Out of Two Thousand Applicants

June 8, 2014 § 1 Comment

One hundred bluebottles and one hundred monarchs were hired as subjects for the mid-term exam at a local art school. The recruitment process included an examination of wing vibrancy, opacity, and design; a freeze-motion endurance test in which the butterflies held poses for a variety of periods of time ranging from ten seconds to two hours; and a brief scrutiny of flirtation techniques used to evaluate how successfully the candidates could attract a Human.

On the day of the exam, the butterflies were instructed to fly to a Human, pose for however long it took the Human to complete his or her sketch, and then move on to another artist.

The top Humans’ pieces are currently featured in the art school student museum, which can be viewed for a small fee, or one may peek through the windows for a subpar view free of charge.

Please ignore the protesting monarchs out front who believe the scoring system was not fair; they are unassociated with our program. The Human works were judged by an equal opportunity unaffiliated third-party team. The pieces were ranked in categories of mastery of technique and attention to detail. It just happened that this year the majority of talented Humans chose to draw bluebottles rather than monarchs. We had no hand in that, as we employed an equal number of both species.

We are very pleased with this year’s quality of work and we hope you enjoy the gallery as much as we do.

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Crawling

March 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

The sun it is burning oh so much burning I need shade oh not too much shade because I’m small oh so very small inch inch inch not even yet an inch but I inch along I inch as long as it takes to find that shade oh yes some very nice shade HELP YOU’RE CRUSHING ME oh no oh I’m sorry oh so very sorry I didn’t see you there why you’re a green caterpillar oh so very green oh no did you lose your stripes you don’t have any stripes inch inch inch oh no no stripes no stripes at all inch inch inch all the way around the milkweed stock no stripes never had stripes huh that’s strange oh so very strange oh you like my stripes thank you thank you so very much I like your particular shade of green thank yes wonderful oh that’s wonderful thank you thank you for the shade I like you I like you very much let’s be friends what kind of caterpillar are BILLYYYYYYYYYYY! BIIIIIILLLLLLLLYYYYYYY WHERE ARE YOU? I’m here mother right here with my new friend oh so very nice friend he’s BILLY! BILLY GET AWAY FROM THAT THING!

What but mother he’s sharing his shade he’s a very nice little green caterp—mother mother ow no why are you flying me away goodbye little green caterpillar thank you oh thank you for the shade

Roses, Part II: Losing Grip

March 22, 2014 § Leave a comment

So there I was, sitting on top the stamen of a white rose, gripping it with my legs and turning my antennae down against the gusts.

As the wind picked up and I held on tighter, pressing my wings as close together as I could, I saw them zoom past me, riding the currents and dropping like flies.

They complained it wasn’t fair. You always win! Your wings are different! Your body is way thinner!

They said I had it easier.

No I don’t.
Yeah you do. You’re different. What even are you?

They wiggled their antennae and hovered in a group, squinting their eyes at me.

What do you mean?
Like where are you from?
Down the street. I was laid on the milkweed in the garden behind the gray stone house.
No, but where are you really from?
I don’t get it.
UGH, do you even understand English? We’re asking what your ethnicity is.

Oh.

I’m a bluebottle.

A blue whattle?
Bluebottle. Well, my parents are. I was born here, though, like you guys.
No way. You’re not like us. We’re orange!
Can you not see through your tiny eyes?
Bluewho? Bluewhere? You’re so thin we can’t even see you!
Go back to bluewhatever land, tiny!

Roses, Part I: The Anticipation

March 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

Today we’re playing a game. We play this particular game rarely, so the winner stays winner for a long time (I’m the winner right now). We can only do it some days because it depends on the weather. And whether we have to bring along the caterpillars. Most of them can’t crawl up without getting pricked. But that’s another game for earlier days.

We never tell our mothers. They wouldn’t let us play. It’s too dangerous. You’ll cut an antenna off. If your wing slices we can’t take you to the clinic because we don’t have insurance.

But that makes it more fun.

We play it in the rose garden. You have to try to remain on a stamen, holding on with all your feet, and when the wind blows, you have to stretch your wings all the way up so that the topsides are touching and you form a perfectly straight line. If they’re open even a little, you catch a gust and get blown through the flowers and hope you don’t catch a thorn when you bounce from rose to rose.

We’re in the garden right now.

Boats

March 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

They came over on boats. Mostly on big ones where they could hide in shadows without getting caught, sneaking bites from the kitchen or from bowls of unsuspecting passengers. They couldn’t chew rice, did not like soup. But lucky ones might find a family of children who rejected the green leaves on their plate, or a lady who left out leaves and flowers for pressing, items she might adhere to postcards or letters when she reached her destination.

Boats carrying ladies were best. They were gentler, kinder. The ladies would dip their fingers in cinnamon tea or chai or sometimes an orange blossom oolong and turn their palms up to let the stowaways drink the drops caught in the underside of their long nails. They would flit from finger to finger, drinking until full and then, if they were kind, sucking up extra for the ones with damaged wings too weak to fly, the ones who got swatted at by the crew or were accidentally stepped on. Those hardly ever made it off the boat, but keeping them alive was better for everyone because no one likes the sickly sweet odors of dying insects.

Some were more fortunate and came with passengers as pets in little cages; more quiet and graceful than the birds they were made for. Those were the most beautiful of all, the blue hues of their wings more vibrant, the black more opaque. Their wings never drooped. Their thorax and abdomen were always sleek. They hovered around their owners, circling their heads like halos or perching atop of their buns. Real live butterfly barrettes. Other Humans paid pretty sums for shiny crystal versions of the delicate creatures and eyed the light-as-a-feather authentic ones with silent longing.

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