“Oh my God!” buzzed Harold. “Cindy is dead!”

“No! Oh, no!” Her sister Katie rushed over to where Cindy lay on the sidewalk. “It’s not fair! She was only seventeen years old…she’d just come out of her shell…she’d only had sex once…and now she’s gone!”

The others raised their voices in a mournful wail.

“Then again, we’re all going to die by tomorrow,” Katie said. “If we’re not eaten by birds first.”

Buzzing in agreement, the assembled cicadas–none of whom had functioning mouthparts as an adult–dispersed to try and do their business in the 8-12 hours of life remaining to them.

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