Sunday, September 9, 2007

back lot death match

I was unsure of what ethical action was called for in this situation. I could hear the cicada stutter intermittently, and went to investigate. When I found it upside down in the monkey grass I tried to brush aside a strand, but shouted when said blade of grass turned to look at me with chilling praying mantis eyeballs that seemed to be saying "You're next."

I used a stick to put some distance between these insects, but then Rodrigo pointed out that I was depriving the praying mantis of lunch. I guess I unconsciously sided with the cicada because they aren't as creepy as mantises. But this one clearly wasn't long for the world anyway, since it couldn't fly or even crawl right side up, so what was the harm in leaving it to the mantis?

Rodrigo wanted to see what kind of gruesome action would continue between these two. He tried to pick up the mantis and get it interested in the cicada again, but the mantis was too upset about being interrupted and too slippery be put anywhere. I pictured it going for Rodrigo's eyes and was relieved when he got bored and went inside.

I came inside too and listened to the periodic death throes of the cicada for about an hour. Then I went outside to check on things and sure enough, the mantis was hanging upside down on a pot full of my dianthus flowers and feasting on the cicada's face. What bothered me was how long it was taking for the cicada to die. I asked myself questions like: Aren't we ethically bound to end suffering? What's the PETA position on insect life? Should I just stomp them both?

In the end I left them alone to their fates, though I can't say I didn't interfere. I sat out there in the hot ass sun for about 15 minutes trying to get Wyatt's new digital camera to focus on these guys, which it would do, but then go blurry when I took the photo. I used much profanity and took many frames trying to get this shot. I probably prolonged the cicada's suffering, I'm realizing just now, because the mantis kept stopping to look at me every time I moved.

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