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Curs'd Crustaceans

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The Northwestern rode (that's what she said) at anchor a half mile off Dutch, waiting for the wind to change and let them offload (baby). Below decks, Sig groaned and writhed in his bunk, thinning blond tresses sweat-matted as he snarled in his sleep. It was the usual nightmare – giant opilio crabs in four pairs of fishnet stockings apiece, rouge on their non-existent nipples, gesturing lewdly with their chelipeds. Oh, the suggestions of unnatural congress! Awake and in command of himself, Sig knew, he knew, that a man could not copulate with a crustacean, could not sate his Norwegian needs upon a humble arthropod. He had heard the stories. Knew what tales were whispered in the shadowed fjord-side villages of his ancestors. There would be no more of that while he yet lived, he was certain. Indeed, he had sworn a blood-pact with his brothers, sealed by darker rites than the biting of a dead fish. And he knew that Edgar suspected. Had heard his midnight mumblings. Edgar was watching him.

But if damned he must be, he would be fully damned. He would make Edgar, sexy sullen Edgar, the hottest thing in filthy oilskins ever to sail the Bering Sea – he would make. him. watch. What was an incestual thrill compared to the blatant crushing of the species barrier?

In his bunk, Sig began to whine.

In the nightmare world, he closed with the flirtatious filly of the ocean, flipped the beast with the consummate skill of a lifelong crab man. But there was no entry for him here. Yet he knew what the Norway men of old had done. There were tales, whispered by the whitebeards in dark, dirty bars lit only by crab-oil. Making a fist, he crunched it through the giant carapace – and then addressed himself to the ragged hole.

The crew were ripped from their repose by a rising, ululating agony as Captain Sig, trapped still in a tortured slumber, spent his MORNING TORMENTS as he had done every night of the waning quarter moon since he had attained manhood.

In his own testosterone-soaked bunk, Edgar shivered. He knew this was the curse of the Hansen clan. Had he been the firstborn...