Last week I got a text from Cornholio that read, "There are a few crabs around Joe. Let me know if you want to go crabbing sometime."
The text was accompanied by a photo of a large pile of Dungeness.
I texted back with something along the lines of "Fuck yeah! Anytime!" and after a few more texts a date was set and I thought, "About time this phone proved itself useful."
On Tuesday I left the house a bit after 4:00 AM with the intention of meeting Cornholio at the boat ramp by 6:30 AM.
I'd never been to this place before, the fog was thick, and there were no street lights.
I missed the last turn and ended up thirty miles north of where I needed to be.
I tried to call Cornholio, but my phone wouldn't work, and I went right back to hating it.
After driving around for half an hour looking for the turnoff, I ended up flagging down some guy in a pickup who kindly gave me directions to where I needed to be.
By the time I got to the boat ramp, Cornholio had already dropped over half the pots and was loading up his boat with the last three.
I apologized for being late: I hate being late. He just smiled and handed me a beer.
Cornholio showed me how he baits his pots: chicken legs in one compartment, squid in another. We motored out to a spot he thought might prove productive and he said, "OK, toss it over."
After tossing the last pot, we motored back to where he'd dropped the first and hauled it in.
He'd set out eight pots, and just about every one we pulled up had at least one keeper in it. He did the measuring. The big ones went into the live well.
The little ones went back into the sea, and then the pots were dropped back into the ocean.
The fog lifted as the day progressed, and we spent a beautiful morning out on the Pacific.
By 11:00 AM we had our limit - ten each - so we pulled up all the traps, removed all the bait, and headed back to the ramp.
Cornholio then pulled out his grill and cooked us up a magnificent lunch.
After lunch we divided our catch, and one of the crabs reminded me of just how nasty they can be.
I'd mentioned that I planned to give some to my family, and Cornholio insisted I take half of his.
The guy is a prince.
On the way home I stopped by my mother's house and gave some to her, and then stopped by my brother's house and gave some to him.
Then I stopped by Neil's place.
"Hey Neil, I've got a couple of crabs for you."
"Are they cooked?"
"No, they're live."
"What am I supposed to do with them?"
"Uh... boil them and eat them."
"I don't like dealing with them when they're alive."
"Well don't take them if you don't want them."
"No, I'll take them."
I put two in a cooler he pulled out of his garage and I watched as he walked back inside his house, staring at the crabs and slowly shaking his head.
Neil was not pleased.
I got home, put a big pot of water on the outdoor gas grill, and boiled up what I had left.
Then my wife and I had a magnificent feast.
Thanks again Cornholio. Anytime you're in need of a deckhand, give me a call.