The Unswung Bat

Thursday, October 09, 2003
Things What Don't Fall

So it's come to this.

It's just you and me, little bug. Crawling up the wall like half a scorched pistachio shell with legs (you, not me) and feelers waving around like leafy branches in the wind. Light from my third-storey window is glinting off a stack of cds to throw a pale rainbow against the same wall you're pulling yourself up. Is that what you're following? If there's gold at the end, I want half. I mean, this is my room, you fat little beetle.

You're in assorted company on my wall. Suspended from it, in addition to you, is a rectangle of green and pink foil folded to look like a shirt, a calendar marked with dates - the fact that I have only two days to submit that play to Stage Blue is stuck to the wall as persistently as you. There are other things, too, but what do it matter to you? You couldn't notice these things. You must be more aware of the stolen jazz coming out of my stereo, swiped off the internet and made public in the sense that I play it loud. Right now Coltrane is playing Naima, as much to you and me as to the trucks huffing by outside. If your ears are in your antennae, they're half as long as your legs. I guess you hear it.

You don't know a tenor sax from a truck, just don't let them squish you.

How it is you don't fall was one of the first things I wondered about. Well, not you specifically. You're much younger than me. But how a bug can stand on a wall piqued the curiosity of a juvenile me, many years ago, back in the playground age.

Man, I was staring at a helicopter just last night. It just hung there. It wouldn't move, at least not relative to the ground. Suspended in three-dimensional stillness, ten meters from the nearest surface, which is to say, the ground I was standing on. It just wouldn't fucking fall.

But you're not a man, you're a bug. Me on the other hand, I am a primate. My species has made helicopters. We even made that wall. Someone in my species, though I don't remember who, even explained to me how it is that you hold onto that wall, and walk up it like your feet were on the ground.

You're almost at the cieling now, little pistachio. Are you going to disappear into that crack between the crown moulding and the cieling? Maybe that was your plan all along.

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