This isn’t the first time the cricket’s call wakes you in the early morning.
In your sleep, you try to figure out where the cricket hides.
You remember seeing crickets everywhere, though, in every corner of your apartment.
It’s impossible to say where this cock of a cricket bunkers.
It could be in between your shower curtains. Crickets love infesting soggy places like shower curtains.
Or it could be clinging to the outside of your window screen, raising ruckus.
There’s that shrill chirp again. You can’t sleep. You don’t even know why you’re trying to trick yourself into thinking you’re in a restful state of mind.
You get out of bed and try to hone in on the cricket’s call. What a belligerent little cricket.
It’s not in between the shower curtains. It’s not anywhere in the bathroom. Come out, come out, wherever you are.
The cricket remains undiscovered, but it’s shrill call reminds you of the fire alarm in elementary school. Loud, abrasive, unchanging, deafening.
Then, for no reason whatsoever, the cricket shuts up, closes its box.
You climb back into bed and try to catch up on some shuteye.
Zzzzzzzz… yeah, not really.
The call begins tentatively. You brace yourself for the climax and waste not a second in trying to put an end to the noise. This time,
when you get out of bed,
the sound stops.
It must be nearby then!
You look at the blinds and are certain the piercing whistle blast hails from there.
It blares again. You know this is the moment of truth.
You rattle the blinds and the screaming goes silent.
“A-ha! I got you now, you cock of a cricket.”
You raise the blinds and sunlight spills everywhere inside your eyes. It hurts. Your pupils try to adjust. But it doesn’t help.
No cricket anywhere.
You climb back into bed and know your cause is hopeless. You say something to the popcorn ceiling,
words that sound even more hopeless than your cause, and you stuff your face into memory foam.
Again the cricket plays its introductory notes.
Your body sweats with discomfort. Why all these crickets everywhere? Austin is plagued with crickets. I’m living through a
veritable cricket plague.
You didn’t have a problem with them when they first appeared in your apartment.
“Better than roaches.”
But now they fly into your face like suicide bombers. They scream outside your balcony door. They scream in the bathroom. They scream in the blinds. You don’t even set your alarm anymore. What’s the point?
And this cock of a cricket jumps headlong into the loudest sustained chirrrrrrrrrp you’ve ever heard. You tug on your eyeballs. When they won’t tug anymore, you tug on your earlobes. When these won’t tug anymore, you tug on your nose hairs, you tug on your teeth, you tug on your nails, you tug
This is insupportable.
Cricket. Cricket. Cricket. Croak. Croak. Croak.
Honyed Cat, your tiny savior, leaps onto the windowsill and viciously slaps the cricket out of its bunker. You see this dark brown/black thing crawl across the carpet. This vermin. You want to lodge an apple in its back, to remind it of perdition.
Is this wrong of you? Are you so punishing, so vindictive?
But you try to be Buddhist at heart. You are Buddhist. Is there a gentler person alive than you? Is there a more loving person alive than you? Is there a more organic person alive than you?
You’d never wish harm onto another living thing, even this shrillifying cricket that has made you tug your fingers loose from their sockets.
You love this cricket. Let it sing its hymn all the morning long,
while Honeyed Cat mutilates it
at a time.