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“See those little ones right there?” Kayla’s dad asked, pressing his finger against the icy glass of the tank, and watching her reflection nod excitedly from behind him. “Those are called crawfish. The big ones are lobsters.”

“Oh,” Kayla said, “well, why are they in there?”

Kayla’s dad straightened his back, drumming his fingers along the tank.

“Because some people like to eat them,” he said. Kayla’s little face drooped.

“But why are they gonna eat them?” she asked, scooting closer to the tank, enough for her nose to feel the chill from the glass.

“Because they taste…yummy. That’s all sweetie.”

“But they didn’t do anything bad, did they?”

“No, no,” Kayla’s dad said, bending on a knee to face her at eye-level, “they’re nice animals. Just…sometimes…just because they’re nice doesn’t mean they can’t be food. Chickens are nice, but you love chicken nuggets, right?” The disheartened little girl nodded to her father.

“C’mon, let’s go back to Mom,” he said, scooping up his daughter in his arms, carrying her back to the table.

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It was a quaint, little Cajun place off the main highway. Not too shabby: limited seating, but good food. Places like these always draw in eccentrics from every walk of life. Case-in-point: the table directly across from Kayla’s family: two middle-aged men munching down on some shrimp:

“I’m just sayin’, you shouldn’t jump to conclusions. Maybe Bryce had no idea it was spiked.”

“Yes, he did. I’m telling you…that man’s trouble.”

Jordan dunked another shrimp back into the cocktail sauce, sucking it down.

“Well, then, let’s rough him up. The man’s got ten fingers and ten toes!”

Daryl shook his head, sipping on his Bloody Mary and wagging his finger.

“I dunno man. That’s some seriously bad juju.”

“The hell is Jew juice?”

“You don’t-?” Daryl stopped himself from another headache, “Joo-Joo. Juju is like…if you do bad, you get bad. You get me?”

“So, like, karma?”

“Yeah. Like karma.”

“Then just say karma.”

“It’s not exactly the same but…fine. Point is: if we’re gonna rack up some bad juju, we gotta balance it out with good juju.”

Jordan stopped mid-way through plucking his fingers with his mouth.

“Like what?”

“Like…man, I dunno. Do something good.”

As Daryl finished his thought, their waiter walked by.

“Excuse me?” Jordan called out.

“Yessir?” the waiter replied.

“Uh, cancel my lobster with garlic butter. I’m gonna do a house salad instead.”

“Yes sir,” the waiter nodded, walking away. Daryl raised a brow at his associate.

“The hell was that about?”

“Well, you said do something good. I just saved some poor little lobster from getting boiled alive. You’re welcome.”

“They can’t feel it, Jordy.”

“Says who? You ask a lobster?”

Daryl rolled his eyes until they were caught on the small family seated across from them. He grinned intently when he noticed Kayla’s mom. Jordan, being a nosey little prick, caught onto exactly what was racing through Daryl’s mind.

“Bro, don’t even start.”

What?”

“I know you. Don’t.”

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“Just try one bite. Please, for me,” Kayla’s mom said. Kayla shook her head profusely. Her dad then leaned forward and swallowed the entire spoon of Mom’s gumbo.

“You’re missing out, sweetie.”

“Does that have…lobster in it?” Kayla said. Her mom darted a look at her dad.

“Yes, honey. Do you not wanna try any lobster?”

“They killed him!” Kayla protested.

Who?” Kayla’s mom then asked.

“The lobster,” she frowned. Her dad let out a sigh.

“Oh, Kayla,” he said, “that’s just the cycle of life, sweetie. It’s okay. Lots of people eat animals.”

“Like dogs?” Kayla snapped.

“No,” her dad said with a bleak chuckle, “not dogs.”

“So can we get one?” Kayla asked.

“What? A dog?” her father asked surprised. Kayla nodded with a little smile.

“Absolutely not,” her mom said, “Dogs are far too much money. We’ve talked about this.”

“Like a million?” Kayla said.

“Not a million,” her mom replied, “but…a lot.”

Kayla nodded with a frown, looking over at the tank full of lobsters and crawfish.

“How much is a lobster then?” Kayla questioned; a question that perked up her old man.

“You wanna try one?” Kayla’s dad Sullivan-nodded, “We can split it. They’re, like, thirty dollars.”

“That’s not a million,” Kayla said. Her mother shot another look at her father.

“Wait, you mean you…want one…as a pet?” Her dad asked. Kayla nodded. The man looked, apprehensively, over to his wife, who was already shaking her head.

“I’ll take really good care of him. I promise,” little Kayla said.

“I don’t-” her mother started, noticing the genuine innocence of her daughter’s petition, “Well, we don’t even have a tank.”

“That’s okay. He can sleep in the bath!” Kayla excitedly said.

“No,” her dad started, “we’ll get a tank for him,” he smiled, turning to his wife, and ushering over the waiter.

------------------------

Daryl and Jordan watched as the waiter came over, escorted the family over to the lobster tank, and picked out the biggest lobster there was.

“The hell?” Jordan said.

“Look-“ Daryl interrupted, pointing at the squirming crustacean, “it’s your lunch!” He broke out laughing.

“Are they taking a live one home? You realize how much that costs?”

Daryl nodded, eyeing Kayla’s mother as she helped her daughter hold up the heavy box, loaded with the live critter.

“It’s a shit ton of money. Those people must be loaded as hell.”

“Yeah,” Jordan said, staring down at his half-eaten house salad, “y’know there’s more where that came from.”

Daryl looked back to Jordan, who was already giving him the look. They knew what they were about to do.

------------------------

The ride home was bumpy. No more than usual, of course, but for a live lobster, it was the longest car ride of its existence. And for its new owner, it was the anticipation of a lifetime: a first pet being brought home.

“Mom, can he eat chocolate?” Kayla said, pulling a tiny M&M from between the car seats.

“No, I don’t think so baby,” she said, turning to her daughter, “what’s his name anyway?”

Kayla thought for a long minute, listening to the large lobster tap around in the cardboard on her lap. As she listened, her father began twisting the radio dial, turning up the song that was playing: Rock Lobster, by The B-52’s.

“You remember this one, Kay?” her dad asked from the front seat, “this song’s from when Daddy was young. Rock Lobster, it’s called,” he smiled. And that’s when Kayla lit up with an idea.

“Rocky!” she said, “I’ll call him Rocky!”

“Good idea,” her mother replied.

Little did Kayla, her mom, dad, or Rocky know that tailing just behind them in a black SUV was Daryl and Jordan. Too distracted by the new pet, the unsuspecting family had no idea that any harm was coming for them.

This blissful ignorance, though, would soon run out.

------------------------

“How’s Rocky doing, sweetie?”

Good,” Kayla muttered, peering over the side of her bed into the bucket filled with Epsom salt water, listening to Rocky clinking around against the plastic.

“That’s good. You’re being a very good mommy to him, but now it’s time to let him rest. And you, too. Tomorrow, Daddy said he’ll take you to the pet store to get a tank. Okay?”

“Okay,” Kayla said, nestling into her bed.

“I love you,” her mother said, kissing her forehead.

“Love you too, Mommy,” Kayla said with a yawn, closing her eyes and squeezing tightly onto the rubber band from Rocky’s claw.

------------------------

Kayla awoke to a thud, too loud to be Rocky. Maybe it was dad.

“Dad?” she called out. No response. “Dad?” she said again, a bit louder this time. Then, from behind her, a hairy hand covered her mouth tightly, an index finger pressing against her lips.

Shhh-“ Daryl whispered into the girl’s ear, “don’t make any loud noises, okay? I don’t wanna have to hurt you or your daddy or mommy, alright?” Jordan suppressed his laugh as he approached Daryl’s side, pulling a piggy bank from Kayla’s dresser. Daryl turned to watch him quietly yank on the cork wedged inside of it.

Wow,” Daryl hushed, “you just hit the fuckin’ motherload right there.”

“Shhh-“ Jordan snapped, “you gonna curse in front of the kid? Talk about bad juju.” He rolled his eyes.

“Man, we’re stealing from ‘em. It’s gonna take a hell of a lotta good juju to make up for this. I’m gonna have to start going back to church.”

“Yeah but…worth it,” Jordan said, watching wads of rolled-up bills fall into his palm.

The then clinking of Rocky within the bucket caused Kayla to squirm in her bed, letting out a soft yet muffled groan. Daryl tightened his grip on her.

“Shut up, kid. Don’t wake your folks. I don’t wanna have to fuckin’ kill ‘em, okay?” Daryl looked from the girl to the bucket, pulling out an M9 and waving it in front of her face, tapping his finger on the trigger. He leaned over the bed and shot a glance into the bucket.

“Jordan. Jordan!” he snappily whispered.

What?” Jordan barked.

“Your lunch. It’s in the bucket.”

“The lobster?”

Daryl nodded, chuckling to himself while shaking his head. They didn’t even eat the damned thing.

“Who keeps a lobster as a pet?” Jordan laughed, “we’d be better off to eat the fuckin’ thing.”

“Search the other rooms and, when we leave, we’ll take the lobster and crack into it tonight. A celebratory dinner, huh? Jordan nodded, creaking open Kayla’s bedroom door, and creeping down the hallway.


And that’s when Kayla’s mother entered the scene.


She gasped, clamping her hands before her mouth as she took a step back, followed by two defensive ones toward her daughter’s room.

“D-don’t hurt her. Please,” she gasped, “my husband- “

“Your husband,” Jordan interrupted, “ain’t gonna do shit.” He waved his beretta in her face. Now, at this point, hearing the light commotion, Daryl emerged in the doorway of Kayla’s room, focusing through the darkness on Mrs. Kayla’s mom. He grinned.

“Please, we’ll do anything. We have money- “

“Oh, we know you have money,” Jordan said.

“But how about we talk about this anything you mentioned,” Daryl hissed as he descended the hallway toward her, creeping his eyes along her body.

“Y-yes. Anything. Just don’t hurt her.”

“I think,” Daryl grinned, huffing a hot breath in her face, “you and I have very different definitions of anything.”

Growing tired of Daryl’s games, Jordan poked his head into the parent’s bedroom, noting the still-sleeping husband, mouth agape. He crept in, opening drawers and cabinets and, eventually, finding Mr. Kayla’s dad’s wallet. He shook his head in disappointment, returning to the hallway, where Daryl, horny as hell, was nibbling on the mother’s neck, gun pressed against her belly with one hand, removing her wedding band with the other. Call it superstition, but Daryl wouldn’t nibble a married woman. At least, one with the band still on.

“It’s a bust-“ Jordan croaked, “they don’t have shit. I got the dad’s wallet- “

“Can’t you see I’m busy? Jeez-“ Daryl snapped.

“Busy or not, I think there’s enough in here to pay Bryce,” Jordan said, flipping through the billfold.

“I don’t give a rat’s ass about Bryce. That shit is ours,” Daryl said, letting go of the woman and taking the wallet in his hands. Jordan shrugged by him and approached the woman.

“Who’d you see here tonight?” he demanded, the woman caught his eyes and caught on.

Nobody.”

“Good answer.”

“Jordan-“ Daryl said, shoving the wallet into his pocket, “don’t forget our dinner,” he said, nodding to Kayla’s room. Jordan agreed and, with a quick trot into the room, he lifted the bucket and glanced over to the little girl.

“Don’t worry,” he said, “your little buddy in here is in good hands.”

------------------------

The ride back to the apartment was bumpy, accentuated by the sloshing of saltwater coming from within the bucket clenched between Daryl’s thighs. It was still a long drive ahead, and the pair realized that the family, at this point, had likely already called the cops, meaning they had a very tight window for getting the hell outta dodge. Jordan pressed on, though the fog made it difficult to see through the chilled glass. You could say that the pair was now trapped within a tank of their own, of sorts. Certainly not the one of the local Cajun place, but one, nonetheless.

Daryl stared at his reflection in the glass, holding up his hand, dressed in the woman’s wedding band.

“The hell is that?” Jordan said, noticing the shine of the thing.

“Nothing,” Daryl said dismissively.

“Is that that lady’s wedding ring?”

“Yeah,” Daryl nodded.

“Nice,” Jordan replied, “that’s a few grand right there. Lemme see it.”

Daryl nodded, pulling the ring from his finger, and extending it toward Jordan. As he did, however, a thud from underneath the car sent the slippery, sweaty ring right into the bucket. It was Rocky’s ring, now.

“Oh, shit-“ Daryl said, looking into the bucket.

“Get it,” Jordan snapped, “before that…thing eats it or some shit.”

Daryl plunged his hand into the icy water, fishing around for the ring.

Got it- “

As he pinched the ring, Rocky, the lobster, found a score of his own, clasping down onto Daryl’s index finger and cracking straight through the bone to the other side, leaving nothing but a dangling wad of flesh to squirm around in the blood-filled water.

Daryl shrieked in agony, obviously, as the lobster tightened its grip, forcing his other hand to go plunging into the blood bath and pulling the large lobster’s claw apart.

Holy shit!” Jordan shouted, turning to face Daryl, and gripping the steering wheel hard, “Daryl, what the f- “

And that’s when everything when dark. Do the math: seventy, maybe seventy-five, miles an hour on the highway plus one really pissed off lobster equals two crooks into the side of a Northern Oak.

Jordan lifted his blood-spattered head from the glass-covered steering wheel, trying his best to forcefully focus onto Daryl.

“Daryl?” he shouted through the pain, “Daryl?”

Daryl was alive, though not for long, but had too much blood in his mouth to speak. He spit it out onto the dash, as he grit his teeth:

Badjuju…” was all he could sputter. Jordan shook his head against the glass with the rest of his strength.

“No, man,” he said, “there ain’t no juju. We did this shit to ourselves.”

Jordan dropped right then and there.

------------------------

The police arrived at the scene shortly thereafter. They were already on the pair’s trail and, when they found three-fourths of an SUV mounted into an Oak tree, it was safe to assume they found them.

It was an odd scene, to say the least: four pounds of spiked methamphetamine under the back seat, a coating of blood-laced saltwater on the floor, a wedding band and severed finger resting underneath the passenger’s seat, and, of course, a lobster, named Rocky, still very much alive in the backseat and, maybe, feeling minimal pain.



Written by MakRalston
Content is available under CC BY-SA
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