By Steven A. Yockim

Summer in July, 93 degrees, still air, hot sun, and bugs. Tony loved being outside, away from school and free to explore the world. His 10-year young brain flashing with the newness of the environment as he walked and then skipped along the creek side. Tossing rocks into the dark pools of water, destroying anthills with quick kicks and turning over rocks to discover new bugs kept him busy all day. Suddenly, Tony stopped and gazed at a thing never seen before. Long and green with multiple legs, the caterpillar captured Tony's attention as he froze in place watching the creature inch along the bare ground. The shimmering green beauty of the insect and its choreographed movement amazed Tony and he stared at it for some time. The hot ground proved to be inhospitable for the caterpillar and it was moving as fast as possible towards the moist green foliage along the creek. Tony, stirring from the trance, soon apprised that the caterpillar would be off into the weeds and lost. Swiftly grabbing a stick, he positioned it in front of the creature's path, so as to slow and prevent its escape. To his surprise, the caterpillar continued moving forward, crawling over the obstacle with ease. Tony did this several times, relishing in the movement of the caterpillar. Eventually, he began to lift the stick and move the bug back, hindering its progress. Not realizing the toll this continued effort was taking on the caterpillar, Tony's young mind enjoyed the bugs predicament. As he repeated the obstruction, the hot ground continued to take its toll and the caterpillar slowed down and quit moving forward. Tony tired of watching the creature do nothing and quit pestering the bug. Slowly it began to move, once again searching for the cool foliage. Tony watched for a few moments, then suddenly, without reason or compassion, lifted his foot and brought it down heavily on the caterpillar. Tony looked at the smashed remains, noticing the yellow greenish-brown guts, and abruptly moved along his way, tossing rocks, annihilating anthills and looking under rocks for new adventures, as a 10-year young boy is apt to do.

Angie strolled among the flowers in her mother's garden, loving the aromatic pleasure of the morning. As she moved along the path, she suddenly became entangled in a spider web. A quick scream, and momentary panic, caused her to turn and run back toward the safety of the house. How she hated cobwebs, and spiders. Angie could think of now good reason for their existence. Only to torment innocent 10-year young girls. Recovering her composure, and armed with a fly swatter, she once again went back into the garden. Slowing moving among the flowers, once more encountering the web, Angie swung with a mighty passion, again and again flailing at the scary strands. Why, she thought, were these things so difficult to be rid of, sticking to everything they touched? Spider webs were evil and served no purpose. Suddenly, a spider, attached to its web and swung out into the path by Angie's movements, landed in front of her. Not just any spider, but a terrifying large, black and menacing creature, and aggressively moving towards her. Angie quickly lifted her foot, and without reason or compassion, brought it down heavily on the creature. As she gazed at the remains, Angie's young mind snapped, and she ran throughout the garden swatting and stepping on every spider she encountered. After some time, exhausted from the ordeal, and believing the garden cleansed of the menacing spiders, she returned to normal and resumed strolling among the flowers, enjoying their fragrance and beauty, as a 10-year young girl is apt to do.

Snyder Labs, LLC specialized in cutting edge research and development on Pest Control. Anthony Bowlds, 26-years old, newly minted PhD in entomology, worked as a Research Specialist in the Insecticide testing lab. His primary function involved exposing healthy insects to various toxins and recording the rapidity and effectiveness of the insecticide. Angelina Lane, 26-years old, newly minted PhD in Arachnology, worked as a Research Specialist in the Pesticide testing lab. She developed unique and innovative methods to kill arachnids. Although working in separate labs, Anthony and Angelina became close colleagues as much of their work overlapped. Over time, their relationship blossomed into love, and they soon became captivated with one another. On a hot July morning, Anthony and Angelina made arrangements to meet at the University Starbucks before work. Speeding down the freeway from the north, Angelina approached her turn, just south of the University. Anthony, driving from his apartment south of the university, approached his turn just north of the University. Both were enamored and excited about the possibilities of their new relationship. Suddenly, without reason or compassion, a pedestrian bridge collapsed. Without warning, Anthony and Angelina were crushed beneath the weight of the bridge.

© 2018 Steven A. Yockim