This is based on a true story when Jeff, my husband, and I were traveling to New Orleans and found a crawdad in a gas station parking lot. We actually did rescue him and take him to a pond. I hope you enjoy…
“I escaped!” I exclaimed. The past few days have been…er…much to say unbelievable. I don’t even know where to begin with my adventures. My mind is so muddled; I can’t think straight because all I’m thinking now is “Where do I go?” “Where is the water?” “Will I find food?” “Will I be killed?” “Was I just lucky?” and on and on and on. Wow, I need to calm down and seek a plan before someone sees me or I die. I don’t have much time before that happens. Oh, where is the water? I wish I could ask someone, but then everyone would know I escaped. You see, I am a crawfish, or crawdad, if you like, and this is my story…
Just a few days ago, I think, I was minding my own business at the bottom of the river I called home where I was having breakfast on a dead bluegill. Fortunately for me, he died in a fishing accident and sunk heavily to the bottom where he has been keeping me alive for several days. On this morning, I was thinking to myself, “I really appreciate those fishermen!” Sometimes good meals are hard to find close to home. As I was eating, I was thinking of what I would do for the day when I was scooped up with several other crawfish, fish, plants, and other odds and ends from my world into a net. My mother warned me of this, but I never thought it would happen to me.
We were packed so tightly together I couldn’t move. I didn’t realize until today how claustrophobic I truly was…I felt trapped with nowhere to go. The fear of what would happen to me almost drove me insane…I wanted to die, but I didn’t’ want to die. I just wanted to break free from that extremely tight, packed in feeling of terror.
I had begun to feel nauseated with sensations of passing out. In a haze, I barely remember being flung out on a wooden floor next to crawfish I knew. As I crazily looked around with question as to what was happening, I noticed some of my friends were not moving, and some were fidgeting, struggling, and angry trying to move around. We all had one idea in common right at this moment – to find the water again. Well, we got our wish when water was thrust upon us with a vengeance. I never knew water could be that hateful. When I gained better conscience, I realized humans were using some type of tubing thing and that’s where the water was shooting out from. “Oh, if I could only break free and hurriedly go back to my river home!” Unfortunately, I knew I wouldn’t make it before being caught. I stayed against my will to find we were being scooped up into crates. I knew my turn was coming, and so I waited like I do for the next fish to fall from another fishing accident. The dread in this waiting made me cringe with the horror of each passing moment of what would happen next.
Scooping finally happened to me; luckily it didn’t hurt. I was in a crate with several others who just sat there in the same disbelief I was feeling. No one spoke, and no one moved: we were frightened. We could tell we were moving because it seemed like the crate was going up and down and all around. Suddenly, we seemed to stop and we could hear the humans yelling different words out to each other like they were planning our doom. Then the unthinkable happened – the crates began moving off this vessel who carried us to unwanted land with no water. “Water…oh sweet water, how I miss you!” That is all I could think; I craved the water because I knew if I didn’t find it soon, my demise was surely imminent.
I sat there waiting, and waiting. All I could hear was the humans talking away to each other, but at least it wasn’t about us. Along with the talking, I kept hearing a thud like sound, but I had no idea what it meant. The next thing I knew, my crate was moving again, and then, “Thud,” the noise that sounded so awful. I looked around and my crate was placed very high on some type of elongated container. The humans kept moving crates, and finally, they yelled goodbye to each other, and we were moving again, but not like before. It was weird, I can’t even explain how it felt. There was a zooming noise and then we would stop some and move again. We also kept moving up and down with some type of bumps. This felt very weird. “Wow!” I screamed, I jumped in the air non-voluntarily. The bump we hit was massive. I thought to myself, “I’m glad I didn’t get hurt.”
Hours crawled by and the moving didn’t seem to end. We then slowed down and I moved even farther on top of the pile of my fellow crustaceans where I could see structures and humans walking around and in other vessels like the one I was traveling in. “Ahhh,” another bump…” wait a minute…maybe, just maybe one of these bumps could be my salvation, my way out of this,” I didn’t know what to even call where I was or what was going to happen to me, “torture.” I plotted by thinking that if we hit a bump hard enough, I could launch myself in a direction where I could fall out, but if I am too high, it might kill me. At this point, I was willing to do whatever it took and take my chances. I knew if I didn’t try something I would be dead in a few hours anyway. We kept moving, and so I waited, but was ready if a bump came again. The waiting seemed forever, but honestly, it probably wasn’t that long when suddenly a huge bump happened and all I knew was that I was flying in the air to either my freedom or my grave. I looked down and I saw green stuff where I was heading and it looked more inviting than the grayish black, rock-like flat surface the vessel was moving on. I prepared myself just in case this was it, but I landed, and it wasn’t so bad. The green like substance was soft and moved as I moved on it.
I sat there for a moment speechless in awe I didn’t die. I thought to myself, I better move each limb to make sure nothing was broken, or at least, broken too badly. Everything checked out because as I moved each limb, I felt hunky-dory. “Wow, I am the luckiest crawfish alive!!” I yelled with utter astonishment. Now, onto the next dilemma, where can I find water? I decided to just start walking and using my crusty instincts to find what I needed. There were boxlike things all over the place along the blackish flat surface on either side. I guess this is where the humans lived. I also realized I had to watch my back and move off this surface because more vessels were moving on it and if I wasn’t careful, I would be a goner. The next thing I knew, I saw a little puddle, so I raced as quickly as I could to it to at least get my feet wet; unfortunately, it wasn’t very deep. At this particular spot, there seemed to be lots of commotion with humans stopping their vessels next to small box things and putting tubes from them into their vessels. I wondered what this was with amazement. Once I felt a little refreshed, I knew I had to make a run for it to make sure I got past the humans on my aquatic scavenger hunt.
I looked around intently and saw that the humans seemed to be connecting these tubes to their vessels, so I began to walk as quickly as I could across the brown like flat surface where these vessels were stopped. I was hardly out in the middle of this when I heard a female human, as she pointed at me, yell at her male human, “What is that over there?” He walked over to me and I immediately went into fight mode with my arms up high turning bright red to signal, “Leave me alone or I’ll snap you!!” The male human said in disbelief, “Come over here, you are never going to believe what it is.” Additionally, she walked over to me and I was still in combat readiness. I was so afraid of just being crushed by one of them I didn’t know what to do. When she stepped close to me, she bent down and said, “Oh, how cute is he.” Both the male and female began talking about me and wondered where I must have come from. They seemed shocked to see me here. From their conversation, I could only deduce we were in a place called Tuscaloosa and they mentioned signs they passed for a crawfish boil coming up this weekend. They figured I must have been brought up from the coast for that. “I’m so glad I took my chances leaping off that vessel,” I thought to myself.
The female started talking about giving me a name as she looked around curiously for signs. A name, my mother never called me anything but “my little crusty” so when I would talk to other crustaceans, I would just say call me C.R. because I didn’t care for “Crusty.” I always felt how obvious a name that was. She finished looking around as she spied a sign for something called cigarettes that had the word “Winston” above them. She told her male human, “Winston, that’s what we’ll call him, Winston, the crawdad.” I beamed with delight at the name, even though I had no idea what cigarettes were. I didn’t care; I finally had a real name and it sounded glorious. As I pondered what life would be like now having a name, I suddenly realized, “What are they going to do to me?” Wait a minute, if they gave me a name, surely they wouldn’t kill me, or would they? As I was anticipating every action that might happen next, I was picked up on the back by the male human and placed on a seat in his vessel partitioned just far away from him, but close enough for him to see me as he got in and placed dangly objects into a crevice by a circle; moreover, the vessel started making that zooming noise. The female must have been in her own vessel because we started to move, but he was talking to her with some rectangle next to his ear. My biggest fear right at this moment: “Where were they taking me?”
I had so many thoughts running through my mind from where were we going; what are they going to do to me; Ahhh, I love my new name…Winston; to I truly might die now. We kept moving and turning, which was no fun, because I almost slid off the seat. We didn’t travel far when he pulled over off the main path and stopped his vessel. He got out and came over to the side I was on and picked me up by the back again and the female was out of her vessel walking towards us saying really sweet things to me. I know it was about me because she kept saying Winston. It made my heart melt. The humans turned around with me in the male’s grasp to see what I was waiting for since I was scooped up from my home…WATER! At that very moment, I knew what these two were doing. They were rescuing me bringing me to a new watery home. I was thrilled and elated to see this large pond-like body before me awaiting all my new adventures. I just wished I could communicate with the humans to show my gratitude, but I think they knew how I felt. The female told me, “Winston, enjoy your new home and if we are back in this area, we will visit.” The male said goodbye in his own way and placed me down into the water. Oh, how utterly extravagant it felt. I moved through the water, which wasn’t too deep, down to the bottom to find some fish swimming around and a few of my own species eating on some fish scraps. Hopefully, I would never experience this awfulness again in my lifetime. It was so amazing to see such selfless humans helping me and not thinking of their taste buds. I was in pure bliss…a new home, plenty to eat, and a new name…Winston…I bet I would taste good if my fate had not been intervened by two perfectly sweet strangers. I can live with knowing what could have been, but wasn’t…