behold the child
"I caught it! They're real!" she says. Her hands enveloped around some weird bug in the back of the school play ground. I was too busy to give a shit, carefully arranging the stones and sticks of my bug hotel to create the most beautiful drive up you've ever seen. I move an isopod behind a piece of cork and assign him to be the valet of all future patrons.
"So look this is how it works" I say, holding his little roly poly body up close so he can hear me, trapped between my fingers.
"snails drive up here" I point and show him "and park their shells. You take their keys and give them a ticket for later and park their shells over here" a woosh of my hands and the poor bastards world melts before him until i stop at a pile of leaves that is the car park. I point like he/it, whatever, understands.
"That's where you park their shells whilst they gamble" I say. I place him down to work. He doesn't know it right now but he's on a 12 hour shift as the valet for my new bug casino.
She's still holding it and now looms over me. I look up and see her staring at me, her fists holding whatever bug she's found waiting for me to acknowledge.
"He wants to rent your finest pent house suite" she says. The pent house hasn't been built yet but I am working on it. In my mind it has 3 toilets and a bed that rotates. I'm not really sure why but i think it seems exotic.
"look" she says and slowly opens her hands. In her palm, quivering is a tiny white creature, with fluffy hair. Its not like any bug i have ever seen before having only 4 legs and a tail, its beautiful. A clear candidate for the grand opening of the bug royal hotel and casino I am constructing out of broken branches, leaves, bottle caps and stones in the playground of my school.
"Is it poisonous? I've never seen a spider like that before" I tell her. She scrunches her face and says "I don't think so..?" The creature in her palm runs in circles excitedly, it is clearly ready to lose all it's hard earned money on my loaded slot machines.
One of the teachers wanders over to us to see if we're ok.
"Hey kids how are you doing. oooh I like your little race track you have there." She says, pretending to be excited, inflections in her voice like she's talking to a 7 year old boy but she doesn't know I'm actually a 45 year old man who owns the world famous bug casino.
"It's a hotel." I point to a beetle I have penned into a square with match sticks.
"The big fight is tonight, bugs are coming from all over the field to see" I tell her, excitedly.
"And what's that in your hand?" she asks the girl next to me, still palming that weird bug she found
The girl next to me shows the woman teacher what she is holding and I've never seen a human being make a face like that before. At first it's the usual face of anyone who's been shown a child's drawing, pretend enthusiasm with nice eyes. But the more she stares the more I see her detach from her surroundings. The creature in the girls palm barks and girl asks the woman "What's wrong?"
Tears fall from the woman's eyes as she looks at the tiny bug dog in the girls hand. I didn't know it at the time but this was the first time anyone had seen a dog in centuries. I knew at that moment my hotel casino would be a grand success with the bug community.