Primitive Society

Written By: David Fitzsimons

Where Triton Lane in East Quogue meets Shinnecock Bay, a few local horseshoe crabs happen to be holding their semi-annual Trustees meeting. Let’s listen in on a Trustees meeting held underwater just offshore at low tide.

Quincy: Let’s call our Trustees meeting to order. When I call your name, raise your tail and say ‘aye.’ Megamir!
Megamir: (raises tail) Aye.
Quincy: Steg!
Steg: (raises tail) Aye.
Quincy: Harry!
Steg: He’s busy over at the love pile.
Quincy: OK. Let’s see. Ro!
Megamire: She’s over with the pile too.
Quincy: Didn’t they know there was a Trustee’s meeting?
Steg: They knew about it because I told them. But you also sent out a memo last week indicating that our numbers are slowly declining and, as a result, we all need to take reproduction very seriously. So I guess they went with the memo.
Quincy: At least somebody read it. That’s good. We’ve got the three of us, so if anything comes to a vote, at least we’ve got a quorum. Let’s get to the first item on the agenda – water quality. Do you two think we are in for another red tide this year? We can’t keeping moving further east. These are our waters and the East Hampton horseshoes don’t like us crowding in on them. They keep making comments about the horseshoes from the ‘other side of the Shinnecock Canal’ like we are visiting them from a leper colony or something.
Megamir: Who the hell wants to go there? That’s a long crawl. Forget it. I’m staying here.
Steg: It could very well be a death wish.
Megamir: Why are the humans doing this to us?
Steg: They’ve only been here for around 6 million years and look at what they’ve already done! Do you think that they could last as long as us the way they carry on?
Quincy: Try to be fair. They have much to learn from us. We’ve been here for 450 million years so we have a sizable edge in experience on this planet. From an evolutionary perspective, they are embryonic. The fact is, they’ve been in their current form for around 200,000 years, which isn’t really a lot of time.
Megamir: What do you mean — in their ‘current form’?
Steg: Earlier iterations of humans were considered more primitive by the current gang of humans, but I don’t hold the same opinion as them. They didn’t have big homes, and all sorts of fancy gadgets, but the water was very healthy when they were around.
Megamir: How could this be happening? They finally got rid of those smelly duck farms, and now this! Don’t the humans like clear water?
Quincy: Whether they do or not seems to be immaterial. But what I do know is that they like green lawns, which appears to be the cause of all this.
Steg: What do you mean?
Quincy: They dump some kind of powder on their lawns every spring which ultimately ends up in the bay. The algae goes nuts on it.
Steg: We all need to die for this?
Quincy: Apparently.
Megamir: Is the grass a food source for the humans?
Quincy: No.
Megamir: Then what do they do with it?
Quincy: As far as I can make out, they just look at it.
Megamir: What!
Quincy: Sadly, it seems like some kind of cultural thing with them. Those with the greenest lawns have the most status or something or other. I really don’t know what to make …
Steg: (Cuts him off) Don’t they understand that our females feed over a dozen types of migratory shore birds, including the red knot, which relies strictly on our eggs? There aren’t any red knots around without us. We also feed sea turtles – big and small. We were here long before the dinosaurs. And they call us crabs! Where’s the respect?
Megamir: Our girls lay up to 120,000 eggs each! If only we could explain this to the humans in terms they could understand.
Steg: We could tell them we’re kind of like … Costco underwater.
Megamir: More like Fresh Direct.
Quincy: I don’t have figuring out how to communicate with the humans as an agenda item, nor do I see myself adding it to our list of tasks anytime soon. Anyway, let’s table this discussion for now and hope for the best for the bay this summer. If things get red, it means the humans are making things too green.
Steg: And that we have to crawl east into snobbier waters?
Quincy: That is, if you want to live. OK, let’s go to our next agenda item, which concerns the humans taking our friends and relatives for a few days, removing blood from them and then putting them back in different bays. This appears to be happening more frequently now. For some reason, they want our blood.
Megamir: Why were those taken selected? Were the humans angry at them? Are they trying to make our entire community paranoid with this perverse exercise?
Steg: I guess we should be thankful they brought them back, even if they returned them to different waters. And that we should be even more thankful that we haven’t been taken yet.
Megamir: Maybe they are being tested or vaccinated…
Quincy: Against what! We need to be vaccinated against humans.
Steg: How do we know which ones were taken and returned?
Quincy: It pains me to say this, but they are easy to spot. Within a month of their return, about one out of five die, and the rest are completely out of it.
Megamir: What do you mean?
Quincy: It’s like they are all doped up or something. They barely move with the tides!
Steg: The last time something like this happened, we had a bunch of horseshoes strung out on hydroponic kelp.
Megamir: Oh yeah… down on the Jersey shore.
Quincy: Well that was their own fault; we told them to stay on the strict worm diet, but did they listen? Nooooo…
Megamir: You know what they say, ‘what happens in New Jersey stays in New Jersey’
Quincy: I’d be thankful for that if you got it right, but the expression applies to Las Vegas, not New Jersey.
Megamir: I always get those two mixed up.
Quincy: OK, moving along here what have we next?
Steg: Can we talk about my reverse idea now?
Quincy: If you insist.
Steg: You know how excited I am about this! And I’ve been working out all the details.
Megamir: What’s this all about?
Quincy: Believe it or not, Steg here believes we can advance our civilization by moving backwards.
Steg: Quincy, that’s an unfair characterization of my concept.
Quincy: Well then, how would you put it?
Steg: Let me explain. The beauty of my idea lies in its simplicity.
Quincy: Do tell.
Steg: Let me ask you both a question. Did it ever occur to you that the common thread across all the human groups, even in their lowest forms, is their ability to manufacture, carry and use weapons that will harm others. Would you not agree?
Quincy: That and their ability to hurt the environment. They all seem quite adept at it.
Megamir: What exactly is your idea?
Steg: If we start crawling in reverse, our rudder becomes a menacing sword! And then we don’t have to take any more crap from anybody, including the humans and those snobs on the other side of the canal.
Quincy: OK, genius, before we start dealing with the implications of moving up the food chain, have you solved the hinge problem?
Steg: I just finished the patent application. I don’t have the drawings with me, but what I have in mind is a removable brace between the prosoma and the opisprosoma.
Quincy: You’re actually serious about this?
Steg: Very.
Quincy: I know you were talking this up when you were campaigning for Trustee, but I never dreamed you would actually follow through with it.
Steg: You know as well as I that if you don’t keep your campaign promises, you are vulnerable when the next election comes up. I aim to keep this seat.
Megamir: If I recall, your campaign slogan was ‘Make Moniebogue Great Again.’ That’s vague enough. How much trouble could you possibly get yourself into with that?
Steg: I thought the exact same thing, but regrettably, this slogan seemed to unleash the ultra conservative and even fascist wings of my constituent community. Now they are telling me all the time – ‘We voted you in. Appease us.’
Quincy: What do they want?
Steg: Precisely what I am proposing we become — a fighting machine.
Quincy: Have you thought through how your soldiers will right themselves if they get flipped on their backs?
Steg: Working on that one still.
Vibrations…Vibrations growing louder.
Megamir: Did you hear that?
Splash… Splash… Splash.
Quincy: Humans in white lab coats approaching! Meeting adjourned. Head to deep water fast. And for God’s sakes Steg, don’t crawl in reverse!