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The War of the Roaches

illustration war of the roaches

The War of the Roaches

It began on May 30th.  The Aggressor made a completely unprovoked attack using a 16‑oz. spray bottle of Professional Strength Roach Killer, which took many of the Roaches by surprise and weakened their forces considerably.  However, some survived and began planning their strategy.

The next move on the part of the Aggressor  was the purchase of roach motels late Monday night (June 1st).  These were strategically placed at many crucial roach strongholds.

The roaches decided it was time for outside aid. Roaches from neighboring apartments were duly contacted and a force of millipede mercenaries was also engaged.  The battle escalated the next day with the attacker’s purchase of boric acid  This was sprinkled carefully over many major transportation routes, forcing the development of alternate modes of roach army movement.

Feeling even more intense weaponry was needed, the Aggressor purchased (on the morning of June 3rd), additional roach motels.  The insect army was getting decimated quite rapidly, and the Aggressor noticed it was composed mainly of adolescent roaches.

Just when it seemed the tide was turning in favor of the Aggressor, reinforcement battalions from the apartment building next door arrived. These were adults, hardy and strong.  It was time for the ultimate weapon. It had been threatened many times before in hopes of negotiating a peaceful settlement.

Oscar Wildecat, Secretary of Defense for the Aggressor, had pleaded with many roaches individually to give up the fight and order a cease‑crawl, but to no avail. The roaches had been known to be fanatical in their beliefs, and it was proven time and time again.  With a heavy, saddened heart, the Aggressor purchased insecticide room foggers.

The cans were solemn black with the appropriate warnings lettered in red and white. The Aggressor knew this was a last resort and tried one last time for a victory using conventional weapons. A spoonful of crunchy peanut butter was put on the kitchen counter, and around it was sprinkled a circle of boric acid. If this did not succeed, the buttons would have to be pressed — releasing the familiar mushroom‑shaped clouds of insecticide and bringing with it the awful stench of death and destruction.

The Aggressor retired for the evening and hardly slept a wink. The Secretary of Defense was up all night, trying dutifully up to the last moment to settle the conflict peacefully.  It was to no avail. The fanatical roaches spit in the Secretary’s face, and not one fell for the peanut butter.

The buttons on the Aggressor’s foggers were pressed, and the she fled the apartment. In less than an hour, the last major roach strongholds were obliterated. With tears in her eyes and a handkerchief over her nose and mouth, the Aggressor relentlessly bombarded major cities and small villages. Roadways were destroyed, and innocent civilian moths and ants also fell in the wave of carnage that swept through apartment number Seven.

Although some isolated guerrilla roaches remained, there was no hope for what was once a mighty nation. There was a minor skirmish here and there, but the tide turned, and the Aggressor conquered vast amounts of territory.

Secretary of Defense Oscar Wildecat took a hard line against the pleas of remaining survivors. Some called him cold and merciless, but he had been humiliated many times by individual roaches and perhaps his actions were understandable, even defensible.

Victory was not without cost.  Vigorous sanctions were extended to the Aggressor by the UA (United Arthropods).  Butterflies no longer engaged in free trade with her petunia plants, and bees no longer pollinated her azalea bush.  Only time could heal the psychological scars suffered by both sides in the debilitating and awful conflict.

Valuable lessons were learned by all involved, however.  The Aggressor learned the merits of preventive negotiation.  She no longer left scraps of edible organic material lying about.  That was an unwarranted and needless provocation to the UA, and led to many misunderstandings as to possession of territory.  The UA, in turn, accepted the fact that their only legal place of residence was the great Outdoors ‑‑ and in abiding by established inter‑organism rules and customs, they were able to carry on perfectly normal and unaffected lives.  The Aggressor and the UA learned to coexist peacefully.

We must hope relations between other global entities will not go to such extreme lengths. We must learn not by trial and error, but by bringing our resources together to prevent conflicts before escalation to unmanageable levels.  Hope.  That was, and still is, the key word. If all of us believe in peace strongly enough ‑‑ if we don’t lose hope ‑‑ perhaps one day the world will live in peace.  Just like the Aggressor and the UA!

(Secretary of Defense Wildecat would like to add one word.)

Meow!

 

 

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War, a very short story

illustration war very short story cats and dogs illustration war very short story cat and dog backwards

The woman thought of God a hundred times a day. A thousand. An infinite number of times. Consciousness on the quantum level. And each day, she grew unhappier. More discouraged. Bleaker. Uglier. Sadder. More uncertain. In the trenches. Wanting to know for sure, and be done with it. The big picture… could anyone see it… could anyone imagine it… could she, or anyone she knew, ever have a clue to its subject… its matter. Most people seem strong until something goes wrong. Could time really heal?

Her belly grew heavy and cold, a dizzying pit of endless space. Would she ever be able to see it through to the end? Where was the end? When was it reasonable to stop trying. When was it the right time to stop trying… too hard. Where were people when you needed them. Bullets never did any body any good. The first human-killing weapons led to more, and more deadly, machinery for war… cannons and tanks and bombers. Land mines. Napalm. Nukes. Propaganda. Poison. Secrecy. It all boiled down into the same rotten thing, in the end.

Terror. The dog barked and barked and yelped and whined and barked some more. He was single-minded; his existence that moment was all about the cat, the cat behind the sofa. She refused to be ruled by terror. She growled and hissed back. She sat just outside his reach and baited him. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it backfired. Sometimes the dog came so close to her, his mouth closed in on the long, silky fluff of her tail. He bore a complex pattern of red scratches on his black and white snout. The man wanted the cat gone in the morning. What if he insisted? The man, or the cat? She preferred the cat tonight. No telling about tomorrow.

 

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(Love is like a) Chain of Possession, a prose poem

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(Love is like a) Chain of Possession

My black cat is a shadow — with yellow eyes.  She yawns, and the startling pink of her mouth lies exposed.  Fangs of unbelievable sharpness.  How is it she refrains from using them on me?  I feed her, I pet her, I clean up her waste.  She kneads my lap, sharp needles encased in velvet.  I, too, am a cat — fangs and claws hidden in softness.  The illusion of receptivity.  The startling pink of the vagina yawns with boredom.  We need more air, moving air, air to ruffle our fur and wake us from this somnolence.

Sweet sleepiness like honey — clear and amber and sticky.  I coat your penis in honey, taste the sweetness, but it isn’t enough.  I want something wilder, something dangerous.  the fascination with death, with destruction, with smoking cigarettes.  The power of the flame to obliterate.  My heart alternately rages fierce, then trembles, vibrates like a small bird, poised for flight.  I cannot be tamed.  Mama tamed herself with scotch whiskey — damped her needs with ice and amber fluid; put out the flame.  She gave me my first black cat, hoping I could fly her dreams for her.  She only hated me for my freedom, her gift.

I fished, as a child, like a woman possessed:  dragging flailing body after flailing body out of the murky canal water, trying to birth myself in a way mama had not.  I felt mingled pity and disdain for my prey — threw them all back, gasping, bleeding, yet they bolted for the depths in a flash, hurrying back toward the life I had interrupted.  I toyed with the puffers, watched them inflate soft white bellies, gleaming, pearly.  They squawked in protest.  sometimes, a spot of blood where i removed the hook.  They all went back to the water.  my canal, my lover — a cool finger of brackish life.

Later, I gave birth to a child, paid for my pleasure, all that fishing, all that lust.  The child’s father held my hand, blinking in the shadows, gazing in mute stillness at the bloody pink and white body, as she opened her tiny mouth to swallow us both.  Her gums, naked yet as hold-fast as iron bars.  She felt the air upon her skin and screamed her agony, her ecstasy, her freedom.  She stared into my eyes, then swallowed my heart.  She breathed and sucked and smiled sweetly in her sleep.  Her first cat will be black, and she will bolt from my life as quickly and painfully as she entered.

I will never stop wanting a lover.  The need satisfied will spin a chain, a golden chain rattling in the dark.  I am terrified by my own strength.  I sleep, I wake, I begin again.  twirling life, twirling death, dancing in my room like a madwoman.  My cat watches, crouched to spring, her eyes thin slits of light.  Someday, she will swallow me.  My lover’s eyes create of me a woman possessed.  Spirit of the feline.; needles waiting in black velvet.  Swollen flowers meet, and cannot part; he is mine.

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