The Unfortunate Intruder

It’s been raining here a lot lately.

Not just typical August-style raining. We’ve been dealing with the all-day-long, thunder-and-lightning, high-winds-and-hail, torrential downpour kind of rain.

After a week or more of this weather, we’re left with sodden ground, lots of standing water and puddles, and a longing for the sunshine.

Finally, the clouds parted yesterday and the sun peeked feebly out, as if to check to see if the coast was clear. And for the first day in a week, I was able to go outside, breathe in the fresh (wet) air, and proceed with my day as normal.

For those who are long time readers, you know that my job is a strange one. I live where I work, and vice versa. And my normal morning routine goes like this: wake up, shower, dress, fret with my new (longer) hairstyle, walk to the office, open the office, and go outside to get the golf cart.

So there I was, bopping along, a song in my heart and a smile on my face. Whistling a since-forgotten tune, I opened up the unit door so I could retrieve the golf cart for the day. 

I should pause here to remind you that, as an official Spider-Hater, I am always hyper vigilant when it comes to keeping an eye out for them. Especially when I’m entering a situation where they have been known to linger before. So, every day, twice a day, when I open that unit door, I automatically go into “Scan for Spider” mode. That, along with the sudden “clicking” sound, was the only thing that alerted me to the unfortunate intruder.

For the first time in nearly 9 years, it wasn’t a spider, or a hoppy toad, or a waterbug that greeted me when I opened the door.

It was an honest-to-goodness crawfish.


And he was less happy to see me than I was to see him.

My immediate gut reaction was to run for the hills, screaming Brian’s name all the way back to the safety of the office. Here I was, all by myself, in flip flops, facing a ditch shrimp. Terrific.

But I hesitated just long enough for Mr. Crawfish to begin backing himself in a corner, little claws at the ready, clicking and clacking the whole way. He literally quivered with fear. And my terror turned to concern for The Little Guy’s welfare. I quickly scanned the contents of the unit, looking for tools that I could use to strategize LG’s rescue.

Leaning against the wall in the opposite corner was my trusty old lobby dust pan and broom set. You know–the kind of dust pan that closes and traps the dirt inside. I picked it up, and it was slightly heavy from dust and debris. I considered walking to the trash can on the other side of the building to empty it, but as I turned to walk away, LG started to back himself into a corner that I knew I’d never retrieve him from unharmed. 

“Well, buddy, you’re just gonna have to hold your breath for a minute, then,” I mumbled. And I situated myself so that my toes were as far enough away from LG as possible, placing the dust pan between us. Very carefully, I nudged LG into the dust pan with the broom.

If he was scared before, he was royally peeved now. The insistent little “click click” of his claws was now a louder “clack clack” combined with what I can only describe as a hissing sound that came from his body. He attacked the broom bristles with gusto, clasping onto them and refusing to let go. LG’s resistance to the dust pan increased my anxiety to a fever pitch. There may have been wailing involved.

After a 5 minute struggle, I finally got the poor man’s lobster safely inside the dust pan. Unfortunately, it does not lock. So I beat feet to the golf cart, leaned the dust pan against the seat so it would stay closed, and threw that sucker into reverse. I drove about 200 yards, to the back of the facility and the swamp beyond. I could hear him clicking his claws menacingly from the confines of his dusty prison.

I parked the cart, carefully took the dust pan, and carried it to the closest point to water that I could get to (without getting my feet wet). I chose the perfect spot, spread my feet wide, and carefully tipped the dust pan so that its contents (crawdaddy and all) slid out onto the marshy ground. LG was covered in dust and debris. And guess what, ya’ll? He was STILL angry.


I waited, hoping for that moment where he would realize his freedom and scurry into the dark, swirling water. The music would swell, a lone tear would roll down my cheek, and all would be right with the world. But The Little Guy just sat there, in his pile of filth and debris, clacking his claws at me angrily. So I climbed back onto my golf cart, bid him goodbye, and went back to my day.

I went to check on him later in the day, and he was gone, with only a little trail of dirt leading to the fence line to let me know he’d been there at all. 

Farewell, my dirty little friend. May you live on to scare the s**t out of someone else another day.

14 thoughts on “The Unfortunate Intruder

  1. Walt

    You had me at “Ditch Shrimp”. Snorting followed. Excellent story. Yes you’re cartoons are getting real good. Might want to think about copyrighting them or at least water marking them.

  2. Laverne Smith

    May you live to scare the sh*t out of someone else bwaahhhhaaaa!!!! You are a brave woman. I can only imagine how much deep breathing it took not to run for Brian. I quite enjoyed all the different terms you came up with for craw fish! I am also with Walt. Your drawings are great. They also just make the day better to open my email and see a post with Abby’s drawings. So much fun. Walt might also be right about watermarking them. I have to say they are just fantastic and so much fun. Have you ever thought about drawing and sharing on instagram too. There are tons of artists that do that. Share a daily or weekly drawing people love it (I love it) My fav is LG getting swept up. Thank you for a story that made me giggle, hold my breath in fear (you were wearing flip flops and smile (this has to be worth major karma points)

  3. Walt

    FULL DISCLOSURE: I keep reading this post and laugh every time. Especially your picture of the Ditch Shrimp. Click,click….

  4. Stephanie

    This is now officially my favourite Abby Gabs post of all time. You’re a crawfish hero! But…maybe he doesn’t realize that you were helping. Maybe he’ll take it as an act of war. And now he’s going to come after you with all of his crawfish buddies. I used to have nightmares about that when I was a kid and I trapped and released bugs from the house. Sometimes I wondered if it would be safer to just kill the bug to avoid any misunderstanding.

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