Bug Night #4: please don’t stand so close to me

“Do I have detritus on my face, Mr. White Coat?” she asked, “I used your method of cleaning the sieve and I am afraid that I might have sprayed some sample on me.”

The White Coat man tried to look and see but the light wasn’t good. Someone—or something—was blocking the light. It looked like a walking mat of detritus with bug eyes and two teeth that were large yet comical. It didn’t seem threatening but the man went on the assumption that it was sentient and addressed it as a fellow Bug Nighter.

“Please don’t stand so close to me,” said the White Coat, “We all need some personal space in here with so many Bug Nighters in this small laboratory.” The woman nodded in agreement—as best she could with her neck craned for inspection.

“Hey, it’s not like I sting,” said the walking mass of detritus, “What are you, the Laboratory Police?”

The man and woman were taken aback. They had not expected such an aggressive posture.

“We just need a little room to help all of the Bug Nighters,” said the woman gently, “Are you new here?” She had regained her composure after learning that she did not have sample debris on her face.

“I am sorry,” said the new Bug Nighter, “What you are doing is so interesting and all I ever wanted in life was to learn how to identify macroinvertebrates.”

We hope that you all share the walking detritus’s objective for this evening.

The doors open at six. Please knock on the window if you arrive a bit late. We can’t wait to see you there.

Yes, there is no Bug Night (tonight)

It had been barely a week since the last Bug Night and the volunteer was already yearning for me macroinvertebrates. “Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana,” he said.

“Snow flies like a colembola,” said the spry and spritely springtail, “Is it safe for Bug Night-ers to come and identify us tonight?”

One of the the white coats seemed genuinely concerned, “Because there is nothing that we want more than your personal safety, we are cancelling Bug Night this evening.”

“We hope for better weather and a refreshed and enthusiastic Bug Night group next week,” said the colembola, “I will be waiting…”

Bug Night #3: Of all of the gin petri dishes in all of the laboratories…

Even in denatured alcohol, her appearance had not lost its stunning impact.

“Once I was a a fresh and supple pupa; a dewy ingénue with my entire life—a staggering fifteen days—ahead of me,” she said, “Now, it ends like this with a frustrated volunteer trying in vain to identify me.”

“But, I, um,” the volunteer started, “I’m bad with head capsules, ma’am, I, umm…”

“Ma’am?,” she hissed indignantly, “Stop your blubbering and look at tab nine in Macroinvertebrates of the Upper Merrimack. I used to be famous throughout the watershed and now you, a mere volunteer, don’t even recognize me?”

The volunteer looked up from his stereo microscope and frantically tried to get the attention of one of the white-coated Bug Night proctors swishing through the laboratory. Amazingly, everyone else’s heads were down, seemingly content with their own identifications, which did not seem nearly as demanding as his own.

“It’s as plain as the forceps in your trembling hand,” the bug continued, “I am…”

Just then, one of the white-coats startled him by shouting the one-hour warning. He had only looked away for a second and when he tried to find her—whoever she was—again in his petri dish, she was gone.

As time goes by, you realize that all that you really want to do is identify macroinvertebrates. Remember, we’ll always have Bug Nights.

Bug Night begins at 6:00 PM on Wednesday, February 8, 2017. If you arrive a little late, knock on the door or laboratory windows with your pedipalps. A white-coat or one of your peers will assist you with your entry.