Butterfly Squishes

By My Little Worm Cliff — Featuring: Bug Crush

It is never wise to displease a goddess. Sam would have to learn that lesson the hard way.

Katelyn had had big plans for this Saturday and they did not include taking a whiney child – Sam’s daughter — to a live-butterfly atrium.

But the man had insisted that they all go together, perhaps to save their dying relationship. So Katelyn had agreed.

And now he had disappeared, making some feeble excuse about an emergency call back to work, leaving her stuck with this kid, in a giant, hot, smelly, humid cage full of butterflies.

Butterflies were Sam’s joy – a weird obsession for a man, that was for sure. No wonder he was divorced.

Katelyn was way too young for the guy but she’d been attracted, at first, by that very sense of weirdness in him – he was certainly not your average, sports-watching, beer-belching moron. All too soon, though, his quirkiness had worn thin.

She watched Sam’s little demon-child running around, trying to catch the elusive butterflies in clear violation of the atrium rules.

The place was full of the little winged beauties, flexing their wings on branches, sipping from pieces of rotting fruit or just fluttering aimlessly in their oversized cage.

Katelyn noticed that a few of the insects had foolishly landed on the cement floor and been accidently crushed beneath the feet of visitors – visitors who would surely have been horrified to realize what they had done.

Not her.

Ever since girlhood, Katelyn had reveled in the pleasure of crushing insects beneath her feet – ants by the thousands, dim-witted grasshoppers and of course, the earthworms that blundered up onto rainy-day sidewalks. From her first clumsy squishes as a toddler, tap-tap stamping at some fearsome ant; to her glorious, ballet pirouettes upon some earthworm almost tough enough to resist the tread of her grade school sneakers; to her grown-up, pretty-pumps-press-twist-slightly-keep-right-on-walking routine, she was an expert now in the taking of tiny lives.

It was more of a pleasure because it was so often unexpected. Yeah, some buzz-cut, cammo-wearing, rifle-shooting, tobacco-chewing tomboy might stomp a bug and surprise no one – but to see a girl as beautiful, as lithe and willowy and angelic as Katelyn end an insect’s life with such pleasure, that was a new thing in the world and it often drew shocked expressions on the faces of her “audiences,” if audiences there happened to be.

Still, not even Katelyn had ever stomped a butterfly. As she sat sweating on a concrete bench in the butterfly atrium hating Sam and everything to do with Sam, that was about to change.

A yellow butterfly landed on the ground near her. Kate stood up and pretended not to see it. She looked over where Sam’s kid, Hannah, was staring mesmerized at some huge tropical butterfly.

“Katelyn, come see!” the kid cried.

“I’m coming,” said Katelyn, sincerely cheerful for the first time today. A quick, careful step on her part and the yellow butterfly died beneath her heel as she headed towards Hannah, pretending to be oblivious.

So they two now spent a blissful hour searching out butterflies and trying to take pictures of them with the cheap little Wahllmart camera that Sam had bought for Hannah. The kid wasn’t so bad, Katelyn thought. Sam sucked, but his kid was okay.

Of course, during that time, Katelyn “accidently” crushed a half-dozen butterflies that happened to land near her feet – and not a soul in the place seemed to notice. It took exquisite skill, both to trap such a flighty creature beneath her feet and to do it without being seen.

It proved impossible to hide it forever, at least from Hannah. The girl had just hopped down from atop a bench where she had been trying desperately to photograph a jittery swallowtail – and she saw the gooey, golden ruins of some luckless lepidoptera as Katelyn’s right foot lifted from it.

“You squished one!” she cried out. Katelyn looked down, affecting to notice for the first time.

“Yeah, I did. Gotta be more careful,” she said as casually as she could, shrugging her shoulders.

The girl seemed to pause and think about it, trying to decide whether to be heart-broken or shrug it off as Katelyn’s body language was suggesting that she do. In a moment, she chose the latter option, helped along by the distraction of a new butterfly that zigzagged past her.

Katelyn had been watching a giant tropical butterfly for the longest time – one listed on the atrium wall as a rare Panamanian species. What would it be like, she wondered, to feel those big wings beating against her ankle, to feel that big bug body yield and explode beneath her, to “accidentally” squish the precious star of this show and get away with it?

She felt a sudden surge of desire moisten her in the most intimate of places, as she pondered this fantasy. All her skills would be needed to make it happen.

Hannah was starting to get bored, even annoyed, as the butterflies refused to sit still and pose for the camera. She was also miffed that her dad hadn’t come back yet.

Then a beautiful black and gold butterfly landed on a high branch and she squealed with excitement.

“I wanna get a picture of that!” she yelled.

Katelyn’s heart began to pound. The other flier, the rare butterfly, a brilliant shade of silvery blue, was drifting towards them and had now landed on a tiny bit of fruit left inadvisedly upon a bench nearby.

Hannah scrambled onto the retaining wall near the bench and struggled to lift the camera to the right height, where the black and gold butterfly was flexing its wings.

“Let me help you,” Katelyn said, and she hoisted the girl up into the air. The camera clicked, the black and gold butterfly darted away and Katelyn “innocently” stepped back, her full weight plus that of little Hannah in her arms landing squarely upon the doomed tropical butterfly. She felt for one brief moment, its wings fluttering frantically against the bare skin above her ankle socks.

“That’s for you, Sam,” she thought, shoving with all her might – all the muscles from her fine-toned bottom down to the ball of her foot — against the concrete, to press the butterfly into it. She did not dare to do any twisting – if she were caught deliberately squishing this specimen, she’d probably go to jail.

“Let’s go get an ice cream,” she said to Hannah. “I’m bored in here.”

“Me, too,” said Hannah.

The girl paused for a moment as she saw the wreckage of the late blue butterfly upon the bench – and a bit of it still upon Katelyn’s shoe.

“Did you squish that butterfly?”

Katelyn kept her composure.

“Guess I didn’t see it when I was holding you up,” she said. “WE must have squished it. Let’s get that ice cream.”

They walked towards the exit of the atrium, Katelyn feeling as high as a helium balloon but expecting any moment for some security guard to clap a hand upon her shoulder.

As she unlocked the car, a swallowtail had the stupidity to land nearby. Maybe it was wild or maybe it had somehow escaped the atrium. Before Katelyn could do anything, though, Hannah saw it. She squinted at it and before Katelyn could say a word, she darted towards it and stomped it beneath her shoe, grinning and growling like a tiny goblin as she squished it to goo.

“That’s for not letting me take your picture, you stupid butterfly,” she chortled. “Smish, smash, smush!”

And she looked up at Katelyn, whose slight smile signified certain approval.