Oh, to be in Seaside Heights, New Jersey! The bustle of the boardwalk. The cheerful cacophony of tourists and assorted fun-lovers. The flavors and aromas wafting from a beachful of seafood joints.
But even in this festive, sun-blessed land, tragedy finds a foothold. Here, on the very premises of the Seaside Crab House, two crab lovers toast their love in the waning moments of their lives. He is dapper in his carapace-red hat. She is alluring as ever, her eyelashes the very picture of a blossoming femininity. They weep, but little. They clink their beer mugs, savor the last swallow, he hoping to fix this moment in his mind forever and beyond, she willing herself enough strength for the both of them.
This is the end. Perhaps their families have forbidden their love to flower. Perhaps, for reasons the heart can never understand, the world will not—cannot—honor their bond. She's too young. Or he's too poor. Who knows why? Whatever their story, each sheds one precious tear, the last gifts they will ever share, before they are joined forever in the boiling pot.
(It remains unclear why the Seaside Crab House would wish to identify so closely with the agony of star-crossed lovers, but when have we ever understood the motivations of the meat purveyors?)
An intriguing detail: The crabelle's semicircular "apron," as it's called (the structure on her abdomen), marks her as a mature female. Our initial impression—Romeo and Juliet in crustacean form—might need revision. Oh, the tragedy of the May-December romance in a world of burdensome convention!
(Thanks to Dr. K. Hirst for the referral and the photo.)