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The International Writers Magazine: Dreamscapes
a cricket. A one-legged cricket, so born.
Growing up with only one leg? No big deal. Playmates never remarked
upon it. I had no uneasy grimaces from parents to contend with,
as parents were long gone. Cricket-parents, in my time, didnt
tend to stick around much after birth
what, with multiple
matings, celebrations, commendations, promotions the stuff
and fluff of crickethood.
I, too, eventually
grew to crickethood with yearnings for matings and such.
I looked at my friends of only yesteryear how quickly theyd
put away their playthings and had, instead, begun to toy with the thing
of which they had a pair, but of which I had only one. They? Rubbing,
rubbing, rubbing. And always making odd sounds with their rubbing. Me?
I certainly felt those sounds; I just couldnt make them. And so
I was left without the sonority that would have brought me company.
Company was what I really wanted.
No pair of legs, no sonority. No sonority, no company. Thats the
law of cricketdom. And the law of cricketdom is strict. For millions
upon millions of generations, it hasnt changed.
I thought hard and devised a plan for a new sonic architecture
for an aubade and a vesper both. Then I ventured out and found a broad
leaf. A broad Brugmansia leaf. Broader, finer, more exotic than Brugmansia
is hard to come by in these parts. This Brugmansia, out of zone, was
here by sheer coincidence and by my luck.
Time was fleeting. Winter was coming. With winter would come the cold.
This Brugmansias broad leaves wouldnt survive the winter.
More to the point, this Brugmansia wouldnt survive the winter.
The way I figured it, we were in it together.
I rubbed my leg against Brugmansias broad leaf. I rubbed out,
note by note, my Sonata for One Leg which, to my ear, was a candidate
for cricket-delectable. But none came. I rubbed harder. Rubbed
then against the grain of Brugmansias leaf. She moaned. And yet,
no cricket came.
I stopped, lay down, put my ear to Brugmansias leaf. She had her
own rhythm and her own sonority, neither of which had anything in common
I tap-tap-tapped my single leg, like a baton, but then paused in mid-tap
and listened again to the leaf. For as long as the wind was still, she
was still. When the wind kicked up whether breeze or sudden gust
she answered with a sigh or a flutter, whatever the wind demanded.
In that instant, I ceased tapping. I laid my single leg upon Brugmansias
broad leaf and caressed it in the only way a single-legged cricket can
caress. The result was a resonance which sounded, I confess, like dissonance.
In my cricket-crotchety state, I sensed another tap-tap-tapping, then
pushed myself up on a single leg and looked around. What I saw, a seeming
emerald ocean away (even if just at the other end of a broad expanse
of leaf) was an odd creature honing in on my call. My pair of cricket
eyes told me I was looking at a wasp. All of whose five eyes stared
back at my two.
I braced myself for a fight. I felt adversarial, gladiatorial
and no doubt looked the part in my crickets carapace. She looked
at me, I felt, also ready to fight. And raised herself up in all of
her evil, waspish connotations. But then collapsed.
She raised herself up again more evil still, more waspish still
but then collapsed again. She slowly advanced upon me in her
odd way, and I braced for battle. She was now almost within reach of
my single leg. I could take her head and all five eyes out with one
swipe. I collapsed and raised my single leg. She advanced. And then
I noticed. She had only one wing. She couldnt fly. Shed
fallen to the leaf. This single Brugmansia leaf was her last hope, and
I was her last company. A fall to the ground would have meant death
by ants. By a field-day of ants. By thousands upon thousands of them.
As it had always been for millions upon millions of generations.
I let her come. I held out my stub of a leg. She looked, lowered her
five eyes in shame, then held out her stub of a wing. We were a pair,
we were. A pair of fucking cripples.
I extended my single crickets leg. She met it with her single
The wind played its windy sonata. Brugmansias leaf sighed, grew
brittle over time, succumbed to wind and winter, and dropped to the
And the ants had their day.
See also Allegory 11
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