Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Big House

"I've got to escape," the cricket said to himself. "This life isn't for me, man. I didn't do anything to deserve this. It wasn't my fault."

"You can't escape," a dying fly said weakly from the bottom of the abyss. "The gates rarely open. The poison, the poison seeps into you. It kills you man. It kills you."

"I can survive!" the cricket snapped. "This isn't my fault. It was my circumstances. I was trying to better myself."

"By breaking and entering?" the warden, a fuzzy black spider by the name of, well, Fuzzy, sneered. "You got a lot to learn boy."

"I'll be good," the cricket pleaded. "I swear. I'll make a difference. I'll live in a halfway house."

"Our halfway house got destroyed in the storm of Wednesday," Fuzzy said. "We had to switch it to a temporary pot, and it's not ready for any new inmates. There's already four spiders, a cricket and a bee living there. They're overrun."

The cricket looked out at the open sky desperately. There was a huge pile of trash just waiting for him to frolic in. There was tons of dust to kick his heels up and twirl about. And oh, the best thing of all. The thing that had him salivating at the screen that prevented his escape into the world: there was a tree. A tall, glorious tree that did not attract birds. That tree would be his.

But how should he escape? He had no teeth to chew, and he had sung all night to no avail. His tiny feet clung desperately to the screen as the wind blew. Perhaps fortune would smile on him and the screen would shake lose.

"All is lost," the fly down below intoned, twitching on the metal door frame. "The darkness is coming. All is lostttt."

"You're really depressing, you know that?" the cricket snapped.

"Sorry!" the fly sighed. "Where's a toad to put me out of my misery? Where's the toad that lives by the air conditioning?"

"He's working today," Fuzzy the spider said.

After what seemed an eternity of torture, the cricket's miracle had arrived. The screen door was opened, and now the entire world was open to him. The trash was available to roll around in. The dust was swirling about, just waiting to be twirled in. And the tree, the big bird-free tree, was waiting with open branches.

And the cricket couldn't move. He just clung to the door.

"What are you waiting for?" Fuzzy said.

"I don't know," the cricket said. "I believe I'm stuck."

"Well, just let go," Fuzzy said.

"I'm not ready yet," the cricket said through gritted teeth.

A few minutes later, Fuzzy asked again. "Ready now?"

"Nope," the cricket said.

An hour or so passed. "Ready now?" the fly asked.

"Nope," the cricket said.

The afternoon began to turn dark with the beginnings of dusk. "Ready now?" Fuzzy said.

"Getting there," the cricket said, still clutching on to the screen for dear life.

After the sun had set, the fly had gone to bed for the night and Fuzzy had gone home to his 80 children. Finally, the cricket said to no one in particular, "I'm ready."

And with that, he flew into the night into his big friendly tree, and settled in for his first night as a free bug.