Infancy Gospel of Rodney the RoachMature

Mother caressed us. Gave us the grooves in her leg hair, the canopy of her wings. Her body was our world. There were 86 of us. Each the same but different. I was one of the first to talk. I said Mumma, it is damp and cold. Learn to like it, she said. I said Mumma, you smell like feces. You learn to like it, she said. I said Mumma, my antennae are soft and straight. She said Rodney you speak too often, you are not alone. I didn’t know it then but those were the comfiest times and even though I was one among many I liked my chances and my Mother’s body was warm and she had named me.

A day later Becky died. She looked like me but with a purple badge on her throat. When the sun came up the badge became a lump. The lump grew and grew into a bulb. The bulb crowned her neck so that she was always looking toward the sky. Eating was a fight. Mumma didn’t make enough, but I was strong. I could push my way in. To eat was to kiss Mumma on the mouth. Then fall to the floor. Then climb the nearest leg, fight your way up before everything was gone. Becky couldn’t anymore. Mumma tried. She’d rotate her head, shake the others away, strain to Becky, try to make it work. But their faces could never meet, Becky’s and Mumma’s. The bulb got in the way.

When Mother ate Becky we all asked why. She didn’t say, just flapped her wings and sent us into the air like a cloud. The floor was cold and my brothers and sisters rained down on me crying. I hugged my Mothers leg and looked into her eyes to find a glance I can’t stop remembering. It seemed to say "I don’t want to but I must, for my sake and yours." Then we all had to run. She wasn’t our Provider anymore. She was the first of many.

The End

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