Backpacking and Bipolar II. Taking Manic Depression on tour.
Tonight, dear reader, I will regale you with tales of daring, greed, violence and redemption. You will learn of a stalwart Cicada, who, having failed to tell us his name, has earned at the very least a capital “C” in this report for his bravery. Alas, I haven’t the wordsmithing skill to communicate how unusual and immediate the comedy and drama surrounding this noble insect’s invasion was. Take my word for it, this was fucking hilarious.
It had been a blisteringly hot day, and weary from the rigorous efforts of shed-lyfe (4 realz) I had retired. Accompanying me was my ever faithful, feline companion – Poppy. Poppy was in a ponderous mood, waiting at her usual perch on the back of the couch behind my head and surveying the big-game safari park that is the garden, waiting for night to fall. The lazy quiet before the murderous storm.
Tonight, however, the rodent council of tropical northern Queensland had mustered its troops and they had clubbed together to hire a mercenary. A drunken Cicada kamikaze pilot. Poppy spotted the aggressor before me, and I heard him before my eyes caught up. Had I an air raid siren, dear reader, I would have been winding it like an Olympic rower.
“TAKE COVER, LADS!!!” – A man, from a war.
The Cicada rattled and slapped from every surface as he careered around the room. After an incident involving an over friendly and uncoordinated Rhino Beetle the other night, I have developed a first response strategy of shouting insults and running to the opposite side of the room. This is made somewhat difficult when your enemy can fly, move thrice as fast as you and is moving with such erratic randomness that it makes Ross Noble’s stand up seem structured.
The Cicada settled here and there, allowing for the following shots.
After I took the last photo I wanted to move him on. I thrust, parried and delivered a devastating riposte that unnerved the trespasser enough that he flew to the other side of the room. He did this by doing a loop de loop back and smacking the unsuspecting cat in the face with an audible “THWACK”. The cat pulled that speechless face that television magicians rely on to fill silent minutes of film. A look of horrified incredulity and confusion.
After this, I trapped the Cicada in a jar. I sadistically contemplated giving him over to the furious moggy but before the power went to my head I decided on a general amnesty as a reward for the sheer bollocks on him. He was a tough, plucky little bastard. I had no idea how tough until about thirty minutes later when night drew in.
The clouds were low enough that tonight we found ourselves among them. The light from the kitchen windows cast ghostly shadows across the garden as an eerie mist crept the tiled patio. We heard a noise that could only be described as a set of maracas being fed through a mincer. My friend confidently told me that a cat must have gotten hold of a tree frog, or something less intelligent was murdering a cane toad outside the back door.
Further inspection revealed that it was indeed a cane toad, but that the deafening death rattle had issued from none other than the Cicada infiltrator I had spared the life of earlier. The greedy, fat fucking toad had tried to swallow him, but our Cicada was an S.A.S Cicada, strong as an ox. Between his prodigious girth and tenacious spirit the Cicada had avoided being swallowed whole and was trying to fly away whilst wearing a new toad onesie. We retrieved him from the toad and hosed him down. I felt as though the Cicada was on my team after I’d spared him earlier. I just COULDN’T do a Pontius Pilate on him now.
Having washed the frog gunk from the Cicada’s wings we helped him limp onto a high table. Checking his progress later revealed that he had flown the coop.
Cicadas live underground for seven years before digging their way out for a brief but glorious closing ceremony of binge eating and mating. This lad was the insect equivalent of a British tourist. Alien to our world, dazed and confused. He rattled into our home, banging off of every surface and making a LOT of unintelligible noise before striking a local and being ejected from the premises. Only later to be found covered in vomit having had an fight with another rough local. I admired his pluck and I hope he enjoys his twilight months as an absolute debauch.