Hiding amongst the hairy clumps holding together tighter than velcro, he cautiously reaches with one leg, then slowly another, then pauses.
Movement is his enemy. What he doesn’t understand: so is stillness. I easily pluck the hitchhiker from the dog’s fur.
But then what? Do I squash him? End his time, return him to the ground, earth, landfill, buried in a pile of burrs and fur? Do I release him back to the woods to begin his immigration plans anew? To find a new leaf on which to wait for the dog’s return and a new opportunity to sneak in? Next flight departing at 9:30 PM?
I don’t know what this bug is. He is grasshopper-meets-praying-mantis, who then meets Rick Moranis. He is fragile. Even a gentle puff of air would wrest his clinging arms from a leaf. His chartreuse body is too small for any variation in color, legs stretch out like the bright green hairs of a 70’s punk poseur.
* * *
the sudden turmoil. the dog brushes past my resting spot, the protected underbelly of a leaf. my world isn’t the same. i hang on with all my strength, hide beneath a large boulder, cling to soft white branches the size of my arms.
this place is warm. different from the warmth of the sun; it feels like the rock in late afternoon; the sun is gone, but i feel its warmth gradually releasing. but different yet than that. this warmth stinks, too. and i’m moving far faster than i ever dreamed was possible. away from my leaf. from my family, from the territory i was born.
i bounce along, into the sun, no longer brushed by branches and leaves, the wind rushes through the soft white branches where i hide. a jolt, i’m flung down against the hot, pink ground and then back up into the air and it seems to land on a hard surface and screech to a stop with a thundering, deafening sound. sharp sounds shake the beast in twos and threes, and shortly is moves again.
not far this time, but the air changes. becomes cold and dry. unnatural. the light is strange now, the color is wrong, it comes from the wrong direction. Everything here is wrong, and it occurs to me that this may be the end. this is not where i am meant to be.
the dog takes me deeper into my doom; i realize that the farther he goes, my chances of getting out diminish. i need a plan.
* * *
Note: After extensive pre-dawn research, the hitchiker appears to be a katydid, although I’m still not entirely sure. There are no words to describe the creep-factor that now crawls up and down my spine from the various bug photos and websites that I’ve seen. Like a pastor says to a teenaged boy about porn…you can’t un-see that. Seriously, guys, don’t surf the web for bugs.
First originally published at riverofthoughts.com