The kids ain’t only gettin’ their vegetables ya see, but they’s bein’ schooled for the day that insects is gonna be our primary source of protein…”
by ed markowski
“look doc, it all started on a cold winter day, i carved a few carrots & parsnips into butterflies for the kids ya see.
the old lady, well, she brushed ’em up with butter & brown sugar, then she steamed ’em ’till they was crisp tender.
the damned kids loved ’em. couldn’t get enough of ’em & it goes on through the winter.
come spring, i’m still carvin’ the root vegetables. the kids ain’t only gettin’ their vegetables ya see, but they’s bein’ schooled for the day that insects is gonna be our primary source of protein.
yeah doc, there’s a big war comin’, country’s gonna split apart at the seams, so i gotta get the family prepared ya see.
so the weather warms up come late april, an’ the root vegetables is runnin’ out. i can still hear the fly’s last buzz ‘fore i dipped her in some rubbin’ alcohol to knock her out ‘fore i dropped her in the ice cube tray.
damned flies was luminous when the water froze all around ’em. the way i seed it, one or two cubes in a glass of kool-aid would bring the kids that much closer to gettin’ used to what’s gonna be.
but my wife ain’t buyin’ it anymore, even though i drawed the line at night crawlers. hell, a nice carton a crawlers still brings a good piece a change, so they’s off the table ’till the war finally comes.
well doc, like i says, my old lady ain’t on the same page anymore at all. she tells me one Saturday mornin’ ‘fore she took the kids to the park that she see’s i’ve gone round the bend. calls me psychotic.
i’s out in the garage gappin’ some plugs for my pick-up when a police car come up the driveway.
officer says, ‘mr. pickett you gotta come along with us.’
i says, ‘where to?’
officer says, ‘the hospital. your wife wants you to have an examination.’
i tell the policeman, ‘i feel damned good. hell, I took down a thirty foot maple last week with a hand saw.’
policeman says, ‘a psychiatric examination mr. pickett. your wife is a little worried about you.’
so i says, ‘ok. but theres one thing i need ‘fore ya fasten the cuffs.
officer says, ‘what’s that.’
i don’t say a word, i just leans over and grabs that big ole black ant ‘fore he can get under my truck. he was nice ‘an crisp ‘an salty.
there’s a big war comin’ doc, ya gotta get prepared.”
(illustration: troy dockins)
Ed Markowski lives and writes in Auburn Hills, Michigan. More of Ed’s stories can be found in the Vault of Smoke.