Cautiously, I flipped on the light, and very carefully pushed aside a piece of tin foil on top of the oven. Sure enough, the invader was there, probably as scared as I had been. I put the bottle over him, and he didn't react. I looked around, trying to figure out how I was going to extricate him if he didn't climb up into the bottle. I definitely didn't want bug guts on the toaster oven. I spied a piece of junk mail on the table, and slid it between the toaster and the bug, under the bottle. I carried this construction through my living room, fearing dropping the bottle and the thing leaping at me. I thought it might be what I've erroneously referred to as a Potato Bug for years, until a horror story from Rhodester about a screaming Jerusalem Cricket taught me that I had no notion of what a Potato Bug really was. Research proved that the only other bug to share that nickname is the Woodlouse, which I've always referred to as a Pillbug. Whatever it was that I had caught Thursday night, was of a breed that I knew from experience pinched with amazing force. I managed to get this one outside, lift the bottle, and quickly close the door to my veranda.
Of course after staring at the closed door, I realized I had to get my camera. At first I tried to shoot through the screen door, but my camera kept focusing on the screen. I realized I had to open the door, and risk the thing leaping back into the house. I only got one picture, and I didn't even realize a curious little ant had wandered on to the scene until I uploaded it to my computer. Friday morning the junk mail was there, but no insects. If there was a battle, I couldn't tell you who won.
Friday should have been free of similar incidents. My morning was quiet, and a walk in to town at lunch on a cloudy day was equally uneventful. After lunch I was sitting at my computer working when I caught a fleeting glimpse, out of the corner of my eye, at something bright, bright green against my striped black dress shirt. I looked down and saw a grasshopper making his way toward an opening near a button. As an artist and an amateur photographer, I should have admired the composition, the vivid color against the dark background. Instead, I kicked my chair back, arms flailing as I exclaimed “boowahguhuhuhuh!” By some miracle, no one saw nor heard me, at least that I was aware of. My attention was focused elsewhere. Changing course, my new friend decided to start walking UP the shirt toward my neck. I looked down my chest at shiny, round green eyes that for some reason cried “mama!” I looked around for help, and spotted my trusty stack of Starbucks napkins. Can anyone guess what happened next?
I held the napkin flat against my chest, my chin touching my chest to see the critter as it got closer. It scampered on to the napkin and I lifted it away, holding it in the palm of my left hand. I expected it to jump at any second. But it stood still and gazed up at me. “Where are we going mama?”, inquired the imaginary voice in my head as I got up, left my section, and started walking down one of the rows of cubicles. I shielded it from wind with my right hand as I wondered the answer to that question myself. I made a right, then a left at the stairwell, opening doors with my feet. I walked down three flights of stairs, nodded hello to a woman on her way up, and continued on. I walked around past our ATM machine, past the front security desk and to the front door, where I stood aside to let a couple enter. I walked outside and looked around for an appropriate flower bed. I tried to shake it off on to some yews but it wouldn't budge. I walked a little further to a bed of pachysandra, and again it remained on the napkin. “But I want to stay with you, mama!” Plucking a leaf, I gently nudged my little friend on to the plant with it. It blended in, and walked down into the plants. They grow up and leave home so fast. I returned to the building, depositing the napkin in the nearest trash receptacle.
I spent the rest of the afternoon questioning my sanity and scratching imaginary itches. It's the price of being an unwitting, possibly insane, bug hero.