Last year when we were vacationing at the ocean, all of the cousins got together and bought hermit crabs for their children. My daughter wanted a hermit crab, but none of the leftover ones at the store looked healthy. In fact, they looked like they might just die on the way home.
We knew nothing about hermit crabs, what they ate, how big they grew… if they were truly hermits and needed to be alone most of the time, or if they were really social butterflies. What if they lived 150 years—or longer? Who would take care of the hermit crab when our daughter goes to college? Or when we go into a nursing home?? Were we ready to saddle our grandchildren with the care and keeping of the thing? We had questions. We needed answers!
We decided to wait until we got home, then visit the pet store down the street.
The young man at the store shook his head emphatically when we told him what we wanted. “No,” he said. “Hermit crabs are a bad idea. Here, take this guinea pig instead.” He handed us a little ball of fur that started purring and chirping as soon as my daughter held it. How could we say no? She was so cute and fluffy. I loved the way she snuggled close to my daughter – it almost made me cry – it was so beautiful! That day we brought home Princess Cocobean.
Little did we know then that the pop-corning move that this little cutie was doing was just the beginning of something darker, more mischievous, some part of a master plan that we would discover as she grew.
Now Cocobean has graduated to Queen Cocobean and is three times the size that she was when we first laid eyes on her. She jumps around and chirps when my daughter plays with her…and studiously ignores me except to take a bite out of my flesh whenever she can. She squeals when my husband walks in the room, screams like a little girl at a One D concert. My husband, of course, thinks this charming, the little furry creature craves his attention. He laughs, scratches the top of her proffered head, he picks her up and holds her close as we watch the latest episode of The Blacklist. Then slowly, when no one is watching, she approaches…it is with great anxiety I see she is at my elbow.
We exchange looks, and then, as if it were written in a B movie script somewhere, the little darling takes a bite out of me!
Now, I’m a nice person, I give her apple slices and carrots. I deliver parsley to her and insist my daughter escorts the little royal outside when the sun is high, but does she care? I am just a chew toy to this creature, a thing meant only for ripping and shredding… And I thought she was cute.