The Great Crayfish Expedition
First published: Tuesday January 10th, 2023
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My Horrendous Banishment
Just today, I was minding my own business staring at a screen trying to find ONE diamond on my Minecraft world, my mom was like “HeY, We ShOuLd gO oN A WalK tO tHe BeaCH”; and, ripped from my world of happiness, I sulked out the front door, hopped on my bike, and left. The shame. And, that was how it all started. A story of life and death, millions of dollars lost in faulty infrastructure, a dog poop bag, and a crayfish.
Now - let’s backtrack a bit. First of all, you may be wondering why I’m out of school on a Tuesday. Well, it rained. Sure, it rains pretty much everywhere. But you’ve gotta understand, I live in Southern California. It NEVER rains a lot here. So, yesterday when my school started sending SOSs to the parents via ParentSquare at 12:30 PM, I was shocked. “A little bit of rain, and they’re calling school out early? Poppycock.” It came as more of a shock when I realized school was cancelled the following day. This never happens here, and when it does it’s because a fire is threatening this or that.
Now, another thing you’ve gotta know is that the tide the other day (Thursday, to be exact) was CRAZY. Sidewalks and benches near the beach were ripped apart. Starfish and urchins were ripped from their very way of existence and strewed, dying, upon the graveyard of sand. Absolutely horrendous. A surfer even drowned.
But, let’s not get too morbid here. Back to Tuesday. As sad as I was being ripped from my screens, it was seeming fairly interesting to visit the beach. The rain and the tide combined surely would make the beach a very interesting place. At least for a ocean life fanatic like me. (By the way, it was supposed to rain even more today than yesterday, which is why they cancelled school; it never rained at all. Free “weekend” day.) So, me and my younger brother hopped on our bikes and made our way to the nearby beach while my mom (with my youngest brother in a stroller) followed behind.
An Odd Surplus of Golf Balls
The bike to the beach was uneventful. I was attacked by a stray dog, almost ran over by a car, and lost control of my bike once. More importantly, the creek behind my house was torrential. And loud.
Once at the beach, I set about locking up my bike, then I went to search the globs of kelp and seaweed infesting the beach. The tide was awfully high, and my socks got soaked a fair few times. In the kelp globs, I found dead starfish, live starfish, dead lobsters, sea urchins, shells, rocks, and crawfish, which at the time I thought were small lobsters (it didn’t occur to me that a freshwater creature would be at the beach).
Amongst all of that, golf balls. Lots and lots of golf balls. Everywhere I looked, golf balls. It was odd. Golf balls will forever haunt my nightmares. One theory of mine (the most likely one) is that they were from the nearby golf course. There is a well at the golf course, and the golfers would golf their golf balls inside of it. Of course, it wasn’t an actual hole, and so maintenance to it was rare. When the rain came, the well overflowed and all the golf balls came out of it, rolling into creeks, culverts, and sewers, all which flew to the ocean. In all, I found maybe 30-40 golf balls. I plan to sell them, but that’s not to relevant.
Now, as I was saying earlier, many sorts of oddities were being found in the kelp globs. Reese’s wrappers, shells, golf balls, cacti, bamboo, and crayfish. After spending a suitable time at the beach, my family and I decided to leave. I overheard a nearby family talking about “the crayfish” and it dawned on me that the “lobsters”, which most of them were still alive, weren’t lobsters at all, but crawfish. One fact that I had overlooked was that the crayfish had claws. The Californian spiny lobster, my local, doesn’t have claws.
The Kidnapping of a Crawdad
Now, instantly, I was alarmed. These crayfish could not survive in salt water. I went up to my mom, begging and pleading to take the crayfish back to the creek behind my house (how I would do this, I had no idea. It just needed to be done). My mom was insistent on saying no. Upon more pleading, she agreed to taking one crayfish, as long as I would carry it in a dog poop bag.
I went back down to the beach, grabbed what looked like the healthiest crayfish, and proceeded to grab it and stick it into a dark bag. Don’t judge. We do it to small children too. After doing that, I slowly biked ahead of my family, making sure to leave a fair bit of space open at the top of the bag for air to get through. At times, the mischievous crustacean tried to crawl free. I foiled all attempts of escape. This isn’t Germany.
Finally, after treacherous days and months of biking, I made it to small open space adjacent to the creek. Then it dawned on me. The creek was moving too fast. The crayfish would flow right back to the beach. Luckily, a solution was in sight.
A small crater in the ground had been filled with rain water, and it was deep enough and lush enough for the crayfish to survive. I knelt down, and let the crayfish swim free. Much to my delight, he wasn’t dead or fatigued, and swam into the pond. Soon he was out of sight (this was due to the muddiness of the water and a small weed that the crayfish took cover under).
Soon after, my family caught up to me. Looks of distress haunted their faces. They thought I had gone down to the main creek and was swept away, never to be seen again! Those sweet fools. I had a crayfish to save - no amount of water foam could stop me!
I biked home, the burden of a poop bag off me. Once home, I went back to my devices, continued to waste my life away, and was utterly happy. If I were to say though, that the thought of that crayfish doesn’t continue to warm my heart to this very day (well, it did just happen only 6 hours ago), I would be lying. Sweet dreams, Mr. Crayfish.
I heard the rain is supposed to be getting worse, right?