After I had finished making a love letter in the sand to my husband, I walked along the beach and picked up shells.
When I got home, I laid them out on the table and whilst I was admiring them, one of the shells started to move and out crawled Hermann. Now, as you can imagine, this was a bit of a nasty shock for both of us. Normally when I pick up shells which house hermit crabs I get a quick nip from them as if to say ‘Hoy! what the hell do you think you are doing! This is my shell so piss off and leave me alone!’ but on this occasion I think Hermann must have been having a siesta when I picked him up. There was certainly no angry nip nor tell tale signs of life from this particular shell when I popped it into my beach bag.
‘Hello, I’m Lottie’ thinking that it was only right and proper, having inadvertently kidnapped this poor creature, that I should introduce myself to him and try to explain how he’d ended up 3 miles from the beach. The little hermit crab having now overcome his shyness, was eyeing me up very suspciously. ‘So what’s your name, little fella?’ I asked him, whilst at the same time desperately thinking how I could explain myself out of this sorry situation. The little crab shuffled across the pile of shells towards me and popping his head back out of his shell replied in a very, tiny, squeaky voice, ‘Hermann Hermit-Crab, but you can call me Hermann’
‘Well Hermann’ I replied, overjoyed on the one hand that at least we could communicate but on the other, hating having the responsibility of what to do with this tiny little crab which was now making it’s way across my kitchen table. I wished that he’d made himself known to me an hour earlier when I was on the beach instead of leaving it until now. ‘The thing is Hermann, it’s late now and it’s going to take us an hour to walk back to the beach in the dark. I could get you a taxi if you’d like?’
Hermann scratched at the shells, desperately trying to find some sand in which to burrow, clearly not remotely happy about the situation that I’d got him into. This pathetic sight further fuelled my already massive guilt trip.
I scratched my head trying to think up a cunning plan that might save the day for both of us, and I suddenly came up with an idea. Whether or not it would appeal to Hermann…I was about to find out. With fingers tightly crossed behind my back, I decided to put it to him.
‘I’ve got another idea Hermann. We could always crack open a bottle of Bintang together, and if you feel ok about this you could stay the night and I will drop you back at the beach in the morning?’
Hermann, on hearing the mention of Bintang, immediately stopped scratching at the shells and quickly shuffled back over to me. ‘That’s a brilliant idea Lottie! Let’s do it!’
And that my friends, is the story of how I met Hermann the Hermit Crab.