There was a ball game, a glass sliding door, and a cocker spaniel with bronchitis. No, that’s not the lead in to a joke by some second rate comedian, rather those are the main components in this little ditty that I’m writing today.
I’m a sports nut and will watch any sport on the set, even a game between the Yankees and the Red Sox. I loathe the Yankees and the Red Sox but it was Sunday night and my sports pickings were slim; I was in the unfortunate position of relying on those teams to provide my sports entertainment for the evening. Surprisingly the game wasn’t all that bad, tied in the late innings with a potential go ahead run for the Yankees standing on second base; I even shudder to say that it was entertaining; at least entertaining enough to make me forget about Mocha, my sister’s Labrador snoring like a grown man on the floor next to the couch and Shadow, my sister’s Cocker Spaniel hacking and snorting away in the corner of the den. Pardon me a moment while I tell you all about Shadow just for kicks…
Shadow is old. Shadow is old in human years, I’m afraid to even do the calculations of his age in dog years for fear that the number might top 250. Shadow occasionally loses a tooth simply munching on his dinner. Shadow has gone completely grey around his nose in stark contrast to the rest of his jet black body. Shadow is completely deaf and I question his eyesight on occasion when he bumps into something. I fully expect Shadow to sit down one day, look at me and say, “In my day that big box of Milk Bones only cost $1.99!” And while he’s still playful and spry and will jump and wag his tail when he sets eyes on you there’s no doubt that he’s an old pup, he was diagnosed with bronchitis earlier this week and has the worst runny nose this side of your neighbor’s toddler next door; that’s why he was coughing and hacking in the corner while Yankees were trying to score the go ahead run against the Red Sox. Anyway…
Like most creatures that are old Shadow has to relieve himself more often than most so my sister got up to let him and his younger dog partner in crime, Mocha, out of the house right around the time that Eric Chavez was digging into the batter’s box on the TV. I heard the glass patio door slide open and the dogs’ footfalls across the kitchen floor but nothing else as I was committing the ultimate sin and actually getting sucked into a Yankees/Red Sox game. The crowd on the TV cheered with enthusiasm as Josh Beckett delivered a beautiful curve ball right down the middle that froze the Yankee batter and ended the Yankees rally…and then another scream, not from the television but from the room behind me. The patio door was flung open and my sister was in the process of scampering, turning over her kitchen table and chairs in the process.
“What IS that? What IS that?”
She kept screaming it over and over again to which I could only reply “What is what?” as all I could see was her shuffling in reverse away from the door.
“Oh my God! It’s ON me!”
My big sister was now transformed into the little girl in the yard that gets grossed out when she saw a bug as she cried out “Ewwwww!” in a loud grown up voice.
“What IS that? AAAHHHH and it has wings! It’s flying! What IS that?”
Now she means business. She’s grabbed the broom from the closet and is swinging wildly at this thing that I still have yet to see. My thought process at that point is that she has completely lost her flippin’ mind.
And then finally I did see it.
Dark. Menacing. Droning deeply. Bigger than a waterbug. Slightly smaller than a crow…making its way from the kitchen towards me the den. I didn’t know that we had these things in Georgia! What are those things called again?
Cetera? Nah, I’m thinking Peter Cetera…the former lead singer of Chicago
Sicily? No…that’s a city over in Italy.
Cece Peniston? Nah…that was the cutie that sang “Keep On Walking”.
Dammit, what are those things called? It’s right there on the tip of my tongue…oh yeah! Cicada. That’s the word I’m looking for, or in this case, that’s the thing that I’m looking for…cicada. It was a cicada. About 3.5 inches long, great big wings, and when it landed on the end table it sounded like I dropped my keys on it, it was a big boy, or girl…like this.
I was looking at it sitting there still trying to figure out exactly what it was and was snapped out of my curiosity by a broom headed in my general direction. Ever the girly girl, my big sister didn’t want to get close to the thing in her den so she decided to get all Jackie Joyner-Kersee on me and heave the broom like a javelin at the bug Olympic games style sending just about everything that was on the table onto the floor including the insect which fluttered down to the floor and buzzed a little surely asking in its own Cicada language, “Did this chick really throw a broom at me?”
“Get it! He’s right there. Get it!”
At this point she’s still doing a dance in the kitchen trying to shake the fact that the bug was just on her leg. The dogs are back in the house at this point after having finished their business in the back yard and Mocha is looking quizzically at the bug that’s sitting on the floor; she has that look in her Labrador eyes that says “I’m gonna chase that thing right there… then maybe even eat it.” She tilts her head then looks at the bug then looks at me as if asking me “Can I have it?” I’m pretty sure that if Mocha had eaten that bug my sister would have just fell out in the floor and died so I grabbed the broom from the floor nearby and shooed her away, just as I did that, the cicada looked about ready to take flight again but I couldn’t have that.
I took the broom and doing my best lumberjack impression I went about hacking mercilessly at the thing. I’d smash it into the carpet and every time I’d raise the broom the bug would buzz in defiance. So I smashed it again…and again…and again…and again…each time harder than the last. My sister was screaming at me to kill it, Mocha was running in circles and jumping and barking, the glass patio door was still flung open so now every moth in Decatur was flapping around the florescent kitchen light.
Shadow is deaf, old and oblivious to all of this; he was standing at the pantry door with the sniffles waiting on his post-pee dog biscuit.
Finally it was done. The announcer was back from commercial and welcoming me back to Fenway Park where the game was tied and the David Ortiz would be leading off the Bottom of the 6th inning. I was sweating, books that were once on the end table lay scattered on the floor, Mocha’s tail was wagging furiously as she stood ready to pounce on whatever was left under the broom, my sister stood 15 feet away still not convinced the coast was clear.
Shadow was still waiting on a dog biscuit with a runny nose.
Soon order in the house was restored. The bug was swept up and disposed of, my big sister’s heart rate returned to normal, the patio door was returned to a closed position, and the broom/javelin was placed back in its place in the kitchen closet.
“What WAS that?” My sister was still asking as she made her way upstairs and then again channeling her inner girly girl said, “That was grody!”
I went to the closet and got two dog biscuits, one for Mocha for being a good soldier and being willing, I assume, to eat the bug to protect my big sister and me and the other for Shadow who was still standing there sniffling and snorting patiently waiting for his snack; then I reclined on the couch to watch the two teams I love to hate…but not before I grabbed the laptop and googled “Cicada” to see exactly what they are and where they don’t live so I can look for a nice place there.
~thanks for reading
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