TheLobsterWhat you do is stick your fingers in their little air holes and pull their heads inside out, which disorients them. Octopi, I mean. Always said that would disorient me.

Abrams, whom I called “Honest Abe,” was a University of Mexico oceanographer out of Mexico City. He had assembled a team to dive the waters off Cedros Island to study how sea lions and their diet affected the Mexican fisheries. He and I snorkeled armed with Hawaiian slings, a type of spear, to provide fresh seafood for our team of eleven members camped out on the beach. Mostly sea bass.

Little gray-speckled octopi concealed themselves underneath rock ledges twenty feet or so down. Taking a gulp of air, Honest Abe and I dived and gloved the ledges for the little sea animals. That was where the “disorientation” came in. Once their heads were inside out, they clung desperately to our arms or legs while we continued fishing.

Served up by our cook, they tasted a bit like rubber bands and rice.

One late afternoon, diving together, Abe and I came upon the tentacles of a giant lobster testing the water from a little underwater cave. I had dived for lobster off Florida—but never had I encountered a specimen like this one. We peeped into the cave, and the guy stared right back, as though daring us. He looked to be three or four feet in total length.

Running out of air, Abe and I surfaced to suck in more air.

Que dice?” he asked.

“Tengo hambre.”

Back down. I grabbed one tentacle, Abe the other. The lobster didn’t budge.

Up again, back down. This went on several times before we dislodged the big crustacean and he took off backwards across the ocean floor (which is how lobsters travel), dragging both swimmers along with him.

It was a matter of whether the big bug tired first or we ran out of air.

The entire research team enjoyed steamed lobster for dinner.

He did not taste like rubber bands and rice.

“Due to a series of events which has caused wide international notice, the United Nations has announced that it will patrol New York City to safeguard…”  From A Thousand Years of Darkness, a thriller by Charles W. Sasser now in paperback or electronic media from Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com.