Bug Night #10: tough ID

We’ve all been there, he thought. A tough macroinvertebrate identification can pull you in and make you feel like you are drowning—except, this wasn’t happening in the St. Paul’s School laboratory. It was real.

All that he could do was utter a guttural protest as the insect pushed him under for the third time. He was soaking wet. Was it water or was it insect spit?

If only I could see if the macroinvertebrate had a dorsal hump, he thought, then I would know that it was a Leptoceridae. The insect continued to be perverse: concealing its dorsal hump by displaying itself ventrally.

The insect kept pushing him underwater—except it wasn’t water. It was denatured alcohol; possibly mixed with insect spit. His mind spun as he thought, why did I take so much denatured alcohol? Don’t the White Coats carefully ration it, especially at this time in the Bug Night season?

The insect pushed harder, mandibles closing around his throat as its tarsi pointed menacingly toward his eyes. He could smell the alcohol on the insect’s breath—he could smell it everywhere: cloying, ubiquitous, nauseating. He shuddered and gasped as he awoke in a cold sweat in the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday morning. Last week he had had some tough IDs but that dream…

I haven’t missed it, he thought, I can be at Bug Night tonight in less than twelve hours. His body relaxed. He rolled over and heard a strange, brittle crinkle. There was a KitKat on his bed pillow, which was shaped like a stereo microscope.

He gasped. Am I awake? Am I still dreaming?

It’s not a dream. It’s all real. There will be chocolate. The doors open at six on Wednesday. Please click rapidly on the windows with your tarsi should you arrive a bit late. We are on a serious roll thanks to you. We can’t wait to see you there.