TITLE: Lazy Day
By Ivy Strader
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It was mid-afternoon on a perfect blue June day when I first saw it.
I was reclining outside in a wooden deck chair, my feet bare, my sunglasses on, and <i>Finnegans Wake</i> in my hands. It was the kind of still, hot day when the only noise is the hum of lawnmowers and the occasional shout of the kids down the block; it was so quiet that I was dozing off to sleep when the thing caught me by surprise, its huge, horrendous, glittering eyes gazing passively at me. I didn't know how long it had been there, just gazing, and occasionally rubbing its hands together, whether in eager anticipation or pure nervousness I couldn't tell.
As I said, I had no idea how long the thing had been sitting there. I knew immediately, though, that it needed to go.
I carefully lowered my book, not wanting to scare the creature. It looked sideways at me and backed up slowly, evidently nervous. It was still rubbing its hands together in a mesmerizing circular motion – was that its game, I wondered, to lull me into submission and then take something from me? I quickly took stock of what it could want. Sunglasses, deck shoes, ice water, chocolate...
Of course, I thought. The creature wanted my expensive Belgian 70% cacao chocolate bar. It lay carelessly on the little table next to me, the corner broken off and a few crumbs scattered next to the half-crumpled foil, the sun slowly baking it into a soft, sticky mess. I shifted sightly for a better defensive position, hefting <i>Finnegans Wake</i> in my hand. That bug could do whatever it wanted, but one thing was for sure: it wasn't getting my chocolate, at least not while I was there to protect it.
It was still gazing at me with its great black eyes – they sparkled in the sun as it tipped its head slowly. It put its hands down and began creeping towards me in little jerking motions, using all six legs but going cautiously, keeping its eyes on my heavy hardbound book. My eyes never left its face. It got within about three inches of my chocolate bar, and in a loud, commanding voice, I said, “Stop.”
The agitated creature immediately spread a pair of lovely iridescent wings, flew three dizzying loops, and landed again in almost exactly the same spot. I waved my book at it. It repeated the performance. Once again it began creeping forward, and I waved my book, almost hitting it in my frantic gyrations. This time it flew straight up into the air, around and around, higher and higher, until it swooped down directly onto my expensive Belgian chocolate.
At first I was so shocked that I could only watch it pollute my 70% cacao, rubbing its hands together in glee. The little beast thought that it had outsmarted me; it thought that its reward was secure. But even as it started in on the sweet stickiness, I recovered, took aim, and SPLAT.
As I looked at what had once been <i>Finnegans Wake</i>, now smeared with melty chocolate and pieces of fly, I felt the sweet joy of conquest. True, my chocolate was pretty much inedible and my book was ruined, but victory was mine. I settled back into the heat, the distant whine of lawnmowers in my ear. It was going to be a good day.
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