The iridescent copper wings of the dime sized green beetle flashed in the afternoon sun as he flew through the hot, heavy air, his tiny brain focused on one goal.
The scent of female pheromones, mixed with a fragrant floral odor overwhelmed his senses, and as he zeroed in on the location of the heady aroma. His only purpose was to find the female sending out the seductive siren call and mate.
A year ago he hatched, and as a young grub began to feed on the roots of the grass until it started to get cold, then he burrowed down into the ground for a while. Time passed, and when the warmth of the earth seeped down to his resting place, he returned to the turf and began feeding on the roots again.
After a while a transformation took place and he became something different, just for a short interval, then he changed into the beautiful male beetle he was now. He crawled out of the ground and tried his shiny copper wings.
No longer attracted to turf roots, he hunted out fragrant plants to satisfy his hunger. The air was full of amazing scents, all new to the first time flyer. As he landed on a delightful smelling tree, a new aroma captured his attention, and something stirred inside his body. He had to go to the source of the smell, the compulsion was overwhelming.
The woman stood by the Japanese Beetle trap in her back yard, sweat trickling down between her shoulder blades and soaking her waistband. The trap was overflowing; buzzing, shimmering insects spilling out and flying off into the trees.
A disgusting smell of rotting bug flesh filled her nostrils and made her gag a little as she grasped the bottom of the canister to empty it into a garbage bag. She hated this job.
As the nightmarish mixture of dead and live beetles flowed into the bag, the woman noticed that the bugs, trapped in hellish conditions with no escape possible and dead bodies all around, were still mating. In fact, some of the males escaped as she poured, but came right back to the trap and sure death just to copulate.
As she held the trap in her hand, the promise of sex lured more of the little guys and they hit the yellow plastic and dropped into the bag. Fascinated, she held the trap higher and watched.
A bitter smile crossed her face. “So the male beetle will give up everything, even his life for a little roll in the hay”, she said out load. The smile widened into a harsh laugh and melted into tears as she dropped the trap and sat down on a nearby bench.
Head in her hands, the woman squeezed her eyes shut and fought to regain her composure. “People think that humans are so superior to the other creatures on this planet”, she thought, “but men aren’t any smarter, or better, than a stupid beetle. They will give up their life for a brief tingle under the belt, and a thirty second orgasm”.
Of course she meant life as in a way of living, not existence. Some men gave up their wives, children, career, reputation, friends, and their lifestyle as they knew it, for what; a brief thrill, a fleeting sense of release?
What made that urge more important to them than love, caring, or respect?
Why did it trump the idea of right and wrong and throw ethics out the window?
No matter how hard she tried to understand, and over the last year she had desperately tried to comprehend the destruction of her life as she knew it, it never made any sense to her.
After a few minutes the woman stood back up and wiped her eyes with her shirt sleeve. She needed to pull herself together. She was painfully aware of the exact day and minute her life ended, and since that time she thought about nothing else, unless distracted by everyday minutia. It was the first thing she thought about every morning and the last thing every night before she went to sleep, assuming of course she could go to sleep.
As she walked over and hung her trap back up on the shepherd’s hook, beetles buzzed around her and a thought teased its way into her consciousness. Maybe she was overthinking everything. It might be that nothing she did or didn’t do had anything to do with the betrayal. It could be that he was simply lured by the bait, just like a dumb bug.
As she walked away, the thought made her smile.
The urges within the Japanese Beetle grew stronger as he neared the source of that overpowering scent. Instinct warned him something was wrong, but he couldn’t help himself. He flew headfirst into the yellow plastic funnel, and slid into the canister below. DSS
Pepper Lambie Bauer, 59, of Mapleton, directs a food pantry and is a feature writer at the Limestone Independent News. Her blog is entitled, "My Heart is on the Left." She's won many awards for her charity and church work, and her backyard is a certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. She also sings and plays the banjo. There's more on her Facebook page.
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