Amanda Ades is a junior Music major with a minor in English Writing, hailing from Kent, Washington. She is usually found composing music, weaving lyrics, and doodling in every margin her pen comes into contact with.
Between Blades of Grass
In the green lush of my grandmother’s backyard, there lives a great crawling colony of creatures. When a harsh gust of wind blows the carpet of grass flat, if you are very perceptive, you can see life squirming between the bald spots. If you take a magnifying glass to the ground, kneeling, with your face almost touching the dirt, you could be lucky enough to see a dull green Grasshopper rub his two spindly legs together seductively as he calls out for a mate. He lives in a silty cottage, next door to the shiny roach and her family.
It’s a bustling street between the blades of grass. All the creatures who chirp and scuttle are doing just that as they hurry to the center of town for a celebration. It’s the Old Stag Beetle’s birthday, and the town has put together a bash (rumor has it he may not have another birthday after this one). After all the legs are tucked under comfortably in twiggy seats, the venue is at capacity with compound-eyed guests. “On this early morning in May, we come together to celebrate the ninety-seventh birthday of the Old Stag Beetle, maybe live on for at least another year or so,” declare several Aphids, who speak in unison as one. The clinking of curled leaf flutes resounds throughout the room as the guests toast the Beetle’s longevity and well-being. The Old Stag Beetle sits at the front of the table and does not know what to do with his hands as the birthday song is sung to him; he becomes confused, protesting that in fact, it is not his birthday. A matronly Dragonfly begins to calm him down with affirming words, refilling his glass and cutting him a thick slice of cake.
As the party becomes livelier, a band of Crickets starts to play an up-tempo jig. Little chattering crowds of creatures form, talking and dancing, heads nodding and arms waving to the beat. The Old Stag Beetle loses himself in the hubbub, forgetting where he is again. He grumbles to himself, “I need some fresh air,” tapping his knobby cane as he stumbles out of the crowd, entering the now empty dirt streets of his village. He blinks, eyes adjusting to the mid-evening light, as the spun gold glow from setting sun oozing over the tall stalks of grass. It’s a nice day for a stroll, he thinks, moving his cane side to side as if it were a dowsing rod. His path is unclear and his gait is lumbering as the pain from his aching back slows him down.
“I need to sit for a moment,” he says aloud to no one in particular. His bleary eyes focus on a soft mound of moss and he sits with a grunt. The Beetle breathes a sigh of relief and takes in his surroundings. There’s a strange black object leaking water droplets by his patch of moss, and a rough gray surface a few inches straight ahead. I must have been walking for a while, he worries. I have wandered into unrecognizable territory. My wife will be worried sick if I don’t return soon. But, I must rest for just a moment, just until I get my strength back. His eyes slowly close and the sun warms his weary body.
Suddenly, in the midst of his slumber, a loud shriek pierces the air.
“HEY ROBBIE LOOK WHAT I FOUND!” The Stag Beetle awoke with a start at the noise.
“I DARE YOU TO EAT HIM,” the same voice screeches.
“NO, THAT’S GROSS!” a different voice responds, moving closer and closer to the poor dazed Stag Beetle.
“FINE, I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU. YOU CAN’T SAY NO TO A DOUBLE DOG DARE, IT’S THE RULES,” the shrill voice countered.
The Beetle finds himself pinched between Robbie’s forefinger and thumb. Robbie’s eyes are wide and brown and his lips are contorted in a grimace. The Old Beetle stares back in shock. As he is lifted up to meet Robbie’s cavernous mouth, he wishes he could kiss his wife goodbye.
He bicycle-kicks his many legs and squirms, writhing around on the wet pad inside of Robbie’s mouth. The pad pushes him between Robbie’s strong back molars and
goes the Old Stag Beetle.