Saturday, February 18, 2012

I Am No Kafka

it's the damnedest insect i've ever known.  octagonal, not especially ugly, though certainly not pretty; fly-sized but wingless, yet it lumbers like those giant waterbugs in my second manhattan apartment when i lived with larry.  we sprayed the whole place with bug-poison one day, then went for a long, comfortable walk by the east river, or anyway that's how i remember it.  when we got back we didn't see the thing, so we opened the window to let the air in and the fumes out, and we went to hug each other, and then stopped and screamed at the same time as the beast slowly crawled out of larry's shirt pocket.

this one isn't huge, though, and oddly i'm not frightened of it. but it's been around for a few days, and it keeps startling me, hanging or crawling in different spots in the room. it's even less scared than i am; suddenly being violently shaken off its current book or window pane, it falls off and then resignedly shuffles to somewhere else in the room.  maybe it shrugs its shoulders; the attitude is right anyway.

there's a fly swatter in the room, which i sometimes wave at the bug, but i hate killing things, and when a crawly creature needs killing i usually get someone to come and do it for me.  when they do, i hold my ears, like it's going to scream.  i was a lousy biology student in college but i'm pretty sure i know that bugs don't scream.

since it seems to be living here for awhile, i've considered giving this one a name.  but the only name you can really give a bug is gregor, and i'm sure that's been overdone.  besides, what if it were true and it morphed back into a man?  i had a pair of moths one summer who lived on my shower curtain. they never seemed to move and i wondered if the changing of the environment had created a new species of moth that ate plastic. i did give them names; they were butch and roland, because i was in my closest to a man-hating phase and i thought if the cat ate them i'd rather they weren't female moths.  but leibniz ignored butch and roland, and they ignored him, and when the weather got cold they flew off, to winter in the south, i supposed.

only i really don't want to name this bug; i haven't any fondness for it as i did for butch and roland. but i  don't want to kill it.  i have students living next door, and of course there are always kids in the computer lab, which is on the same floor, so i'll probably end up getting one of them to kill it for me.  or maybe it will get  bored waddling around my room, and find its way to the window from which it will lugubriously disappear and i'll never see it again. then it will fall into the moat, which i dreamed once was full of sharks, but that, luckily, was only a dream, albeit a colorful one. there's nothing colorful though about an octagonal beetle.  there really isn't.

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