Then there was the teenager. He was sitting in the very back of the van, silently disgruntled at not being able to sit in the front passenger seat (which is MY seat). He thinks it should be his seat. He could have a career as a Professional Perfume Smeller if he weren't quite so melodramatic. As soon as the cat started whining he joined in:
"Something stinks in here. Mom! Mom! I said it stinks in here! Is that crab in here somewhere?"
I hate being called Mom. I've explained til I'm blue in the face that I am a Canadian mum, not an American mom. Evidently it amuses him to annoy me this way. I guess we all get our cheap thrills from somewhere. And yes, I do know that it could be worse.
Did you notice that he didn't ask if anyone else smelled it? That's teen spirit for you. He doesn't need anyone to confirm what he already knows anymore. Even if he's wrong he knows he's right. It would be charming if it weren't so irritating. That was when I decided to take a leaf out of his book and pretend not to hear him. I opened my window and pretended to usher an ant out, despite the fact that the open window - at 110 km per hour - considerably dislodged hair, newspapers, and card games. There was the added bonus of great wet sheets of monsoon rain spilling into the window. Dominic wailed in what I thought was an overly dramatic fashion while Katie shrieked "WHO OPENED THE DAMN WINDOW?"
A rhetorical question if I ever heard one. Who do they think opened the damn window? Again, I feigned deafness, chatted to my imaginary ant and shut the window, hoping that the brief influx of fresh air would change the subject.
Sadly, it did not. The whiff was still there. And yes, it was my crab. My lovely but also very dead crab. See it sitting there? It's in that cardboard box next to Richard (at this point still blissfully unaware he's sitting next to it). The crab itself is beside the moon snail shell in the plastic bag. Actually, it was in two plastic bags.
I guess it should have been in three plastic bags.
It did stink a bit.
We were walking along this reef at low tide, observing all sorts of treasures: hermit crabs, spider crabs, moon snails, tiny eels, tiny shrimp, bullheads, and starfish.
Sorry but I just cannot bring myself to say "sea star." To me it's another example of idiotic political correctness run amok. And yes I DO know that it's not really a fish.
We saw 29 moonsnail collars (see photo below). Some of us counted them. Out loud. Each time. Every time. Sometimes some of us had to recount just to make sure we were counting them properly. Some of us might have argued with our sister over who saw which ones, too. Finally, I took a photo of one, hoping to silence the soundtrack of each new discovery, to no avail. In fact, it just encouraged more audible counting, more audible arguing, and included a plea to photograph each new moonsnail collar. One of us might have swore a little bit at this point.
And then I found the crab. It was almost completely intact. And very dead. It would be a perfect watercolour model. As long as I could get it home. Without anyone noticing. Evidently I failed at that part, because now everyone - including Richard (slightly aghast at the fact, especially after telling me five times that I MUST leave the crab outside the cabin on the fence until we went back up in August) - knew it was a) in the car, and b) in the car stinking big time.
I did the only thing I could have done under the circumstances: I wrapped it in another plastic bag and placed it on the floor near my feet, where no one could grab it and throw it out the window.
When we got home my crab was the first thing out of the car. Here it is here, sitting on the deck rail, delighting the city flies, who have probably never smelled such a charming salty stench before.
When it dries it won't smell at all. Don't ask me how I know this.