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Of Bugs and Men
by Michele Christopher
We have noticed that we might have been going a little Christmas crazy lately. We still have a few more weeks here and it seems everyone is ready to blow their load like a teenager at a strip club.
So we have decided to do the only thing we could think of the reign in this holiday cheer before we all get sent to the local liquor store to buy new condoms and a clue.
Oh. That means we are taking a break from the holiday cheer.
We have decided to contemplate the deeds of the few but the thoughts of many.
Ya, so what? It's a little juvenile but hot damn, it's a hell of a way to spend an afternoon!
Turtle tells his tale of woe....
Let me start out saying I don't do this stuff anymore. I am a live and let live kind of person when it comes to bugs. But let's face it. Before I found masturbation, the insect world was terrified of me. A few mighty steps in my Converse and the ground was filled with sonic shaking and deathly decibels of doom!
* I need to apologize before we get any farther into the story. I have been drinking a shitload of grape soda today and I'm so wired my asshole looks like the end of a balloon.
I lived in an area that was relatively insect free cause all of the pesticides that floated around. So my exposure to bugs was brief and weird. But, in this wasteland there was one bug that always seemed to escape unharmed. Well, unharmed if they didn't touch the tomatoes de la grandpa. They were loaded with pesticides. So much so they killed my dog. Toxic tomatoes. But anyways, a few of these slugs were either to stupid or too smart to eat the poison. They seemed to congregate at the edge of the garden. A bunch of slugs together. Almost talking like they knew what was in store for them if they went into the garden. So there they sat. I can't really blame them. I mean have you seen the slug on the box of the pesticide? Christ all mighty, that gave me nightmares.
So one day after a big rain came by, I looked at the slugs. Then I looked at their brothers dying in agony because of the poison. These slugs managed to escape death by doing something that was not natural for them. They choose not to eat because somewhere in their brains, they saw their brothers and sisters dying because they ate.
*Stick with me here cause this is where my theory gets bumpy...
Being young, I thought I had stumbled upon a race of super smart slugs. Smart enough to control the other slugs but not smart enough to control me. And if I could find a way to control the smart slugs, I would have a slug army at my command. In reality, I had no fucking clue what I would do with them. Maybe some kind of Evel Knievel like stunts or something. Make a few of them hide in grandpa's cereal. Hey. I was like 10 or so. They idea of using them for felonies didn't come til later in life, ok?
My main dilemma was, and still is, how smart are they? I knew they were dumb, but just how dumb? Could they be my army? I needed to know if I had an army of Gomer Pyles on my hands cause God knows, I ain't no Sgt. Carter.
I formed a test track made of salt. It was a labyrinth of salt. One way out. Failure to escape was met with a slow, painful death. This was my army. Only the tough would survive to control my legions of slugs. I might have had too much sugar back then, too. Also, it didn't help that grandpa had a kegerator in the back yard and many of these plans were thought up whilst drinking cold Pabst on a sunny day. And seriously, a few pints for a kid is pure bliss.
So I grabbed the salt and made the maze. The first one was easy. A straight line. Just weed out the stupid ones first. It was about a foot long and an inch between the two salt lines. A salt strip in back of them that slowly crept up to keep them moving forward. This was not sadistic. This was survival! A few of the slugs crashed and burned as they tried to escape over the salt walls. They met their end as the sounds of pain screamed from their bodies as they shrunk up.
The rest escaped.
A circled maze. Not too hard, but certainly not easy. This is when my legion's leaders would stand and the rest would fall like the worthless pieces of grass goo they were.
An amazing thing happened in this race. The dumber slugs were being pushed into the salt walls by the smarter slugs. It was really quite amazing to watch these upper echelon slugs push their former buddies into a pile of salt then climb over them to escape. The funny thing was, it seemed like the dumb slugs just accepted their fate as a salt bridge for the others to escape on. When one couldn't make it any further, another one volunteered to go on in his place to see how far he cold go. After about an hour or so, a little trail of salted slugs crossed most of my maze. The surviving slugs were slowly making it across the bodies of the others to get to freedom. To become the general of my army! To go where no other slug had gone before!!
But, then I got bored and just smashed them with a hammer.
World slug domination would have to wait for another day.
The Muppet Show was on. - T
I'm not really into killing bugs. I kinda like them. Well, that's not totally honest. I don't particularly like bees and I have no qualms about smashing them into black and yellow paste. And I don't like wasps and I won't hesitate to corner one and spray it with whatever is handy, be it Raid or WD40 or AquaNet hairspray. Oh, and I don't like filthy, dirty mosquitoes and I take great pleasure in knocking them around with a rolled up newspaper.
But I like bugs. I don't really kill them.
Except for centipedes. And cockroaches. I see either one of those bastards and my shoe is all over them.
But spiders are ok. Oh, unless it's 2am and my daughter, who has a ridiculous fear of spiders, is in the bathroom screaming at the top of her lungs that a spider the size of Hoboken is about to swallow her whole, then it's just a hell of a lot easier to flush the damn thing down the toilet then carefully take it by its web and dangle it in front of me as I walk it outside to its sort of natural habitat.
But I don't like killing bugs.
Wait. I forgot about the cicadas.
See, I remember one summer when I was a wee child and the cicadas came. It was like a plague swarmed down on us. What the fuck did we do to god that we were being tortured like this? I don't know. I thought at the time it had something to do with my mother's cooking because my father often said that her cooking was an abomination to the lord.
But there were zillions of them and they were loud, annoying and crunchy. Yes, crunchy. Everywhere you stepped, the cicadas crunched underfoot. We couldn't go barefoot that summer. We couldn't even eat outside. These things would just randomly drop dead and fall out of trees.
So we spent a few weeks crushing and dissecting cicadas. If my memory serves me well (and it doesn't often do that), they had a yellowish, lumpy inside. For some reason, that's a childhood image that has stuck with me for all these years. Stomping on a bug and watching the yellow fluid that looked kind of like pastina run out of the dead insect. I'd rejoice with each kill. One less noisemaker! One less thing to step on!
And then I dreamed for nights on end about the living cicadas taking revenge on me. They were giant sized and hard shelled and unkillable. Terminators. And they ate me. Night after night, they would chomp off bits and pieces of me. First night, they took my hands. The next night I entered the dream as a handless child and then they ate my arms. And so on and so on. Until it all turned out to be one huge dream, where there were dreams within dreams all of which resulted in my ending up with nothing but a head. Just my little, seven year old head sitting there on the blanket outside, the cicadas approaching me, and they were all singing something like "we're coming to get you for killing our king!" All I could do was blink and try like hell to wake myself up. My kingdom for a blowtorch! And some arms.
The next time after that (I think its a cycle of 17 years) when the doomsayers rode through town crying "The cicadas are coming!" (or maybe that was just the Daily News headline) I would get ready. Those fuckers weren't going to mess with my head again.
The second coming of the cicadas happened when I was in my 20's. The full blown paranoia that comes with too many years of puff, puff pass had taken hold of me and I was sure that the cicadas had come back to seek revenge on all of us who stomped them and dissected them and tied them to firecrackers and performed science experiments involving objects in motion on them. I knew they would come back. They had formed armies and came back to burn and pillage our villages, rape our women, kidnap our children and destroy our crops.
But I was ready for them. Those cicadas had haunted my dreams and destroyed many a good acid trip for too long. I would not be able to rest until I killed as many cicadas as possible. Armed with a gallon of gasoline and few matches - but thinking a Howitzer wouldn't be too much overkill - I waited patiently for my insect enemies to make their move.
Ok, not really. I mean, my gasoline and matches stage had passed many years before. That was over as soon as Mr. Petrelli's car went up in flames. What? Everyone needs to learn how to make a molotov cocktail at some point in their life. It's a rite of passage.
Anyhow. I don't remember the cicadas ever coming back, but I do know that I would have gone on a stomping rampage once again if they did.
Like I said, I'm not into killing bugs. Just the annoying ones. And the ones that sting. And ticks, I hate ticks.
I never put ants in the microwave like my kids did (they were young and experimenting and I made them watch Them! that night and I think the subsequent nightmares were punishment enough).
But I swear to you, I never put salt on a slug.
Ok, here's one. I never killed a moth. You know why? Because it would make Mothra cry. And Mothra is the coolest insect thing that ever lived.
See, told you I like bugs. -M
Michele and Turtle now belong to the Coaltion to Keep Bugs From Harm. Really.