The morning sun was starting to cross the boundary from warmth into what would soon become midday heat. Puddles from last night’s rain were starting to evaporate under the glare of the sun’s rays. Jiatol’s great crab scuttled from one awning shadow to the next. It was an effort to keep it headed down the street towards the fish market, the massive thing hated the sun.
The crab’s legs clacked against the brick street. Its eyes turned about, scanning, looking for the next patch of shade. A quick skitter to duct under an awning, or bridge, or balcony, then it slowed its pace, lingering in the coolness as long as its rider would allow. “Hey, Jiatol, looks like a good morning, huh?” Peter, a glassware merchant, called from his doorway.
“Looks like any morning.” Jiatol pulled on the reins to keep the crab going where he wanted. His back and shoulders were getting sore from the constant tugging.
As Jiatol passed, Peter said, “I mean your catch. Looks like a good haul. Maybe I’ll see you at market.”
Jiatol nodded, moved his hand to wave, but changed his mind. Taking his hands off the reins wasn’t a bright idea. There was only one more block to go to the market.
It was a rough going, but Jiatol finished the ride amid plenty of under-the-breath cursing. The market was fully shaded which made the final stretch of the trip a simple matter of pointing the crab in the right direction. The crab, seeing the shade, clattered onward ignoring what sun it passed through to get into the cool shadows. Jiatol walked his mount to the crab mount holding pen. A massive pool bordered on all sides by a sturdy iron bars. The pool was fed by the ocean via a canal. Water from the ocean, a half mile away, traveled along the canal and kept the huge pool full of new seawater with every rising tide.
Jiatol unloaded his morning haul, opened the pen, and gave his mount a thump. The huge crab scuttled into the water, never looking more pleased to be out of the day’s heat.