Midnight Chirping

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Footsteps, yarns and little fibs
A small black cricket can make a lot of noise!

Submitted: January 22, 2017

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Submitted: January 22, 2017



If you are observant, you will see those tiny black crickets during warm summertime weather. You have to be observant though. For sure you will hear their chirping, and maybe it’s them you hear in the night scenes in the movies, it’s just my guess!  But on a nice, sunny day try and find them! They are the ventriloquist of the insect world! You follow the sound, next thing you hear it from another direction.

With the exception of wasps, those German buggers that do so much to harm our natural environment… wait, come to think of it, I don’t much like blowflies either, but the rest, I do my best to protect! Back in the day I even used to do pencil drawings of most of the common ones that found their way into our back yard. I had quite a collection but they disappeared when I was away at Ranger School.

The colony-insects are a fascination of mine, I guess I was stimulated by my bee keeping days.  Even early on I used to rob wild hives, but I needed to pluck up courage because those black bees can be pretty angry, and I had no protective gear! There was a hornet that used to make a cricket-ball-sized mass of cells in the ceiling of the veranda at Makumira. She never bothered us, although my nursery workers kept an eagle eye on her! After one lot of her babies emerged, she would start on another.

One night at Sanawari there was a chirping in our bedroom, on and on it went. Ignoring it didn’t work nor did wrapping a pillow around our heads! Chip, chirp, bloody chirp! Up we got to look for the source! We had scant furniture, mainly box/tables that I had made up of the roughly constructed tomato boxes that were used in growing areas like Ngarenanyuki. We kept our clothes in suitcases because we had nowhere else to put them.

We lifted every single thing we could, but it seemed to stop when we turned the light on. Who wants to sleep with the light on? So we did another search for the chirp, chirp, bloody chirp by torchlight! Our house gecko followed the beam looking for small insects but there was no sign of the chirper! I thought geckos were masters of their trade, why couldn’t he hunt it down? Well, it filled in the night, and we were getting a bit short in the grain by daylight.

During the day while I was out in the field, Mags again looked under everything that could possibly be a hiding place for Jiminy! She found nothing save an errant cockroach! So expecting a better night’s sleep we dossed down earlier than usual. Sleep was deep for three house, until Jiminy started up again, chirp, chirp, bloody chirp! Using a megaphone this time! My eyes snapped open! But this time, before moving, I listened, trying to be logical.

I took my torch outside into a warm night and flashed the light on the wall below the window. The little bugger had to be outside! I drew a blank, there were plenty of bugs out there, but nothing going, chirp, chirp, bloody chirp! I even looked under the bigger stones on the path. Back inside, due to dead reckoning or desperation, I became suspicions the sound was coming from my suitcase!

Feeling sure Jiminy was in there, I had my trusty flyswat on hand and a can of Doom! Doom is an insect spray manufactured in Australia, powerful enough to knock out a goanna! The stuff is so toxic I wanted to avoid getting it on my clothes, but if need be…. I opened my suitcase and Jiminy was still hollering into his megaphone, but I knew I had found him!

I slowly lifted things, piece by piece, garment by garment, carefully so as not to alarm him. Jiminy became silent. I imagined him flexing, preparing his strong legs for a monstrous leap to freedom! Getting near the bottom, I lifted a pair of neatly folded trousers. There he sat, in plain sight, not going anywhere! Poor lonely bugger! So we eyed each other for a second. Quick as a wink, I had him between my finger and thumb! I pressed a little harder! There was a muffled crunch! That was the end of chirp, chirp, bloody chirp!



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