Man the Crab

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12.

Alan went straight home. His adventure was still fresh in his memory, but he found himself questioning whether or not it had all been real. He lay in bed thinking about all of the things that had happened to him, and he couldn’t sleep. He got up and started to write it all down, right from the first time he had seen Man the crab scurrying up and down the beach.

The next morning, despite being very tired, Alan went to work as usual. As soon as he had finished he went straight home and continued to write his story, and within a week it was completed. Alan found that ideas came to him relatively easily after that, and in the following year after his adventure he wrote many stories. Some were published, and he became successful enough to quit his job in the restaurant and write full time. Eventually his success took him to many towns, cities and countries far and wide.

He wrote voraciously for many years, until eventually he had saved enough money to buy a little restaurant of his own in Cornwall.One sunny Sunday morning in August, Alan was sitting outside the front of his restaurant reading a book. It was such a lovely day, and Alan’s mind had been wandering into the fantastical all morning, so he decided to take a break and go for a walk on the beach. He had achieved more than he could ever have hoped for, and he cast his mind back to the little crab that had helped it all happen; the little crab he had never had the chance to thank.

When he got to the beach Alan noticed that it was completely deserted, which was unheard of on such a beautiful day. In fact, thinking back, he hadn’t seen a single person all morning. In the middle of the beach by the shore, Alan could see what he thought was a red ball. As he got closer he realised that it was not a ball, but a crab sitting completely still and facing out to sea. Alan’s heart began to beat furiously as he went and sat next to the crab. Could this be Man?

“Man?” he said quietly, but the crab gave no answer. “It’s me, Alan… the cook.” Still no sound came from the crab. “I own a restaurant now. I wrote a story about my adventure… about you.” Alan sighed, he felt quite silly talking to a crab. He looked around to see if anyone was there, but the beach was still empty. “I never would have been able to do it without your help,” he said. “I never would have considered any of this…” Alan gave the crab a friendly tap. “Thanks, Man.”

Alan was relieved that he finally had the chance to thank the crab, even if it wasn’t the same crab from all those years ago. He sat with the crab for a while, staring at the water, enjoying the relaxing sound of the waves and gentle breeze. After a while he got up to leave, taking one last hopeful look at the crab.

“I can’t eat a book,” said the crab, “but a beef Wellington, now that would be a different story.”

Alan was startled at first, and then he smiled.

Man the crab smiled back. It’s hard to describe how a crab can smile, but let’s just assume that they can, and he did.

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