The B-52s Sing "Red Lobster" Before I Die

Regular sex wasn’t worth all this bullshit.

The B-52s Sing "Red Lobster" Before I Die
Photo by 84 Video / Unsplash

by Sheri White

Fortune tellers are frauds, I know that. But Linda insisted, and here I am. She told me she began a “couples’ bucket list” thing when we had been dating a couple weeks. Well, she calls it dating; I call it guaranteed sex every weekend.

Madame Serena made a big show of waving her hand over a crystal ball filled with a mist that I figured was pumped from a machine under the table. It looked impressive, though. I could almost see images through the mist.

I went along with this because it was easier than arguing with Linda that the whole fortune telling thing was a crock of shit. So when Madame Serena told Linda that she’d be getting a ring soon, it was the first time I ever wanted to clock a woman. Instead, I just glared at her.

She had the nerve to wink at me when Linda squealed and hugged me.

“Okay, Dennis—your turn.”

I did not want this lady to tell me I would be getting married or becoming a father soon. “No, let’s just go get something to eat.”

“It’s on our bucket list,” Linda said in a sing-song voice.

I smiled with clenched teeth. 

Regular sex wasn’t worth all this bullshit.

I sat down and let Madame Serena take one of my hands in hers. She drew a long black fingernail down my palm. “Your lifeline is shorter than most. This should concern you.”

It took all my willpower not to roll my eyes in front of her face. “Okay, I’ll start eating better.”

She ignored me and kept gazing into her crystal ball. She slowly waved a hand over it. “I see a lot of red.” And I’ll be damned, I could see red in there too.

“You will see red before you die.”

That took a morbid turn. “What? That makes no sense. I can see red if I close my eyes tightly enough. My fucking car is red. Should I try to sleep with my eyes closed? Buy a new car? Grab the red crayon out of my kid’s 64 box with the sharpener?”

Linda’s head whipped around and her jaw dropped.

“You have a kid?”

Whoops. “That’s not important right now. Come on.” I threw a few twenties on her table and got out of there.

I have to admit, after a few days I got paranoid. See red before I die? What does that even mean? Blood is red, so maybe I’m going to die violently. After I sliced my thumb cutting onions, I put all the sharp knives in the trash and switched to Grub Hub. I did throw away the red crayon, but no big deal because my kid hardly ever comes over anymore.

I still drove my red car but kept a sharp eye out for other cars getting near me. I know fire is orange, but no more drinking whiskey in front of a roaring fire. I threw away shirts, underwear, towels, the ketchup, tomato juice, tomato sauce, and on and on and on. I even gave up pizza. Pizza. What if I choked on a slice? 

I was mad at myself but couldn’t help it.

Linda finally told me to fuck off, so some good came of this insanity.

I decided to drive to the beach, hit the pier, chow on some seafood—no crab or lobster, though, too red—and have a few beers.

I sounded like an idiot asking the server what color the Fish of the Day was. “It’s trout, sir. I don’t think it’s red? I can check for you.”

I hate myself.

I hate that fucking “fortune teller” who got in my head and turned me into a pussy scared of a fucking color.

I hate Linda who dragged me there. Thank God she’s gone. Good riddance.

I took a few bites of the fish, then threw my fork down. I hate trout. I paid the bill, assured my server she did a fine job and gave her a big tip.

Fuck this. I’m going to fix this right now.

I got a lobster roll from a place on the pier and took it with me to the inlet to sit on the rocks and watch the sun go down. Red lobster (out of my head, B-52s; no fake earworm, please), red sunset. Perfect.

I sat on a flat rock, eating the juicy sandwich and enjoying the hell out of it. No celery, thankfully; it’s the little things. I let the B-52s take over my brain and waited for the glorious sunset.

I had just taken the last bite when I felt a shaking of sorts. I looked around and so did other people, but we couldn’t see anything. Then we realized the water was receding rapidly with a tsunami heading right for us. 

I never should have had that fucking lobster roll.

Sheri White’s stories have been published in many anthologies and zines, including an essay in the Notable Works for the Horror Writers Association’s Mental Health Initiative, an essay in JAKEHalldark Holidays (edited by Gabino Iglesias), The Monsters Next Door published by Critical Blast, and The Horror Writers Association’s Don’t Turn Out the Lights (edited by Jonathan Maberry). Recent publications include Crab Apple LiteraryLitmoravoidspace zine, and Broken Antler Magazine