Monday, September 06, 2010

Necessary introductions

Greetings, puny humans!

You may ask yourself how Big Bubba - the biggest, baddest tobacco hornworm in Ohio - came to be in such an embarrassing position.  Good question.

Last week I was perfectly content to be decimating the tomato plants in my kingdom ... until I got a little too greedy and started to eat an actual tomato.  It was green and juicy and rock-hard and full of lovely toxins I can store up in my body to poison the rat-bastard birds who might want to eat me, and I couldn't resist having another bite.  And another.  And another.

The Little Human noticed that the tomatoes looked funny, and when the Big Human looked at the plant, she spotted me right away.  The fact that I had eaten half of the tomato and all of the leaves which might have camouflaged me might have worked to my disadvantage.

At any rate, the Big Human broke off the branch I was on - never mind that I was in the middle of a meal! - and trapped me in a heinous prison where I had barely enough room to move ... not that I was going anywhere with half a tomato in my grabby little claspers.

"Unhand me, woman, or I shall unleash my wrath upon you!" I yelled, although I'm not sure the Big Human heard me.  Or maybe she did.

"You're full of shit," she told me as she closed the prison with an ominous zip.

Not anymore, I'm not, lady!  Take that, puny ape-descended life form!  Can you poop out more than your own body volume in one day?  I didn't think so!

My first day as a prisoner was full of stress and horror.  I had to sit in there all by myself with nothing to amuse me but a luscious, luscious tomato, and then when the Little Human arrived, it was even worse.  The shaking and the unzipping and the breathing on me and the poking and the squealing and the cooing ... ugh, it was all I could do to hold still and play dead for hours.  The next day, however, brought a new horror ... a cell mate.

It seems the tomato decimation hadn't stopped with my incarceration, and the Big Human located one of my subjects looking guilty on a branch that had been stripped bare.  She snapped off the branch Little Bubba was on and stuck him in the cage with me.  Great.  Now not only was I locked up in this hole, I had to share the space with some pitiful little wreck less than half my size.  Stupid thing didn't even want any of the extra tomato the Big Human put in the cage for it, just ate a few leaves and attempted to make a break for it.  The zipper was too strong for him, though - no wonder, with the pitiful diet he was eating.  It was a boon for me, though - while his attention was elsewhere, I ate Little Bubba's tomato.

Things were quiet for a few days, with our human slaves dutifully cleaning away our messes and providing fresh sustenance for us.  Then today dawned, and a fresh horror awaited us.  Turns out Little Bubba had been acting so strange - really, what was with eating all those leaves, dude? - because he was infected with parasitic wasp larvae, all of which emerged this morning and tried to make cocoons all over his body.  If I hadn't been so involved in eating his tomato from the day before, I totally would have been running and screaming in horror at the sight of 20 little wriggly worms all over my friend.  

As it was, I paused my eating for a moment and said a prayer for him as the Big Human hurried to get him out of the cage and away from me.  Wouldn't want those odious wasps to infect Big Bubba, now would we?

The Big Human put Little Bubba in the grass under a tree and used the edge of a stiff leaf to scrape some of the larvae off of him, but every time one came off, pitiful Little Bubba started oozing green blood where the larvae had been attached.  After a while it became obvious that the poor little guy wasn't being helped, he was being exsanguinated, and the Big Human left him alone.

When she came back a few minutes later, the most miraculous thing had happened!  The ants which colonize the base of the tree had found Little Bubba, and they were pulling the larvae off and running away with them!  And where the ants had pulled off the larvae, Little Bubba wasn't bleeding!  Huzzah!  The Big Human scraped off the last two or three larvae and left a nice, green tomato branch and tomato right next to Little Bubba to aid in his recovery.  I was so jealous, I could hardly choke down any of my own tomato.

Hours later Little Bubba was still behaving strangely, apparently avoiding his food and hanging drunkenly onto the grass leaves when everyone knows we can't eat that stuff.  Yech.  Anyway, the Big Human left Little Bubba out there tonight, with no protection from all the evils that prowl the night.  I'll be greatly surprised if a skunk or an owl hasn't gotten him by morning, the poor bugger.  It's got me so depressed, I had to eat another tomato just to calm myself down enough to write this.

So that's my story.  Trapped in a fabric prison that's safe from predators, being fed horribly tasty food in vast quantities, being doted on by my captors ... it's a tough life.  The Big Human says she's watching me for the telltale signs that I'm ready to pupate, and at that point she's got to figure out how to convince The Man that I need to come inside their house with a big bunch of dirt for me to burrow into the soil as nature intended.  Hah!  That's a conversation I'd like to hear.  Somehow I don't think The Man is going to be that thrilled with having me next to the tadpoles on the kitchen counter all winter.

But it would be fun to see my captors after I emerge, reborn. I've got a few things up my sleeve that I think would surprise the heck out of the Little One.  For one, one I emerge as a Carolina Sphinx moth, I'm going to be huge.  Yeah, I know, I'm pleasantly plump now, but wait until you see me as a moth that takes up the whole palm of the Big One's hand.  It'll freak that kid right out, I know it.  I'm so big that people mistake me for a hummingbird - which is fine with me, since I can hover and drink nectar and can even drink from hummingbird feeders if I can find one.

So that's my story.  Now, somebody send a SWAT team to rescue me from this hellhole, okay?  Because I can see my kingdom from here, and it's almost out of green tomatoes.

1 comment:

mlf said...

How cool!

And I learned a new word, "exsanguinated". Now, to figure out how to use this in conversation.