When I was a little kid running around on the beaches north of San Francisco, the law said you couldn’t use tools to get limpets off the rocks. The idea was that if you had to use your hands, you wouldn’t take too many, and that makes good sense to anyone who knows how those little bastards can cling to life. They’d feel your footsteps in the rock and scrunch down so hard you couldn’t get even your fingernails under the shell. That’s how I learned to walk soft. Then sometimes I’d catch one off guard. I’d get up under it with my fingers and start to pry it away while it pulled down on top of them, and that’s what I was reminded of more than anything when you were a baby and you used to chew on my hands.
I didn’t much care for eating them, I just liked to best them. Dad would boil them up with lemongrass and garlic, but even then you had to swallow them whole to get them down. They looked like cross sections of brain cradled in the skull, and tasted probably worse. Aw, don’t cry. I didn't mean to be nasty. What I’m trying to say is they were nobody’s darling. By the time they started fading away, we’d witnessed the end of jaguars and eagles. No one had any room to mourn limpets.
Back then, my dad liked telling me about funny laws. Did you know it’s illegal for a donkey to sleep in a bathtub in Arizona? Do you think it's funny that you’re not allowed to harvest limpets? Does it amuse you to be conscripted in the protection of an animal that does not exist? I imagine it sounds like being asked not to steal a unicorn’s horn.
I’m only joking. Please stop crying. You know I’m shit at bedtime stories.
Kim Carson Bodie is an American journalist living on unceded Whadjuk Noongar Boodja land. She has worked a lot of odd jobs and lived a lot of odd places. This is her creative debut. You can find Kim on Instagram @all.is.gravy and she recommends you donate to buglife if you don't want to end up like the characters in this story.