a bona fide beach day; the kind of day that seems to come around far less frequently anymore, even with the advent of a warming globe. Save for the fingers of smog rising from the scalp of the distant cityscape, the views were perfect. Out over the ocean, the sky was postcard blue and graced with clouds that glowed like visual Valium, their images bringing calm with each address. Despite the inspiring sky, my attention was drawn to another sight. Samantha had joined a group playing Frisbee in the surf. And the view as she gamboled through the shallows in her new bikini with her new friends far exceeded the draw of any atmospheric mural, manmade or otherwise. There was something about finely estrogenized legs and bouncing female body parts that always seemed to have the greatest say over of my gaze. Especially in this case....where there was a fair chance that one of those body parts might accidentally slip out. Sure, I'd seen Samantha's breasts a hundred times before. But like seeing a lion on the African plains as opposed to a cage at a zoo, the thrill of viewing mammary's in captivity was far less fascinating than a chance sighting of a boob in the wild. A lesson learned years later by all humanity during a highly publicized wardrobe malfunction.
By noon, the beach was sardined, the invisible boarders of our personal space violated as much by physical as pheromonal drift. The beach started to take on a vibe somewhere between an inner city block party and a Greatful Dead concert. At one point a fight had broke out, several rowdy frat boys threw down with two grungy biker dudes and their grungy girlfriends, the dispute triggered by an alleged lewd comment. So when I suggested a walk along the shore to get away from the crowd for a spell, Samantha eagerly agreed, pouring out the dregs of her wine cooler and tossing it in the wire mesh garbage can already full with bottles and boxes and other recyclables yet to achieve the privilege of their own can.
As a grad student in oceanography and a naturalist at heart, I'd been looking forward to exploring the water's edge. Traipsing through the shallows and kicking over stones looking for aquatic life was nearly as exciting as Samantha's kiss - although I certainly never made mention of such. Given the calm of the bay, the setting was bound to be home to some really cool stuff. Just to the south, a motorboat had recently sunk, much of the nearby stretch of beach cordoned off and posted with hazard signs - probably the reason the north beach had become so packed. A salvage crew worked to reclaim the wreckage, most of the gnarled hull already lay sprawled on the deck of a barge - Humpty dumpty pieces to a thirty-two foot speed boat that had slammed into a jetty the prior evening, the apparent handiwork of a drunk driver. Despite the efforts of the salvage team, the shattered boat had already bled out, a sheen of oily albumen covering the south side of the bay. It had also made the decision as to which direction to walk a no brainer.
Beyond the throngs of humanity, the first fifty yards had yielded very few signs of life, although there was no shortage of bottle caps and cigarette butts and floating mats of gooey green algae. A myriad of shell frags tumbled musically amid the gentle surf. The tidal zone had already been combed like a crime scene, and was still under constant surveillance for potential keepsakes, any appealing sea shells ready to be snatched the instant they rolled ashore. Only a few steps farther, something caught my eye in the shallows of a sand bar. Edging nearer, I realized it was a big crab. As I waded out and leaned in closer I realized that it was actually two crabs, one on top of the other. The crab on the bottom was difficult to see, its fringes dusted in muck and eclipsed by the shell of its peer. I'd never seen such an arrangement. But based on the evidence, and the intuitive abilities of a big brain primate, the crabs were doing it.
Arriving to see for herself, Samantha found the whole affair quite entertaining. I couldn't tell for sure, but I even think she might have gotten turned on. She certainly had fun with the event as she pretended to talk dirty while doing her best crustacean impersonation. Stopping suddenly, she pointed to a spot just behind the crabs. Leaning in I realized there were several plastic syringes drifting with the motion of the ocean. To prevent anybody form getting stuck, I reached down and removed the hypodermics, careful not to get pricked myself, or pinched by the humping crustaceans.
From behind, we heard a squeaky little voice, ew...that's gross! Both of us turned. So enthralled by the spectacle were we that we hadn't noticed the arrival of a family, the foursome wading out to see what all the commotion was about. Although the epitome of the American family dynamic, two adults with 2.5 kids, this was not the Cleaver's. The father was a beer keg on legs, and covered in hair from neck to toe. His head was the only surface without hair and it glared with watts of welfared sunlight. The two offspring looked like they'd stepped right out of the movie Deliverance. In that instant, my mind flashed to a scene in the movie, the legendary scene of the mentally challenged boy playing dueling banjo's - the tune ringing likewise in my mind - dew dew dew dew, dew dew, dew dew, deeeeeew...
But the most disturbing image was that of the chick filling the niche of wife in this nuclear group gone horrible wrong. To call her a crack whore would be a monumental insult to all other crack whores around the world. The fact that she had a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other while clearly pregnant was nearly enough to make me hurl. The bun in the oven was well on its way to becoming a bouncing baby retard.
In the same exaggerated shrill the little girl cried out again. Ew...gross!
Gross? I didn't find the crabs particularly gross, but as a scientist that had yet to shed the inner child of an inquisitive little boy, I found most all creatures interesting, no matter how gooey or creepy or slimy or bizarre.
The beer keg was the one to speak next. "Them there crabs may be gross but they make gooood eatin!" In a similar redneck dialect the boy by his side agreed, serving as stanch validation to the apple-doesn't-fall-far-from-the-tree theory. The boy smiled and showed missing teeth, eerie foreshadow of an almost inevitable dental future. At maybe ten years old, the young lad had already begun to cultivate a sizable keg of his own.
At first, I thought the remark was all just an attempt at humor. But when the father began to lumber toward the crabs and reach to try and grab them, it was not I that came to the little critter's defense.
Samantha was sharp, no doubt about that. But to watch her quell the big hillbilly's assault was a sight to behold. After stepping in the way of the advancing grizzly she began a defense that was patently brilliant. I'll do my best to paraphrase. "wo,wo,wo... back off. You can't touch those crabs during this time of the year."
The salvo not only brought the hunter to a stop but it aroused a questioning expression. Whatta ya mean I can touch em? Was the obvious interpretation of the furrowing flab.
Samantha continued. "Don't you know that it's against the law to collect crabs form this area at this time of year? This area is considered a sanctuary from the start of May until the end of September; any removal of this species of crab will result in a hefty fine. I think it's like five hundred bucks." They say the most outlandish lies are the most believable. I couldn't fathom how she could know any of this, so I was pretty certain she was lying. But she sounded so darn convincing that she had me wonderfully baffled.
Samantha went on. "My brother works for the fish and wildlife commission; we were just discussing that very rule earlier today. If you want, I can go get him, he's here at the beach today, he's sitting right back over there next to the lifeguard's chair." Samantha pointed. Now I was certain she was lying, Samantha didn't even have a brother, and we'd come to the beach alone. Her deception could have fooled the devil himself.
That was enough, the man threw up his hands in standard I don't want any trouble fashion before turning to stalk off with family in tow, mumbling and disappointed, leaving the crabs to continue their business uninterrupted. Without a word, I gave Samantha a smile and playful swat on the rump. Samantha smiled back at me; her unique blend of free spirited intellect had always turned me on as much as her sexy figure. We then continued our walk along the beach.
Eventually the crowd thinned as we paralleled a residential area where a series of monolithic new condos were squeezed between sections of quaint clapboard homes yet to knuckle under to the obvious transition. An hour or so later we reached a canal and could go no further. It was time to turn around anyhow, it was getting late, and we were getting tired. Besides, given the dizzying stench of low tide and fresh brewed waste wafting from the canal, crossing the basin would be every bit as difficult as traversing a tar pit. Just as we'd turned a pickup truck with wheels the size of a lunar rover screeched to a halt on the other side of the canal, and two guys quickly jumped out. After looking to see if the coast was clear, they proceeded to dump bags of cut grass and detritus into the canal before speeding off. The canal was already depot to quite a bit of trash, including what appeared to be an old washer and dryer dappled in scabs of rust.
The walk back was pleasant. My curiosity for aquatic critters satiated and the sun about to melt into the horizon, I held Samantha's hand. Yes....even a scientist can feel romantic at times. Nearing our starting point, Samantha suddenly disengaged and splashed out into the surf. Right away I knew where she was headed. I figured there was little chance that our little friends would still be there. But lo and behold, they were. The crabs hadn't moved so much as an inch. The water was a bit deeper but that was only due to the shift of the tide.
Needless to say Samantha was enchanted, more so, it seemed, by the fact that the crabs were still stuck together than the discovery of them still there. She then went on to commend the male crab for his staying power, along with several sexy moans of encouragement for him to keep going. This time it was me that was getting a little turned on. At first it was funny, but then I started to feel a little pressure building. I couldn't help but think that there wasn't a subtle hint underlying the exuberant display. Could it be that she felt I could take a lesson from the crabs? Was I not satisfying her fully in the sack? She had never come out and said as much, but then again, it wasn't a topic so easily brought up. But the clever little vixen may have just found the perfect way.
Arriving back at our beach camp we realized right away that we'd been ripped off. Someone had stolen my sneakers and Samantha's tote bag. There wasn't much in the bag and the shoes were over a year old, but geez....is nothing sacred? Young as we were at the time, we didn't let it bother us. We simply chalked it up to an almost fitting end to what had been a strange day at the beach.
Later in the evening, following dinner, drinks, and a little dancing, Samantha suggested a moonlight stroll on the beach - a suggestion I was more than up for. When in the mood, Samantha loved making love in unusual places, and I sensed one of those moods coming. The conditions were perfect, the moon was full and her projected mischief hummed in the air around her like a Van de Graff generator.
Once on the beach, Samantha made a beeline toward the water. Awesome. Fornicating in the shallow surf would be fine by me. But then I realized what she was up to. She was checking on her little friends again. I was a little disenchanted, my hope of getting laid in the warm salt water superseded by my girlfriends raging case of crustacean fascination. My disappointment was promptly shelved when she started shouting and jumping up and down. "They're still here!"
I couldn't believe it. Sure enough, there they still were, still coupled, still in the very same position; only their tiny antennae and little crab mandibles flickering and pulsing in the moonlit shallows. I was truly amazed by their commitment, found myself wondering how they did it. Samantha again remarked on their ability to screw all day, but didn't dwell on it. She'd made her point earlier, and she was smart enough not to risk overdoing it. She must've sensed that taking it too far could wilt my confidence to the point where I'd be no good to her at all. Perceptive chick.
Less than ten minutes later we were lying naked on the sand between dunes tufted in Marram grass, the crabs and the events of the odd day all but lost amid a mindscape fettered with lust. Samantha's skin was still warm from the sun and radiated passion like a space heater. The main event had begun from the moment our clothes were impatiently shucked and tossed, so much for foreplay. Fine by me, I was eager to make her pay for her snide remarks anyway - we'll see who has the last laugh. But only a few moments inside and my confidence began to wane. The writhing, the moaning, the dirty talk, the moonlit tan lines were all too much to bear, and I was bordering on the brink. Impending failure never felt so good.
Slowing down wasn't an option, I'd break the rhythm, and I couldn't just stop. Besides, Samantha was on top, and decidedly in control. Shit, I was out of options, and about to come up short again. As much for the pleasure of a girl I'd grown to adore as the support of my ego, I really wanted to hold out. Then, rising from the thin air of a desperate mind, solution - something I'd heard while listening to the Howard Stern show. As luck would have it, they'd been discussing this very topic earlier in the week. Think of something gross had been the most popular suggestion made be the members of that Algonquin round table discussion. The theory - if you think of a gross creature while having sex, your mind will be so distracted you can go all night. It was an excellent suggestion, certainly worth a try, and not a moment too soon, because lift off was only a few seconds away.
How about the crabs? My mind suggested amid the bedlam. Certainly they were gross, at least to the standards of most. The exact word had even been used to describe them earlier in the day.
So I did just that - I thought of the gross little creatures that had provided us so much entertainment throughout the day. But it didn't work. I just didn't find the little critter's all that gross, and Samantha was really dialing up the sexual amperage. I was still holding out, but only by a thread, and there was still a long way to go. If she wasn't so damn sexy this wouldn't be a problem. I needed a better mental image, something really distracting - an image that would totally gross me out. I could feel the urge to conclude surging to the surface, like a spent cetacean rising to breach, spit, and breathe. Samantha was almost where she wanted to be, but no way was I going to be around to get her there. A more helpless feeling there could not be.
Suddenly, the image of the crabs returned to my mind, this time with a different twist. Somehow, my frantic mind had me wondering how they did it, how did the crabs last so long? Did they also conjure images of gross creatures in order to hold out for so long? And if so, what gross creature did they think of? And then it hit me, striking with the suddenness of a stun gun zap, the answer to my question shining crystal clear in a mind storming with passion. And in that instant I knew the gross creatures the crab thought of to distract his mind. No longer was it a riddle how crabs could have sex all day.
From that day on, I never again had problems with such issues. I knew exactly which gross creatures to conjure should I ever need distraction in the heat of passion.
Although based largely on true events this story is a work of fiction. The part about the crabs is absolutely true. Later, as part of my master's thesis, I researched the mating behavior of these crustaceans. Turns out, what we had witnessed was actually a precopulatory embrace known as a "doubler" or "buck and rider". These unions precede the actual mating process in this species and can last for 2-7 days - a fact that I never shared with Samantha.