This month’s flash writing for the astronaut collective, theme of “bug”:
Zanorth the cockroach scuttled across the soundboard, chewing on remnants of asiago habanero pizza that had befallen there at some point during the many hours long sessions of takes, retakes, and re-re-takes. Finally, the engineer, Burt, packed up his things, stubbed out his 3rd blunt of the evening, and went off into the night to some industry party in a trendy bar the size of an armpit to drink too many adios motherfuckers and shake his thing on the dancefloor until he got kicked out for grinding up on the clubowner’s wife and knocking over a pitcher full of mojito. Whereupon Burt then made his way to an apartment party at his buddy Fletcher’s, wherein he snorted a coupla lines of coke and then—the final highlight of the night—made out extensively with an aspiring bit part actresses’ chin because they were both too sauced to know the difference. The saliva and knobbiness of the area combined still made it seem like the night had been alright, when he awoke the next mid-day curled around a sofa with a shirt smelling from vomit that did not come from him, unless he somehow drank a quart of tequila without knowing it.
Zanorth felt the habanero was a bit overstated, but otherwise interesting. He sat and waggled his antennae at his reflection in the window lit by pulsating lights from hibernating I-Macs. The night belonged to him and his breed, spawned in the eternal darkness of insulation between walls scattered with conduit and droppings from mice long since exterminated with shock traps. His was a species that was somehow beyond time, straddled across the boundaries of pre-history and a nuclear future. Zanorth felt no need to evolve. He was quite content with his penthouse suite on the 3rd floor of a reconverted motel in the heart of Greenwich Village. Crumbs were aplentiful and gourmet. He often felt that the key to life (which in his case, he was well aware, was most likely limited to one year) was simply being content with what was immediate and given. Zanorth knew that he had it better than most. He had word from a fruitfly that once flew in through the open window from the garbage heap that there were cockroaches in the world who were reduced to scavenging for Vegemite in the armchairs of an abandoned apartment of some ex-pat Kiwis. Zanorth couldn’t imagine what that would be like. At the most, here in this paradise of frequent daily snacks and delivery pizza, Thai, Indian, and Chinese, Zanorth once had to go a whole weekend without a crumb. He called that the drought of week 37.
Burt knew, in some subconscious primitive part of his brain, that he dropped crumbs from his hastily snacked upon sustenance throughout the day. He also perhaps had observed, without putting two and two together, that the crumbs no longer were there the next day. Burt also knew that there was no cleaning lady hired to mop and wax the floors and disinfect the tables. But if he had ever thought about it at all, maybe he just thought that crumbs went to crumb purgatory, where all fallen crumbs belonged. Or they disappeared via magic, via some transmutation or karmic reincarnation into something new. Perhaps they became integrated into the wooden flooring.
No, the crumbs—as we canny observers know—went directly to Zanorth’s belly. But perhaps that is as it is meant to be. The hardshelled creatures of the night suckling upon what we are unaware of, feeding from the waste of our ignorance.