Captain Claw: News from The Pacific 

Retired sea-captain-turned-novelist Captain Claw lives in the San Francisco Bay.

The Pacific Reconnaissance Mission has returned, and I must go to the Dungeness City Council chambers to be debriefed.

Everything hinges on what our scouts discovered. Can we retreat to the Pacific? Staying here in the Bay is no longer an option—unless we want to see ourselves dwindle to nothing. That’s no way to live.

In the chamber, the esteemed leaders of Dungeness assembled to hear the testimony of square-jawed Admiral Ashe, who was in charge of the scouting mission.

“My fellow crabs,” he began, “I would like to tell you we’ve returned with good news.”

The mood of the room fell like a rock tossed over the continental shelf.

“The truth is, we have bad news and worse news. Arriving at the coast, we were met by a scene of horror.”

The eyes of some of the scouts seemed to recoil into their shells.

“Thousands of our cousins, red tuna crabs, were washed along the shore, dead.”

Gasps of shock reverberated through the room.

“Soon, we ourselves came face to face with what must have been their demise. The Blob. A giant mass of water far too warm for any of us to bear. Luckily, we dove and escaped just in time, avoiding the fate of our neighbors.”

As the room descended into chaos, I thought back to the young crabs who walked past my front door this morning, on their way to school, laughing, unaware of the cataclysm we face.

With grave faces, the Council dispersed. Johnson and I walked back to Angel Island. The only sound between us the steady rhythm of his shallow, CPAP-assisted breaths.

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{ Illustration of Captain Claw by Jeff Petersen. }
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