“I don’t like those new neighbors.”

“Oh of course you don’t. You don’t like anything new. But still, we need to be nice to them. We need to go over there and tell them ‘welcome to the Big Apple!'”

“There won’t be a Big Apple left after they’re done with it, yo mark my words.”

“Oh, stop. You’re always exaggerating.”

“Exaggerating? Have you seeen how they live? Have you seen their kids running around all over the place? I swear I saw one of them bite the head off a little critter the other day.”

“So what if they did? Kids will be kids.”

“I’m telling you: life inside the Big Apple just isn’t the same when a family of ladybugs like that moves in. Worms like us won’t be able to catch a break, and before you know it, birds’ll get us all.”

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“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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Applause Cricket
Sloeclaeppa applausus

Unlike most true crickets, insects of the genus Sloeclaeppa have evolved to draw sustenance from human emotion. They tend to congregate in performance venues, concert halls, and anywhere else someone may be expected to perform, and whenever a suitable silence presents itself, they will chirp loudly and feed on the resulting embarrassment, shame, and other negative emotions. Some researchers believe that they can only hydrate themselves through flop-sweat, but this remains unclear.

“Applause crickets have been known to chirp in the interval between a performance and the resulting applause, as they are able to get by on the small amount of emotion generated there, but they tend to prefer unforgiving venues and comedy clubs which offer much greater engorgement. The Apollo Theater in New York has been trying to rid itself of an infestation for years.” – Dr. Phineas Phable

Quilting Bee
Planetoftha apis

Quilting Bees are unlike the closely related honeybees in that they don’t construct hives or produce beeswax, but rather use their stingers to sew a flexible clothlike structure used to contain honey and brood young. The cloth is renowned for its warmth and durability, and rural peasants have long been known to smoke quilting bees out of their blankets before winter in order to make use of the fabric and the honey it contains during the lean times.

“The bees’ quilts were very susceptible to clothing moths, which meant that even the most carefully maintained one never lasted but a season or two.” – Dr. Phineas Phable

Infinipede
Multitudius incomprehensibili

Infinipedes are seemingly normal millipedes, and have the same habitat, diet, and behavior as other myriapods. However, they literally have an uncountable number of legs, despite the fact that they clearly must have a discrete number based on observations. The Deep Brown supercomputer at the University of the Rift was designed specifically to automate the task of counting an infinipede’s legs, but it ran out of processing power after only 12 minutes of sustained counting.

“The first myriapodologist who attempted to count an infinipede’s legs was driven to madness, and had to be subdued after he tried to attack a mathematician while shrieking that number theory had failed the infinipede, not the other way around.” – Dr. Phineas Phable

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This post is part of the June 2013 Blog Chain at Absolute Write. This month’s prompt is “Bugs.”

The S’lvn-L’vs descended upon us, a terrible insectoid scourge from the stars, and all mankind’s technologies and spacefleets were in vain against their inexorable approach. With the last of our great starships lost in the battle off Pluto’s orbit, it was inevitable that the S’lvn-L’vs would attempt a landing on Earth. For it was Earth they coveted, a green and verdant planet to sweep over like the locusts they so resembled. Their technology, so far in advance of our own, and their swarm intelligence made this inevitable.

So it was with little surprise but much horror that the ships of the infernal space bugs appeared in our skies. One of the S’lvn-L’vs dreadnaughts, city-sized, touched down on the broad plains south of Topeka while another moved toward the Mongolian steppe. Military resistance was an impossibility, as precision strikes by the S’lvn-L’vs had devastated Earth’s global defense network. Instead, they were met at the landing site by a delegation of Earth politicians, religious leaders, and common folk selected by lottery to plead on behalf of humanity.

When the great doors opened and the S’lvn-L’vs emerged, none knew what to expect, for their communication with humans up to that point had been exclusively aggressive or disinterested. Nevertheless, it seemed that the S’lvn-L’vs to emerge might engage with the delegation. The great insectoid at the head of the emerging group approached the humans, its compound eyes and mandibles expressionless and unreadable.

Before the humans could say a word, they listened as the seven-foot-tall bug gasped, choked, and exploded under its own weight, coating everyone present with viscous green goo.

For so it had come about, as indeed I and many men might have foreseen had not terror and disaster blinded our minds: the twin terrors of lower oxygen content in the atmosphere and high gravity had taken their toll on Earthly life since the beginning of things–taken their toll on our evolutionary precursors since life began here. But by virtue of this natural selection humans have developed resisting power: to gravity–that which causes exoskeletoned beings above a certain size to explode under their own weight–our living frames are altogether immune. We do not succumb to lack of oxygen as spiracle-breathing bugs do, with our 20% oxygen mix being sufficient where 35% or 40% is necessary for creatures the size of the S’lvn-L’vs.

Already when the delegates watched them they were irrevocably doomed; our gravitational and atmospheric allies had begun to work their overthrow. It was inevitable. By the toll of a billion Barcaloungers and breathless runs man has bought his birthright to his size and oxygenation capacity, and it is his against all comers; it would still be his were the S’lvn-L’vs ten times as buggy as they are. For neither do men lounge nor breathe in vain.

With apologies to H. G. Wells.

Check out this month’s other bloggers, all of whom have posted or will post their own responses:
Diem_Allen
Ralph Pines
articshark
Lady Cat
U2Girl
MsLaylaCakes
SuzanneSeese
robynmackenzie
milkweed

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A firefly met a spider at dusk once, and they exchanged a few words in the secret language of arthropods, a patois of gestures and pheromones that no larger creature could ever hope to understand.

“I have often wondered why it is you glow,” said the spider. She was busy spinning a fresh web for the wave of prey that would arrive with the dusk. “Surely it only attracts those who would eat you.”

“We find our mates that way,” replied the firefly, alighted on a nearby branch, with caution. “They shine in the dark and so do we.”

“But I find my mate without such blinking,” replied the spider. “He comes for my scent and my web, and does not speak or display anything but the utmost obedience as he dances, lest he be my next meal. None need know what passes between us.”

“Ah, but surely one of the big ones has seen the dew on your web in the morning sun,” the firefly said. “As great a light as mine, or greater, and worse because you cannot move it.”

“But I can move myself,” the spider sniffed. “And the big ones do not often seek me for their repast, as they know my fangs drip with venom. You have no such fangs.”

“My children do.” The firefly flitted its wings casually. “They eat the slimy garden-creepers below before turning to the sweet flower-juice in their old age.”

“But we are not speaking of your little worm-brood, but of you. What is to keep me from eating you now? I can leap farther than you can fly, and faster, and my sight is far beyond your little shining orbs.” Thus saying, she jumped.

The firefly had predicted this; what had seemed a mere idle twitch had really been the warm-up to his takeoff. “There is one thing you should know,” he said as he flew away. “Our lights are also a warning to your kind. A firefly is toxic to any who would eat it, as surely as your venom is. Remember that, and your manners, the next time you meet one.”