Coraline the Sea Crab

*This piece was written to accompany the illustrations in David Wiesner’s wordless picture book, Flotsam.



Welcome to my story. My name is Coraline and I’m just a tiny old sea crab. I’ve seen my share of things, but nothing as extraordinary as this one boy. His┬áname was Alberto and it happened one warm summer day at the beach…

He came to the beach with his parents, Gwen and *Mike…

“Mommy! Can I have a dollar for a can of soda? It’s so hot and I’m thirsty,” Alberto said in an obnoxiously annoying voice.

“Boy, if you don’t go over to that water fountain and get you some water, besides soda isn’t going to do anything for you but make you thirsty. Now leave your mom alone. She’s trying to tan!” Mike stated.

“But Dad,” Alberto said.

“But Daddy nothing! Now play with your toys,” Mike interrupted, clearly irritated.

Alberto got some water from the fountain, then slowly made his way back to his beach towel, dragging his toes through the sand. That’s when he found me. That darned boy almost stepped on me, scaring my shell right off my tiny, wrinkled back.

Thank goodness he lost interest in me for those crummy sand castles these careless kids are always making. Sure, they can take the sand and shovel me and my family right out the ground, but never have the decency to put it back. Such nuisances these kids be, I tell you. But anyway, back to my story.

“Mom and Dad never pay attention to me,” Alberto said, frowning. “I’ll just have to find my own fun then. Hmmph.” That’s when he saw my cousin, Tyron! Oh, that boy, what is it with him and shelled creatures? Tyron looked so scared, I swear I saw his shell turning purple! Then someone was screaming, “ALBERTO! Watch out!” It was his mom, frantically screaming.

Too late.

“Ahhhhrgh,” Alberto yelled as the wave swept him up.

He ended up on the shore, coughing up what seemed to be half the ocean. His mom was screaming to him but he couldn’t quite hear because something had hold of his attention. It looked like an old-time camera or something. I don’t really know what cameras look like but it seemed to frighten my poor little cousin Tyron.

Alberto slowly got up and crawled to the camera. “Wow,” Alberto said to himself. “This is . . . so COOL! Hmmm… Mel-Ville. I should show Mom and Dad,” he said to no one in particular. “Mom! Dad! Look what I’ve found!” he said excitedly as he ran to them. “Look what I just found! It came right out of the water and landed at my feet. Isn’t it cool?” he asked breathlessly.

“Yeah, Alberto, but it might be someone’s and they probably miss it,” said his mother.

“Aw, Mom, but,” Alberto started, but his mother cut him off.

“We’ll go see if anyone reported it lost. If not, then I guess you can keep it. Okay?”

“Okay, Mom,” Alberto said sadly.

Luckily, no one reported it lost, and Alberto got something amazing…

To be continued…