The Beetle

By My Little Worm Cliff — Featuring: Bug Crush

Jake and Billy slipped off to the side of R.F. Kennedy Middle School, away from the chatter and curious eyes of their classmates. Jake was going to get a sneak preview of Billy’s science fair project.

They’d been best friends since kindergarten and Jake was the only one that Billy knew he could trust with this.

When Billy lifted the lid off the cage, Jake peered in and a long whistle of appreciation left his lips.

“That is the most awesome bug I have EVER seen!”

“It’s a beetle,” said Billy. “Not just any beetle. Macrocarpus philophagus. From Japan. Rare and super expensive. I spent all last summer mowing lawns to save up money for it.”

“Someone’s coming – it’s Katelyn,” Jake said. “How’d she know we were back here?”

“Hi, guys,” Katelyn said brightly. “Whatcha doin?”

“Nuthin,” said Jake, scowling. “Go back to your tea party.”

“Don’t be so mean,” Katelyn said.

Every boy makes a few decisions in his life that change it forever. Usually, he has no idea at the time. Only later does he realize that a few words, a gesture, a letting down of the guard, altered his course of life.

This was Billy’s moment. He looked at the dark-haired girl, a classmate of his, someone he had never paid any attention to before. He looked at her small face and realized for the first time how pretty it was. He looked at her hands and suddenly felt the desire to hold them.

“This is my science project,” he said proudly. “Wanna see?”

“You’re crazy!” Jake hissed. “She’s a girl – she’ll scream loud enough to break the windows and who knows what’ll happen after that?”

Billy ignored him. He smiled at Katelyn, feeling a strange surge of tenderness for her, a feeling that he was definitely not used to. Carefully, he lifted the lid of the plastic cage again.

Katelyn moved beside him, close enough that he could feel the intense warmth of her body and smell the sweet fragrance of her shampoo and even the banana bubble gum that she was chewing. He could even hear the soft, pleasant sound of her breathing, in and out.

She peered into the box.

“Oooh, what a gorgeous beetle! Can I hold him?” she asked.

Jake was making frantic signs but Billy could not – or would not — see him.

“Sure,” Billy said, “if you’re not scared.”

Katelyn looked at him with beautiful, innocent eyes – the eyes of a choir girl, eyes of an angel.

“I may be a girl but I’m not scared,” she said. Then: “I like you, Billy.” And she smiled. And Billy felt a wave of dizziness sweep over him – what the hell was going on inside him?

“You can have my gum if you want it,” she said. “In trade for a look at your bug.”

Billy really didn’t care about a piece of gum until he realized that she was talking about the one she was chewing on.

Jake made a few forlorn gagging noises, realizing that he was dealing with an impossibly powerful rival.

Billy’s heart was raging in his chest like a madman with an electric hammer. The school bell rung but he didn’t hear it. Katelyn leaned close and their lips met – awkwardly and then perfectly together and he felt her tongue bump him like a small, wet animal, felt it push her gum into his mouth, still sweet with banana flavor – and with the taste of her girlish saliva, hot and intense. Billy felt like a surfer on the world’s highest wave.

Jake sat on his butt in the dirt, stunned and silent. His friend had obviously gone insane.

Katelyn squinted into the box. “Wow!” she said. “It’s almost too beautiful to be real.”

She watched the beetle crawl slowly across the cage.

“Can I hold it?” she asked.

“Of course,” Billy said. He would probably have said “of course” at that moment if Katelyn had asked permission to kill him and burn his body into ashes.

Carefully, he extricated his prize bug from the box, let it walk on his fingers for a moment, and then handed it gingerly to her. As the beetle began to traverse her fingers, Billy suddenly imagined what it would be like if he were that beetle, a tiny beetle creeping across her warm, soft, fragrant skin. How would it feel to be so small and helpless in the grasp of a giant girl?

She raised her arm and giggled as the creature climbed down her forearm. “He tickles!”

She opened her mouth teasingly wide as if she were going to eat the bug, which simply continued its clueless journey. Billy, however, was suddenly and keenly aware of how beautiful that mouth looked, with its wet, pink tongue, its glistening teeth and the darkness of her throat at the end. He knew already how it tasted!

Katelyn let the bug creep across her arms back and forth for a few more minutes.

“So this is your science project?” she said.

“Uh-huh,” he said. “I mowed lawns all summer to pay for it. My project is all about how you can actually train even a bug to perform certain behaviorisms if you engage its stimuli.”

He was quite pleased with himself, to have not stumbled over one word of that statement even though he was still reeling from his moments-ago very first kiss and the close presence of not just a girl, a GIRL, the girl, the most beautiful, wonderful girl in the whole world.

“How fast can it run?” Katelyn asked, moving the creature from her left arm to her right.

“Fast, when he’s scared,” he said. “Usually he just kinda pokes along though.”

“How do you know it’s a he?” she asked. Their eyes met and he flushed bright red as her words brought to mind the basic differences between a he and a she, and the fact that Katelyn was very much a she.

Katelyn set the beetle on the ground. Long-forgotten Jake began to protest: “He’ll run off!” Nobody listened to him.

“So your whole project and your grade depends on this bug?” Katelyn asked.

“Yeah,” said Billy. “I have to be able to prove my hypothesis in person.”

The Beetle

By My Worm Cliff

Katelyn stood up. Her eyes locked on Billy. Her innocent expression never changed. She raised her petite little Mary Jane-clad foot over the beetle and firmly stepped down.

Jake began to choke. Billy stood speechless. Katelyn pressed hard, for the carapace of the beetle resisted the pressure of her sole. It was a silent battle between the slightness of her and the strength of the insect. She pressed with all her might and suddenly, finally, the beetle’s shell cracked beneath her and its innards squirted out. Triumphantly, she rocked her sole back and forth to seal her victory, one, two, three times, then twisted it to the left and to the right, grinding the bug into goo. The sharp scrape of sole against pavement probably echoed to the next town over. She grunted softly, a declaration of both pleasure and success and Billy blushed again as his tormented mind grappled with the concept of a girl’s raw pleasure and the satiation thereof.

Jake suddenly came alive and lunged at her, furious in defense of his friend. Billy thrust out his arm and shoved the boy back, hard, hard enough to knock him down.

Jake turned red with rage. “Billy, you’ve lost your damn mind – and your best friend!” And he scrambled to his feet and ran off, hot tears suddenly burning his eyes.

Katelyn looked at Billy, poor pathetic Billy, doomed to fail his science project, doomed to take any blame for the disaster, doomed to have lost forever his childhood friend and to have replaced him with a merciless Goddess as beautiful as an angel who would do as she willed with him.

He meekly stood still while she raised her deadly little shoe and wiped off the remains of his late beetle on his pant’s leg as calmly as if he were a paper-towel dispenser in the girl’s bathroom – that mysterious place where girls reportedly went to pee but mostly to plot against the boys.

“I didn’t do my math homework last night,” she said, matter-of-factly, seemingly without any concern that his world was in tatters. “Can you get it done for me by third period?”

It was a statement, not a question.

“Thanks,” she said, extricating the necessary papers from her backpack and pressing them into his hands.

And she left him standing there amidst the debris of his demolished world, smeared with the shattered bits and pieces of his ruptured boyhood.