Monday, 22 June 2009

Phileep and Flop - Lest We Forget

4 years ago, my brother and I had a traumatic event unfold in front of us. Our Beloved hermit crabs, Phileep and Flop tragically passed away.

It was while my parents and little six year old brother where away, that I thought it would be a great idea to get myself a pet. Now we all know I’m not a dog person and a cat is a lot of hard work. I could have got a fish but that’s as exciting as Monday morning at work. No, if I was going to get a pet it would have to be different. After much discussion and giggles with a friend, we both went to the pet store picked a Hermit Crab each.

Phileep soon became the love of my life. Phileep had pride of place in the lounge; he was fed only the best dried fruit and only the most expensive oats on the market. His tank was cleaned twice a week and he was treated like the king that he was. 2 weeks quickly passed and the honeymoon period soon died when Tornado Little Brother came home.

After a week of being denied any access to Phileep, the brother threw a tantrum and half. Mum gave in (and totally stole my thunder and the once piece of individuality, “I’m not part of this family anymore,” teenage angst.) And he too got a Hermit Crap. Like a French man in thongs there was only one name we could her, Flop. Phileep and Flop became instant friends and shared a bond that surprised everyone. Maybe it was the brother’s constant prodding, poking and racing that made them stick together so tightly? At the end of the day those 2 crabs were inseparable.

The brother had Show and Tell upon his arrival back at school. He was very proud to tell his class of fellow six year olds, “My big sister has crabs! She got one while we were on holidays” As you can imagine, mum was called up to the school to explain that yes, my teenager daughter does have crabs… HERMIT CRABS!

As with all good things, they came to an end. It was a hot January day in 2005 and the brother accidentally left the tank out the back all afternoon. By the time I realised where the tank was, it was too late. Phileep has died of heat exhaustion. That tank was like a mini greenhouse and there was only enough room in the water plate for one crab. Phileep had taken the fall for his beloved Flop. Over the next week as the three of us mourned, Flop became withdrawn and stopped eating. We tried everything, even giving her fresh fruit but it was no good. Flop sadly passed away 8 days later from a broken heart.

I never thought I would cry over a stupid Hermit crab but there was my six year old brother with a motionless shell in his tiny hands. He was shaking and his eyes full of tears. He cried for the whole weekend and refused to burry Flop. We had to sit him down and explain that Flop belonged with Phileep in heaven. Eventually we talked him around to placing Flop in a tiny box and laying him next to Phileep. 2 weeks later I was on the plane to London. I still think back to Phileep and Flop and the impact they had on both my brother and I. for a pair of $5 crabs, they were pretty damn special.

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