It’s the year for the locusts around here . . . the 13-year cicada invasion.
Fortunately, we have not had very many around our house here at the farm, but it’s because we don’t have any trees very close to our house. We can hear them around because they’re so loud, but thankfully we’re not plagued right out our front door.
However, when you go to town . . . look out! They are so thick, you can’t walk without meeting up with lots of them. You crunch them underfoot, they stick to your clothes, get caught in your hair, and buzz by your head constantly. Their vacant shells from when they molt are stuck to everything.
Their beady red eyes, black bodies, and long wings make them look really scary. AND . . . they are really really loud!
If you’d like to see what I’m talking about, or learn more about the scientific side of the locust plague, you can read about them and see some really good pictures HERE.
Luckily, they’re not harmful to humans. They don’t bite, they don’t sting, they really don’t like people at all; it’s just that there are so many of them, they can’t get away from people, just like people can’t get away from them.
I had to go to the tax office to pick up some papers Tuesday. The locusts were swarming outside the courthouse. When I stepped inside, the receptionist said she’d be right with me, and while I stood there waiting, I felt something in my hair. I reached up, and sure enough, a locust. I flipped at it, and it took off and flew right past the receptionist’s head and landed on her file cabinet behind her desk.
She went into freak-out mode, ripped off her shoe, and started screaming at her coworker to kill it! So her coworker takes the shoe, chases it down, and smashes it on top of a file folder, brown juice and everything. Yuck! She didn’t care, she just wanted it dead. All I could do was stand there and laugh. I never admitted that I’m the one that carried it indoors.
Yesterday, I had to take Deno back to the doctor for his surgery follow-up appointment. I went to pick him up, and as I was standing in his kitchen, I heard chirping coming from his laundry room.
I inquired, “Is there a bird in your laundry room?”
He said: “Oh . . . um, no . . . it’s a locust. I have it trapped under that flashlight on the windowsill.”
Deno is a self-professed “flashlightoholic“, and has flashlights everywhere. On this particular windowsill, there are two of them, one stacked on top of the other. Underneath the bottom one, he has trapped a live locust, and it’s chirping.
He said that this particular locust rode into his house in his hair when he had stepped outside earlier, and as he was standing in his kitchen typing a text message on his cell phone, it decided to take flight, and the noise it made as it launched itself into flight scared him so bad, he said it’s a miracle that his cell phone wasn’t embedded in his kitchen ceiling by the time I got there.
So I laughed at him, which went over really well. Hey, if he didn’t tell the story so funny, I wouldn’t have to laugh at him — what does he expect?
It’s time to leave for the doctor’s office. He said: “You ready?” I said: “Are you just going to leave the locust there?”
“Yep. It scared me and made me mad, and now I’m gonna torture it.”
I said: “I can’t stand it,” and walked away. He ran after me: “Can’t stand what?”
“The torture of a locust.”
“Are you kidding?”
No, I wasn’t. My Cowboy calls me Ellie Mae. I can’t stand to see anything treated badly. Even a locust, I guess. Little movies flash through my head . . . The locust, trapped under the flashlight in an empty house . . . it’s dark under there . . . no one is answering him when he calls . . . the air supply is dwindling . . . there’s no food or water . . . his energy is failing . . . he’s thinking to himself: “I only have a day and a half of my 3-day lifespan left to live. Is this how it’s going to end?” . . . he’s sad . . . and alone . . . and desperate . . . there’s no one to help. Sad, isn’t it?
So Deno quizzes me . . . “OK, so if the locust had zoomed by my head and landed on the wall, and I killed it with the flyswatter, would THAT have been permissible?”
“Because it would have been a quick and painless death.” (Much like the merciless killing of the locust in the tax office, which also didn’t bother me.)
“Oh, so it’s the torture you’re objecting to?”
“Yes. Let’s just go, so I can forget about it.”
“Oh, hell NO! Now I have to figure out how to get it out of the house without killing it before we go. I’m not gonna have you thinking I’m a mean person!”
So he grabs a piece of cardboard and scoops up the locust with the cardboard and the flashlight, hollers for me to hold the door open, and runs out onto the front porch and releases it, saying sarcastically, “There you go, God’s little creature,” and casting a dirty look my way as he does. I watched it fly safely into the bushes in his front yard.
Mumbling under his breath, he returns the cardboard and flashlight to the kitchen, and finally we get on the road to the doctor’s office.
As we’re driving down the road, the locust incident long forgotten in my mind, he turns to me and says: “There’s no dark side to me. This is the first time I’ve ever succumbed to the locust/flashlight experience.” I could NOT even begin to laugh hard enough!