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A Very Short Story Not About a Lobster

Poetry & Prose | November 27, 2012

“You can’t cook lobsters in the microwave.”

“Yes, you can.”

“Is it true that they scream when you cook them?”

“I don’t know. Probably?” my cousin almost answered.

“Shut up and watch; maybe you’ll learn something,” my much older sister interjected. She stood behind the high kitchen counter; I had to stand on my toes to see what she was doing.

There were dark bags of unused sleep under her eyes after driving back from Maine all through the night before, bringing with her nothing but this doomed lobster. The Labor Day morning sun was shining; it came in through a closed window and turned her bleached hair white. This summer was the most I’d seen of my sister in four years. She looked older—like an adult.

We watched without speaking as she picked the lobster up with bare hands and carefully placed it, the creature lazily struggling, into a clear microwave-safe plastic bag. She removed the rubber bands from its claws and used them to seal up the bag’s open end. She said it was the poetic thing to do. She set the microwave’s timer for nine minutes.

“Au revoir, lobster.”

We didn’t speak then, waiting in silence as the alien-looking thing rotated and began to turn pink in front of us. None of us even breathed, we were too busy trying to listen.