© 2010 Billie S. Noakes
All Rights Reserved
By Billie Noakes
Three Hermit Crabs named Lamar, Tommy, and Nancy were hanging out at St. Pete Beach trying to stay out of the hot sun, when a tourist put her beach towel on the sand right next to the rock they were shaded by.
The girl turned on her radio and blasted Lamar, Tommy, and Nancy with music so loud, it made their legs curl in! But they were shaded and cool by the rock and didn’t want to move, so they sat there, irritated, and wished she would just leave.
It’s a good thing she didn’t! Pretty soon, the music ended and a weather report came on: there was a thunderstorm coming, and it would be accompanied by high winds!
Well, Lamar, Tommy, and Nancy knew what that meant—sand would be flying all over, stinging their soft bodies and sticking to them and making them uncomfortable. They decided it was time for them to find … homes.
You see, Hermit Crabs aren’t like snails or oysters or even Blue Crabs. They all grow their shells around their soft bodies. Their homes come to them naturally. Not so for Hermit Crabs. Hermit Crabs live in places that other occupants have left behind.
So our three soft-bodied friends had some searching to do!
Lamar was the first to find a home he thought was perfect: He found an empty paper cup that some careless tourist had left on the beach. Lamar crawled inside and waited for the storm.
When the winds and rain hit, Lamar discovered that a flimsy old paper cup was no shelter at all! The rain soaked right through it, and even sopping wet, the paper cup was so lightweight that the wind picked it up with Lamar inside, and carried it all the way down the beach! It bounced this way and that, and poor Lamar got motion sick and threw up! He did! Puked all over the inside of his not-so-safe new home.
When the storm was over and Lamar was steady enough to look outside, he discovered that his paper cup had landed in Mr. Fussy’s front yard. Mr. Fussy didn’t like litter, and that paper cup looked more like litter than anything Mr. Fussy had seen in a long time!
So Mr. Fussy picked the paper cup up off his lawn and threw it in his trash can. And since it was trash day, it wasn’t long before a big, loud, lumbering garbage truck came up the street, and big, strong arms picked the trash can up and dumped it right into the back of the garbage truck!
The garbage truck collected a lot of garbage that day, and after he got out of his paper cup, Lamar spent HOURS climbing through all kinds of garbage just to stay on top of the heap.
All for nothing! Because when the garbage truck finally got to the city dump, it backed up to a big hole in the ground and tilted its bed up so far that Lamar and all the garbage went tumbling out! It took poor Lamar forever to crawl out of that mound of garbage and get back to the beach!
When he got there, he stared at the empty beach, worried that Tommy and Nancy had been caught in the storm.
He looked and looked, but there was no sign of either of them on the beach.
But wait! Was that Tommy’s voice? Lamar turned around and around, and finally caught sight of a big tin can turned upside down under a dumpster outside an Italian restaurant. “Over here,” said the tin can in a voice that sounded suspiciously like Tommy’s. “I’m here!”
“After you found your paper cup, I found this tin can,” said Tommy. “I crawled inside, and rocked back and forth till the can tipped over so I could roll it under this dumpster. The wind couldn’t get to me here, and the bits of tomato left inside were pretty tasty. You should move into a tin can,” Tommy advised Lamar. And that’s just what Lamar did.
Bad timing! A movie company had just come to town to film a movie about a tornado! They brought big machines that made a lot of noise and kicked up a lot of wind, and that movie-made wind was so strong that it blew those cans, with Tommy and Lamar inside, down the beach! Worse, it flung those cans toward a brick wall, and it was all poor Tommy and Lamar could do to jump out of those cans before the cans were CRUNCHED against the wall. Whew! Close call!
It took them a while, but Lamar and Tommy finally got back to the part of the beach where they’d started out, and they started looking for Nancy, but she was nowhere to be found.
They settled down to think how they could go about finding Nancy, and soon Lamar and Tommy heard a familiar call! Recognizing Nancy’s voice, they looked eagerly up and down the beach, but all they saw were some old sea shells that Lamar and Tommy guessed had been washed up on the beach by the storm.
Nancy had weathered the storm — and the movie’s wind machine — by bracing herself inside the smooth-walled shell that had been abandoned by its previous occupant.
Nancy’s new home was buoyant: the shell floated safely on the puddles of water left by the thunderstorm. It was aerodynamically sound: it rolled harmlessly along the beach when the movie company kicked up the wind and sand. What a GREAT new home! And it was RECYCLED!
Tommy and Lamar looked around the beach and found two more sea shells that were no longer occupied, and they moved right in.
Just in time, too, because a hurricane was on its way, and it was big and it was bad and it blew into town with a fury!
And if you go to the beach this week-end, you’ll probably see all three of them walking happily along the shoreline, carrying their fine, recycled homes with them!