I’ve been away longer than I expected…We got back home this evening after a weeklong road trip through America’s hinterland. It was not a soft landing.

We discovered that in our absence, another grisly murder had taken place in our home. Who knew hermit crabs were such thugs? We had already buried one, posthumously named Abel, before we left for our trip. This time, Cain, the murderer who had torn Abel limb from limb got his comeuppance. This time it was Cain’s legs that were strewn about the sand. When my son tried to move his lifeless body a whole demonic host of tiny winged insects flew out of its shell. It was like something out of a horror movie. My poor son is scarred for life.

We did our own crime scene analysis. My son wouldn’t accept the fact that the last crab standing (the one I insisted he name after me) could have committed such a heinous crime.

“But she would never do such a thing. She’s a goody two-shoes!” he insisted.

“Yeah, but she could only be pushed so far. Remember, she had just witnessed Cain murdering Abel in cold blood. I bet Cain stupidly thought he could take her on too, even though she was twice his size and when he got up in her face she was all, ‘Don’t mess with me, you little punk.’ Or maybe she was avenging Abel’s death.”

Cain is now buried in our garden and my namesake now has the entire tank all to her murderous self. She seems to have lost a limb or two in the fight…

"You talking' to me?"

“You talkin’ to me?”

but she’s a tough chick. We’re hoping she pulls through.

And the moral of the story is: Don’t mess with Adrienne. She’ll get real crabby on your @$$.

An Update

Remember my new grandchildren? The creepy little ones with pinchers?

They are far, far creepier than I could have even imagined. I had just about come to grips with the idea that I would now have two grandchildren, when that wayward son of mine brought home three.

This past weekend I was visiting my new niece in Minneapolis. (More on this tomorrow). When I got back, my son told me that while I was away, one of the hermit crabs had murdered the other one in the middle of the night. He had heard chirruping and had thought his new charges were playing with each other. When daylight broke, he awoke to the stink of dead fish and the sight of the hermit crab’s lifeless, dismembered body.

We have buried Abel and have painted the murderer’s shell with the mark of Cain. And now it’s just Cain and my namesake, Adrienne.

The next day we left on our family vacation. We are trying to regroup after the tragedy in a glamorous, exotic locale whose charms may help us forget, if only for a little while…We are in Pittsburgh.