Sideways scuttle

Crabs. It is the season. All summer the crabs have been hiding in the sand, eating leaves, getting fat. Then the first rain comes. And they run out in their thousands, ready to breed. Everyone in the village goes out in the rain, big thick gloves on, boots to stop the snakes, to catch them. White sacks full of clackering crabs.

The rain has come.

Marcelo, one of my students, who talks faster than anyone in the village, gave us a little bag of crabs, purple, clawing at the bag to escape while I taught Simon Says.

He came home with us to show us how to kill them, cook them, hissing their final farewell. Salty boiling water. Crabs in quick. Thrash around, stunned, ready. Then Marcelo left us.

Lucky for us, Axel, our new friend, owner of the ‘hardware store’ (lots of bags of nails in boxes) popped in just as Marcelo left and showed us how to eat them, laughing as we scrunched up our faces at the strange innards going into our mouths. We now have the technique sorted.

Which is just as well, because the next night we were given more crabs, then the next night yet more – a big bundle of rare blue crabs which are only for the rich in the city – from a new little friend of ours Dinora who came to eat them with us along with the sign painter in the town.

We bought tortillas, made a tomato salad and sucked and cracked shells while lightning flashed outside and rain tested our palm roof. It was pure magic.


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