Tag Archives: Lobster

The Lobster Guy (Four)

Woman wearing a red blouse holding a cup of red wine. The Lobster Guy.
Photo by ELIZAVETA CHAYKO on Pexels.com

After gathering his meager belongings from his locker at the Neptune Pop-In Shop Food Market for the very last time, Truman went outside and retrieved his childish bicycle from where it was attached to the OUT OF ORDER kiddie horse ride.

He didn’t want to ride it, instead he just pushed it as he walked. He was too dejected to enjoy the lullaby roll. He went along the cliche American main drag that catered to interstate travelers with its overplayed fast-food joints and gross hotels. He crossed over near the lemon-yellow Super 8. He kept walking north, past dirty fields, abandoned retail spaces, broken down houses and discarded furniture on the curb.

Puffed-up traffic headed toward I-80 and out of town was whizzing by on his right and every once in a while, a car packed with bastards would honk at him or throw food or empty beer cans at him as they passed. Truman let it all bounce off, like he always did. He didn’t care. He felt he deserved to be pummeled with the worst that life had to offer. Part of him wanted to step out into traffic so he could be run down, smashed, squashed, pressed into the pavement like repeatedly run over roadkill.

The sun was beginning to fall toward its daily stupor when he finally arrived home. He let his bike tumble to the ground, and he went inside. He closed all the curtains and turned on a few lights. He went into the bathroom and studied the empty tub as he urinated in the toilet with the lobster seat cover. He decided against taking a bath and instead put his lobster pajamas on right over his dirty skin. He went to the kitchen and fetched out an old phonebook from a bookcase he had there. He opened it to the B section and ran his finger down the page until he found her.


His fingers worked the dial of his red plastic table phone shaped like a lobster, the headset being a claw.

It rang.


“Hello, is this Maggie?” Truman shamefully squeaked.

“Yes, who is calling please?”

“It’s me, Truman Humboldt, from the chicken plant.”

“Truman? How did you get my number?”

“It’s in the phonebook.”

“Phonebook? You still use a phonebook?”

“Yeah… You obviously still use an old-time phone because you answered,” Truman snipped.

“Oh. Yeah. I’m not up on modern technology. I like the classic things in life. So much simpler… But why are you calling? What is it can I do for you? Is this some sort of an emergency? Are you having a personal crisis, Truman?”

“Oh, dear Maggie. I had a very horrible and bad day and was wondering if you’d like to come over and talk. I have some feelings I need to disperse.”

“Truman, you know I can’t do that. It’s very unprofessional. Why don’t you stop by my office tomorrow and we can set up an appointment?”

“Are you sure you don’t want to come over? Or maybe I can come to your house if you don’t feel like coming out into the world to befriend someone in need.”

“No, Truman, you can’t be doing this. You can’t be calling me. You can’t come to my house. I could lose my job. You could lose your job. It’s unethical and against the rules of my profession.”

“I don’t really care about losing my job anymore,” Truman said. “I’m on the brink of catastrophe. I just want to see you. You’re so fetching, and I had such a miserable day. I need to be held.”

“I’m sorry Truman. That’s just not possible. I have to go now. Goodbye.”

Maggie Barrymore hung up on him.

“Froot Loops! Froot Loops! Froot Loops!” Truman screamed, and he tore the connective wire from the wall and threw the phone against the kitchen floor with monstrous and barbaric force. It made a hollow dinging clang as it bounced oddly across the linoleum that was patterned with lobsters and ships and cold ocean water and waves.

Truman called in sick to the chicken plant the next morning and then rode his crappy kiddie bike to the local car rental office and rented a car. He threw the bike into the trunk and drove to Clover, the next town over where they had a bicycle shop, and he traded his ride in for something more manly.

He stopped at a bar in Clover and had a few lonely drinks. It was dim and smoky, and the people were mostly quiet and hunched over in despair. No one talked to him. He didn’t care because he was too busy daydreaming about Maggie Barrymore and how she rejected him. His foolish heart hurt. He wanted to win her love. He paid his tab and drove back to Neptune.

It was near 5 in the p.m., and Truman was parked outside the chicken plant main office waiting for Maggie Barrymore to emerge. When she finally did come out, Truman’s heart thumped, and he got all shimmery in his hungry stomach. He watched her closely as she strolled through the parking lot, stepping lightly but with purpose, one arm gently swinging a briefcase at her side. Truman considered her to be a luscious goddess headed to a festival for luscious goddesses. He wanted to be her Zeus and mate with her. He wanted to fertilize her deeply so that she may bring forth to the world a demigod. A demigod with the impenetrable power of a lobster.

Maggie Barrymore got in her car, started it and drove out of the parking lot. Truman began to follow her through town, being careful not to get too close for fear that she may recognize him. She made a right, then a left, and then another right and into the belly of a more upscale neighborhood – as upscale as Neptune, Nebraska could get. She pulled into the driveway of a neatly kept little house. It was humble, but sophisticated. Cookie-cutter for sure, but tasty like Christmas, Truman decided. The garage door opened, and she pulled the car in. The garage door went back down, and she was swallowed up by dark domestication, the kind that often brews salacious thoughts and deeds.

Truman was parked across the street as he stalked her like some creep from a dark documentary on Netflix. He retrieved lobster-shaped binoculars from a lobster-decorated daypack and positioned them against his eyes. He aimed them at her house to see if he could catch a glimpse of her, perhaps undressing, or maybe, hopefully, she just walked around the house nude all the time. Truman grunted with disappointment when no such view came into focus.

He strummed at the steering wheel with his fingertips as he carefully considered his next move. A move that would get him closer to his delicious crush. And then, like a sudden burst of cocaine and wayward dynamite, a fabulous idea struck him, and he quickly drove away and went back home, the sudden glee in his guts flying like war shrapnel.

Once there, Truman began shaving his face as he filled the tub with hot, hot water. Once the grimy and unkempt whiskers were cleared away, he splashed water on his face and then looked at himself in the mirror over the sink. It had been a long, long time since he had seen himself without the scruff. His skin was pale, but smooth like the belly of a slippery seal.

He set a small mirror and a pair of scissors on the edge of the tub and got in. He dipped his entire head in the hot water and then came up for air. He took a comb and ran it through his thin, spaghetti-like blonde hair. He twisted some strands together in his fingers and snipped it with the scissors. He did this again and again and again until his hair was very short. He studied himself in the mirror. “There,” he said with satisfaction. “Now I look like a real man.”

He scrubbed at his body with a new bar of soap. Then he rinsed. Then he let the water start to drain from the tub. It made a gurgling sound like the end of life. Then he rinsed again. He climbed out of the tub and dried off. He spread after shave lotion all over his face, across his arms and chest and over his private parts. He smelled himself and he thought that he smelled very good.

“Now that’s what I call super fresh,” he said, pointing to himself in the mirror and winking like he was Mr. Cool from Albuquerque. Then he brushed his teeth and swirled green mouthwash around in his mouth.

He walked into his bedroom and opened the closet door. He pulled out his one nice pair of pants and his one nice button-down shirt and threw them on the bed. He put on fresh underwear and socks and then the shirt and pants. He worked a crisp belt around his waist. He dug around in his closet for his nicest pair of shoes. He found them, but he had to blow the dust off them.

Once completely dressed, he looked at himself in the mirror again. “Damn, I’m one hot guy,” he said proudly to his stunning reflection. The mirror thought otherwise and whispered back, “No you’re not. You’re hideous. Absolutely atrocious. You make women violently puke.”

Truman ignored the disturbing voice in his head. He grabbed the keys to the rental car and rushed out. He drove to a nearby liquor store to buy a bottle of love wine. Then he was off again, back to the beautiful side of town, his soul adrift in blossoming romance. He was going to surprise Maggie Barrymore with a very special visit.


In case you missed it, you can read the previous part of this story HERE.

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The Lobster Guy (Three)

The Lobster Guy. A live lobster seen in water.

Even though he was running late, the oddity that is Truman Humboldt took his time biking to the Neptune Pop-In Shop Food Market to work his cashier shift. He could not stop thinking about Maggie Barrymore though, her sensual curves, the way she tapped a pen against her pillowy lips when she listened to him talk, the way she filled the entire office with her feminine scent, the way she crinkled her petite nose when she made a face of disgust toward him… And at one point in his daydreaming ride, Truman closed his eyes completely and just sailed peacefully through Neptune, Nebraska as if he were on a lobster boat on the big, big ocean, hugging Miss Maggie close to him in the wind and salty sea air, her hand down his seafaring pants. But when Truman opened his eyes, his daydream ended abruptly, foiled by reality, and he found himself crashing into a big wall of hedges encapsulating someone’s ornamental front yard.

“Damn it all to hell!” Truman cursed, as he picked himself up off the walkway and slapped shredded greenery off his now torn pants. He got stuck with sticks as well. His arms were covered in red scratches. One nearly missed his eye.

A pack of wild teenagers loitering in front of a house on the other side of the street pointed at disheveled Truman and burst out laughing. “Hey moron, watch out for the bushes!” one of them yelled. “Nice bike, weirdo. Is it your little sister’s!?” another boy added.

Truman tried to ignore them, but he was boiling on the inside as he got back on his bike and rode away. The pack of wild teenagers just laughed at him, and their laughing caught the wind and followed him as Truman went, his legs pumping harder for more speed so he could just get away from them, even though part of him wanted to turn around and go back to kill them.

When Truman arrived at the Neptune Pop-In Shop Food Market he was a sweaty, riled mess. He chained his bicycle to the OUT OF ORDER kiddie horse ride outside the store and rushed inside, nearly knocking over an old woman coming out of the store carrying her groceries.

“Why don’t you watch where you’re going, you jackass!” the old lady snapped at him.

Truman clenched his jaw. He wanted to turn around and punch her right in the face and then throw her damn groceries all over the parking lot. But he did not do that.

Instead, he was screaming like mad on the inside as he walked into the employee lounge and punched in for his shift. “Damn it! I’m twelve minutes late!” Truman yelled out.

Some of his co-workers who were sitting around a table drinking Coke and munching popcorn snickered among themselves. Suddenly, as if by magic, the store manager, that being Mr. Guldencock, was standing right behind him.

Guldencock was a definite cock. Some nicknamed him Mr. Mustard, a play on Gulden’s Mustard, and because he always smelled like mustard for some reason. It all worked out perfectly for those who made fun of him. Mr. Guldencock had a spicy personality, but not in a tasteful way. He was grossly tangy. He sweated a lot. He had horrible breath. He lingered around the female employees way too much. He was touchy feely in a creepy way. Everyone hated him.

And now Truman faced his stern grossness. Mr. Guldencock’s thick, overly hairy arms were folded and resting on his blubbery belly. His pale eyes bore through Truman’s soul.

“Jiminy Cricket! You scared the jeepers out of me, Mr. Guldencock,” Truman said.

“You’re nearly 15 minutes late, Truman, and we’re busy as hell out there,” Mr. Guldencock said. “Where in the world have you been? We got customers waiting!”

“I’m sorry sir, I got tied up at my other job, and then I had a bicycle accident. I couldn’t help it.”

Mr. Guldencock looked Truman up and down with a hint of suspicion mixed with disgust. “You look like hell. Now go get yourself cleaned up and get on register one. And for God’s sake, comb your hair.”

“Hello. How are you today? Did you find everything okay?”

“Hello. How are you today? Did you find everything okay?”

“Hello. How are you today? Did you find everything okay?”

The moronic monotony of it all was murder, Truman thought to himself, as he robotically scanned groceries, pushed buttons, and took money.

Then a certain item caught his attention as he ran it over the scanner. He looked up at the customer, a chunky woman with a bad complexion and tattoos all over her chubby arms. She’s no Maggie Barrymore, Truman thought to himself. This chick is gross.

“Excuse me, mam,” Truman said. “But do you realize this is imitation lobster.”

The lady annoyingly smacked her gum and looked at Truman with odd wonder.

“Yeah, so what?” she said, somewhat offended.

“Well, it’s not real lobster. It’s fake lobster, says so right here on the package.”

“Well, I don’t care if it’s fake lobster and I don’t care for your opinion about my groceries, cashier man. Now just ring up my shit so I can get out of here.”

Truman clutched the package of imitation lobster and just stared at her.

“Well?” the lady shrugged, “Are you going to do your god damn job or not!?”

Truman looked around. Everything seemed so damn crazy to him. His line was growing longer, and people were becoming grumbly and impatient. All the noise and rattle tattle of the place became one blaring sound and even his vision got a bit fuzzy.

“Hello!” the chunky woman said, waving her hands in front of Truman’s face. “Earth to dipshit. Anybody there?”

“I’m sorry, mam. I can’t let you do it,” Truman said. And with that, he threw the package of imitation lobster as hard as he could across the store. It must have hit someone in the head.

“Hey!” someone yelled from far off.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing!?” the chunky woman yelled. “I want to speak to your supervisor right now!”

Truman got on the intercom and spoke nervously. The feedback initially piercing in the air.

 “Umm, hello, is anyone there? Mr. Guldencock, please report to register one for customer assistance. Over and out. Have a nice day… And stuff.”

The chunky woman who tried to buy imitation lobster turned to the customer in line behind her. “Can you believe this whack-a-doodle shit?” she said, shaking her bloated head.

“Ugh, I know,” the other customer said. “This guy is the worst cashier they have. He’s so awkward and weird. I hate coming here.”

The imitation lobster woman laughed, revealing her mouth with a few missing teeth. “Tell me about it,” she said. “They need to just fire his stupid ass.”

Mr. Guldencock waddled over to the checkout stand with his usual faux smile plastered to his fat face. “Is there a problem here?” he cheerfully asked.

“There sure as hell is,” the woman complained loudly. “Your moron cashier here started giving me crap about buying imitation lobster, and then he threw my damn package across the store. I think it hit someone.”

Mr. Guldencock looked at Truman with evil eyes of utter disappointment, and then he sighed, the air around him reeking from his breath. Then he got on the intercom. “Register backup to one please. Code Truman. Thank you.”

Mr. Guldencock tapped the tip of his pen on his desk and just stared at him. Truman shifted uncomfortably in the chair. Mr. Guldencock leaned forward. “Well, I have no choice but to let you go, Truman. Your behavior this evening was inexcusable. I mean, what the hell were you thinking? Throwing a customer’s food selection across the store!”

“I was just trying to save her from making a terrible mistake,” Truman mumbled.

“What!? Speak up. Why can’t you ever just talk like a normal person?”

“I said I was trying to keep the customer from making a terrible choice! She was going to buy imitation lobster! That means not real lobster! That’s ridiculous. I had to stop it. I just had to.”

Mr. Guldencock shook his sweaty head and sighed deeply. “We don’t pay you to make choices for our customers, Truman. We pay you to ring up their shit and take their money and act like you love doing it. That’s it. You have no opinion on anything. Your voice does not matter in my grocery store. I mean, who the hell do you think you are?”

Truman looked at the floor dejectedly. “I guess I’m nobody.”

“You know what? You’re probably right,” Mr. Guldencock said with a scalding chuckle. “Now go clean out your locker and get the hell out of here. I don’t ever want to see you in here again.”

“But where am I supposed to buy my food then?” Truman wanted to know.

“I don’t give a dead moose’s last shit where you buy your food, just don’t ever come in here again!” Mr. Guldencock bellowed. Truman just sat there and took his boss’ abuse. Then he started to cry.


In case you missed the previous part of this story, you can check it out HERE. Thanks for reading and supporting independent writers and creators.

The Lobster Guy (Two)

The Lobster Guy. Two women on a beach. One woman is trying to pull a lobster from the other woman's bathing suit.

In the mechanical cacophony beneath bright lights and with the scent of poultry death in the air, Truman Humboldt reluctantly worked.

“You know, I really wish we were shelling lobsters instead of breaking chicken necks!” Truman Humboldt said loudly to the stout Mexican woman working across from him.

“Huh?” she said, with a puzzled look on her face, the noise of the factory floor making it hard to hear him.

“Lobsters!” Truman repeated with frustration. “I wish these were lobsters!”

“Lobsters? These aren’t lobsters, fool. You el pollo loco,” the Mexican woman said to him, waving her blue rubber-gloved hand at him in a dismissive gesture, and she went back to work, completely ignoring him.

Truman didn’t fully understand what she had said. “Thanks a lot!” he yelled back, and he smiled his awkward, yucky teeth smile, a smile that did nothing to improve his burning red complexion.

At lunch break, Truman sat by himself at a long table in the cafeteria looking down at the plastic tray in disgust. He spoke aloud to himself. “Chicken sandwiches. I hate chicken sandwiches. How many times do I have to tell you people I HATE chicken sandwiches!”

The chatter in the cafeteria died down and people stared at Truman and whispered.

One of the supervisors noticed Truman’s outburst and went over to him. “Everything okay there Truman? You seem a little tense.”

“Yes, Mr. Munich, everything is fine. I just wish we had some better menu choices.”

“Well, you know, it’s a free lunch. The company wants to be sure you are well fed because we care about our employees. But, you get what we give you. If you don’t like it, why don’t you bring your own lunch?”

“You know Mr. Munich, thank you, I think I may start doing that,” Truman said, the answer being tainted with a hint of sarcasm. “The only problem is, Mr. Munich, I couldn’t get a decent lobster in this God-awful town if it came right up to me on the sidewalk and bit me on the ass!”

Mr. Munich laughed and patted Truman on his bony shoulder to help soothe the situation. “Don’t you mean claw you on the ass, Truman,” he laughed. His loud, annoying chuckle was plainly insincere. “You know… Because lobsters have claws.”

Truman was unimpressed and somewhat insulted by Mr. Munich’s lighthearted joke. He feigned a snicker and rolled his red, swollen eyes.

“Oh, come on, Truman. It’s funny. Laugh a little once in a while,” Mr. Munich told him. “You’re much too tense about all this lobster stuff. We just want you to be happy here. You are happy working here, aren’t you?”

“Well, I guess so, it’s a job,” Truman answered. “You know how it is these days.”

Mr. Munich sat down next to Truman. He retrieved a white handkerchief from a pocket and dabbed at his sweaty brow. It was always too hot in the factory.

“You know, Truman, we do very important work here,” Mr. Munich began. “We process chickens for people all over the country. Why, just this morning, you may have broken the neck of a chicken that will be enjoyed by a thankful family in… Florida, for example.”

“Florida is hot and muggy and there are too many bugs and alligators and old people there. I hate Florida,” Truman snipped.

“Well, okay, wherever then. How about Maine? You always talk about going to Maine.”

Truman grew angry. “How dare you Mr. Munich! People in Maine only eat lobster! Lobster god damn it!”

“Hey, hold on Truman, settle down. There’s no need to get your tailfeathers in a ruffle. I’m sure some people in Maine eat chicken. They must. I mean, people in Maine can’t eat lobster every single day.”

“I could, and I would if I lived there instead of this shithole. I would eat lobster every damn day, and you know what, if you came to visit me, I wouldn’t let you have any lobster at all. I’d say to you, ‘No lobster roll for you, Mr. Munich,’ and then I’d tell you to get the hell out of my restaurant.”

Mr. Munich stood up and just shook his head.

“Okay Truman, you win. If you’re going to be like this, I’d rather not talk to you right now. You’re a good worker, Truman, but I think you’re losing your marbles. I would like for you to report to the company counselor this afternoon before you leave for the day. I think you need to talk to someone. A professional. I’ll let her know you’re coming.”

Truman Humboldt lightly knocked on the half-opened door of the counselor’s office in an upper part of the chicken plant where he had never been to before.

A soft female voice answered. “Come in.”

“Hello,” Truman shyly said, his heart thumping, as he looked at the well-dressed woman sitting behind a cluttered desk.

“You must be Truman, right? I’m Maggie Barrymore,” and she stood and extended her hand.

Truman grasped her hand with his and he got nervous in his gut, for her skin was very soft and warm to the touch. His was cold and damp.

“Please, sit down,” she said to him, and she subtly wiped her hand on her skirt.

Truman took a seat across from her. He became even more nervous when he saw how attractive she was, how perfectly professional and pompous and pouty and precious she was. How completely unlike himself she was. He wanted to taste her despite how distasteful she was to him. Just because she would never have anyone like him.

“So,” she began, adjusting the smart glasses on her flawless face and readying a pen to take notes. “Mr. Munich told me you had some trouble in the cafeteria today. Do you want to tell me about that?”

Truman looked down when he spoke. “Oh, I wouldn’t call it trouble. I was just a bit upset about having to eat a chicken sandwich again.”

“Truman, you can look at me, I won’t bite.”

“Unless you want me to,” Truman heard her soft voice inside his head say, like a radio in another room.

“Oh, I’m sorry, mam, I’m not always good around people, especially nice looking and put together people such as yourself. You have a fantastic vibe, sort of.”

“Well, thank you Truman, but we’re here to talk about you and what happened today.”

Truman heard her sensual voice in his head again, the radio turned a bit louder. “Do you want to take me to bed? I’ll let you do anything.”

“Well, like I said,” Truman nervously stammered. “I was mad about having to eat a chicken sandwich again. I just wish they had other things for us to eat. But then Mr. Munich suggested I should bring my own lunch from my own home if I wanted to, and I think I may just do that, mam. That’s about it.”

“You can call me Maggie; you don’t have to call me mam. That makes me feel old.”

Truman once again heard her mystical voice in his head, and he began to shake and scratch at his face. “I want you inside me Truman, right here, right now. Give it to me on my desk.”

“All right then… Maggie.” Then Truman brightened when he suddenly felt he had something meaningful to say, to a woman. “Do you happen to like Seinfeld?” he asked her.

“You mean the TV show?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Yeah, it’s pretty funny I guess, but let’s talk more about…”

“Would you like to come over to my house and watch it with me some night?” Truman nervously blurted out. “I could fix us dinner and maybe you would let me kiss you at some point in the evening. It could be like a hot date.”

Maggie Barrymore was a bit stunned and cleared her throat before she spoke again. “Now Truman, that would be highly inappropriate, and I would appreciate you not ever saying anything like that again. We work together. We are to act professional. Is that understood?”

Her imaginary voice penetrated Truman’s mind again. “You can kiss me anywhere you would like to, Truman. And I mean anywhere.”

“I’m sorry Miss Maggie, it’s just that you are… So beautiful. Like a perfect lobster just pulled from the chilly waters of the Atlantic.” Truman let his eyes close as he paused to imagine a life with someone special and beautiful beside him. “I would love to butter you up and eat you.”

Maggie Barrymore pretended to ignore his odd remark and nervously shuffled through some things on her desk in hopes of ending the meeting as quickly as possible.

“I was going through your file, and it looks like you’ve been with us for about four years?” she said.

“That’s right,” Truman answered, returned to reality.

“So, what brought you to Neptune, Nebraska? Seems like an odd choice for someone who’s so into lobster.”

“My grandfather owned a house here, and he left it to me when he died, and I had nowhere else to go after my folks kicked me out of their house in Lincoln, so I came here to live.”

“Why did your parents kick you out?”

“They were tired of me being weird and living in the basement and always talking about lobster and wanting to go live my dream life in Maine. My dad wasn’t my real dad though, he was just a step, and he was mean to me sometimes. He would tell me that I wasn’t a real man, but that I was just a scared little pussy in a man’s body. He just wanted it to be him and my mother by themselves. I never had a real dad, I mean, not that I know of.”

“That’s awful. I’m so sorry to hear that,” Maggie said, feigning empathy. “Do you ever talk to your mother anymore?”

“No, she died not too long ago. She had cancer in her brain, and of course my stepdad doesn’t want anything to do with me. So, here I am Miss Maggie, in Neptune, Nebraska, just trying to survive life while I chase my dream.”

“I’m awfully sad to hear that about your mother, Truman. It sounds like you’ve been through a lot.”

“Hadn’t we all Miss Maggie? Hadn’t we all.” 


You can read the first part of this story HERE.

The Lobster Guy (One)

The lobster guy eats lobster at a restaurant.

Truman Humboldt walked into the Neptune Clock Shop in downtown Neptune, Nebraska and firmly tapped the tip of his walking stick on the tiled floor.

“Uh huh, be right with you,” said the old man behind the counter who was busy dissecting the insides of an old clock and trying to make repairs. He stopped, wiped his oily hands on a rag and looked up.

“What can I do fer ya?”

“I was wondering if you might have a lobster clock for sale.”

“A lobster clock?” the old man asked with a quizzical grunt. “What the hell is a lobster clock?”

“Well, simply put, it’s a clock that looks like a lobster,” Truman replied, and he struck a strange pose with one arm straight up and the other out to his side to imitate the hands of a clock. “And the hour and minute hands look like lobster claws.”

The old man scratched at his head as he looked Truman up and down; he noticed that the 30-something man was oddly tall and skinny and that he had an odd face that looked sunburnt, and that his smile was very awkward. He noticed the long, stringy blonde hair coming down from atop his oily, pinkish head, and if it weren’t for the scraggly beard upon his face, Truman could have easily been mistaken for a very ugly woman.

The owner quickly scanned the walls of his small shop, looking at all the clocks he had hanging there, all ticking away in unison.

“No, sorry. I don’t have any lobster clocks,” the old man said, and he started going back to fixing the broken timepiece spread out on his workbench.

“Well, do you think you can order one for me?” Truman asked, a bit exasperated.

The old man put down his tools and sighed. He looked under his counter and pulled out a small white card and pushed it in Truman’s direction.

“Fill this out and I’ll see what I can do, but I can’t guarantee anything.”

Truman looked the card over suspiciously.

At the very top it said: SPECIAL ORDER REQUEST. Beneath that it asked for his name, address, phone number and nature of the request.

Truman filled it out sloppily, for he had terrible penmanship because he was always so shaky, and then he handed the card back to the man.

“Thank you,” Truman said. “I eagerly await your response.”

And with that he tapped the tip of his walking stick on the floor again, turned and walked out the door.

Truman holstered his walking stick, clumsily boarded his red bicycle, and started riding through downtown, his stringy blonde hair flowing behind him. He had a great sensitivity to light and the bright sun made him squint and that made it hard for him to see. He took a right at Main Street and pedaled up and across the cement bridge that went over the dirty rail yard below. He coasted down the other side and took a right on Corn Street. Truman lived at the very end of the block in a very small house painted red. He rolled into the driveway, set his bicycle against the chain-link fence that surrounded his small yard, and went inside.

Truman closed all the curtains and went into the bathroom where he went to work filling his bathtub with very hot water. He lit a few candles. Then he went into his modest kitchen where he sliced up some lemons and put cubes of butter in a small pot to melt over the gas stove top.

When the tub was nearly full, he turned off the water and poured in the melted butter. Then, one by one, he squeezed juice from the lemon slices into the water and threw the well-rung pieces into a trash bin near the tub. He clicked on the small CD player that sat on the counter near the tub. It played ocean sounds, nothing but ocean sounds.

Truman stripped off his clothes and dipped his lanky body into the scalding water. It hurt at first, but then his body got used to it. His body always got used to it. His hot lemon-butter bath had become a regular ritual lately and he thought he might be going absolutely nuts. He put a wet washcloth over his face and leaned back in the tub. He felt the heat penetrate his bones. He could smell the lemon in his brain. He could feel the butter making his skin oily and slippery. He stayed there in the tub like that for 24 minutes.

When he got out, he studied his naked body in the mirror. The skin that covered his odd bones was a burning red color. He tilted his head to one side and watched as the water dripped off his head, through his hair, down onto his bony, narrow shoulders, across his concave chest and over his somewhat bulging belly.

“I’m grotesque,” he said aloud to no one, and he switched off the light.

Truman walked into his bedroom and pulled out the third drawer of his lobster-decorated dresser. He removed his neatly folded lobster pajamas and put them on. He shuffled into the living room and plopped down and sank into his comfortable red couch, the pattern of the fabric being a mix of lobsters and the heads of bearded sea captains with big pipes in their mouths. 

Truman watched only one thing: Seinfeld. He had the entire television series on DVD, and he proudly admits to everyone that he has seen every single episode at least 101 times. His favorite episode of all time? The Hamptons, of course. That’s the one where Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer visit the ugly baby couple in the Hamptons and Kramer snags lobsters from commercial lobster traps and they all enjoy a great lobster feast and George has a problem with “shrinkage” from being in the cold water and Jerry’s girlfriend makes fun of him and George exacts revenge by putting lobster in her scrambled eggs at breakfast because she’s allergic to shellfish — yadda, yadda, yadda.

“Hah!” Truman laughed out loud, as he watched The Hamptons for the 102nd time.

It was 6 in the a.m. when Truman arose from troubled sleep. He forced his body up and sat on the edge of the bed and looked out the window at the endless, boring view of the flatlands filled with seemingly endless fields of corn. He lit a cigarette with his lobster-shaped lighter and blew the smoke into the air.

“Why?” he asked aloud, “Why can’t I awake to a beautiful view of the ocean, instead of… This? Why do people even live here? Why am I living here?”

He sighed heavily, for it was Truman’s dream to move to Maine and live right there on the edge of the ocean and have his own lobster shack where he would serve the best lobster rolls in the world. And then he giggled to himself.

“And if they don’t order right, I will say ‘No lobster roll for you!’”

He stood tall and stretched. His bones popped here and there, and he walked into the kitchen to eat some breakfast.

“Today I will have Froot Loops,” he said in a high, quirky voice. He got out his favorite cereal bowl, the one that looked like a lobster, and poured the cereal in slowly, all the while singing: “Froot Loops, Froot Loops, Froot Loops.”

He munched and crunched and stared out the kitchen window above the sink.

“Damn it!” he suddenly yelled, pounding his fist on the countertop. “I don’t want to go to work today! I hate chickens. They’re so nasty.”

Truman had two jobs. The main one being working at the chicken processing plant where he spent all day breaking chicken necks and then placing the birds on a grotesque conveyor belt that whisked them away to other torture chambers.

“Snap, crackle, plop!” Truman queerly yelped. “Snap, crackle, plop, plop, plop.”

His second job was working part-time as a cashier at the Neptune Pop-In Shop Food Market. He didn’t mind the job too much, except for the fact he always felt his co-workers were laughing at him behind his back. Which they were. Everyone laughed about Truman Humboldt. He was the town oddball.

“Froot Loops, Froot Loops, Froot Loops,” Truman repeated as he wandered through the house not really knowing what the hell he was doing until he finally realized he needed to pull it together, get dressed, and ship off to the factory.