King Kong Runaway Lobster


The following story is true, but no names were changed to protect either the innocent or the guilty, since the subject of this tale is a 30-pound South African lobster we will call Mikey.

My neighbor, Diane, was married to a wealthy advertising executive who would often call her with the request to put a meal together for visiting company representatives. She usually had only a few hours notice, which is enough to put anyone in a tizzy. I often saw her in the supermarket, frantic in her search for endive and truffles. Sometimes our paths would cross in the elevator, she laden with packages and a desperate glaze on her face that made me grateful I was single.

On the day in question, Diane’s husband whose name was Arnold, called and informed her that a 30-pound South African lobster was on its way shipped in ice to their luxurious apartment on the Upper West Side of New York City. Could she put it in a big pot and set the dining room table for 12 people?

She knocked urgently on my door, asking to borrow my big pot, which she knew I had from a previous dinner at my house. This is how I got involved in the lobster debacle.

I was leaving the building to run some errands when the monster arrived in wooden box filled to the brim with ice. I caught a glimpse of a claw that was the about the size of one of Godzilla’s talons and I couldn’t get it out of my mind as I ran through my morning agenda.

Diane placed the large pot on her state-of-the-art stove, filled it with water, turned on the stove burner and waited. She told me later that she felt very guilty because the lobster was so big that it was almost like killing a person. She took a deep breath and with the help of a pair of heavy tongs, lifted Mikey up from out of the ice and slipped him into the pot.

She then went into her bedroom to call her husband and tell him everything was going according to plan. Sitting on her canopy bed and facing the hallway, she was alarmed at the sudden barking of Antoine, her French poodle and the loud hissing of Ming, her Siamese cat. She looked up from the phone, and suddenly became the star of her own horror flick.

Two large, wriggly feelers appeared before her eyes followed by the rest of the monster lobster crossing the corridor in front of her bedroom. The cat pounced on it as if it were a mouse and the dog cowered in a corner, growling and barking at the shelled intruder seeking asylum from all the commotion and possibly, some butter sauce.

Screaming into the phone and jumping up and down on the bed she cried, “Come home now. It’s mad at me and it’s loose. Help!”

South African lobsters are notorious for their size and like their smaller brethren must be placed in a pot of boiling water head first in order to die quickly and painlessly. Diane’s pot was only warm, and the creature simply lifted the lid with its weight, knocked it off the pot and went for a stroll throughout the apartment!

I have forgotten other particulars about this cautionary lobster tale. Mikey did get eaten in the end after significant hysterics and many tears falling in and out of the butter sauce!

(photo courtesy of Margouillet/