Two cockroaches, Glutof a male and his lovely wife Kiti, are engaged in a conversation in their own language, in the sewage, while nibbling rotten remains of food.
“Why such enthusiasm?” – asks the husband, suspiciously. He is skeptic, solemn, cult, hard shelled, repulsive, with the eyes of a focused owl. A nourished glutton, he looks like a date, dark and obese with slim but brawny and hairy legs – or whatever is the right name for its bristles. Fortunately, Glutof does not gain any weight on his small thighs, allowing him to go off at an incredible speed in moments of danger; particularly when hunted by the darned triad of men, rats and cats. The last of them, carousers which only kill for sport since they don’t chew their victims. It’s too disgusting for them.
Glutof is proud of the brunette almost black shine of his wings, which he can vibrate with tremendous success, provoking a raving in the opposite sex. Although fat, he is a womanizer, or “cockroachizer”, a word he intends to include in the first dictionary of the language of cockroaches, being edited with him as the coordinator. He likes very much to philosophize and takes pleasure with the nonsense of his buddies of species, all of them very dumb when compared to him. A genetic mutation has occurred leading to greater longevity and a bigger size of the brain. But not all the cockroaches have been equally endowed with the increase of intelligence. By the way, a human problem as well, though way older.
“You, critical and cocky, as usual!” Kiti protests. “What a terrible whim you have of diminishing me, of spoiling all my fun! It isn’t enthusiasm, goddamn! I was simply dumbstruck, or rather, horrified – is that good for you? – with the loathsome cleanness of the new restaurant around the corner, that enormous one. I only got in there once, under the door, in the inauguration eve and peeped. Last night after the inauguration I tried to go back to pinch a few things, sneaking through the corners, but I was really scared. Too busy! The only crack that could help me get in has already been closed. The prejudice against us, by the selfish mean-spirited ones, is just perfect. Entrance, only through the front door, but with the risk of being squashed by the sole of doorman.”
“I still think you look rather euphoric, almost happy, unconsciously approving the detestable cleanliness”, insisted the husband, an academic very respected for his zeal in the protection of the values of sludge. He interrupted the little sucks in a moldy bread to sip, snapping his lips, a little cup of mucus, dripped from a nursing home of pauper elders.”
“It’s just that I, although not approving, of course, any kind of neatness – what do you think I am, huh? – I like to see things well done. You know how perfectionist I am…”
“Well, relatively”, interrupted the husband. “At home, you relax. There are still many clean things here and there… the tidiness is becoming unbearable. You are not such a good housewife; pardon me for my candor…”
“But you do not cooperate, either!” she raised her thin and squeaky voice, wrathful, flapping her antennas. “You just stand there, in that old lawyer’s office, nibbling old greasy books, bought from second hand bookstores. You, my dear, I’m sorry to inform, are addicted to salt and old human grease.”
“It’s you who can’t see beyond your nose. It is not just gluttony, my dear. I study. My idleness is only deceiving. Well, indeed, it’s true that I enjoy eating. I read as much as I eat. Above all, I relish slowly tasting not only the grease from the fingers of Adam’s decadent offspring, but also the abstract part, the printed ideas themselves. Therefore I do not walk around speaking rubbish, as do many of our husky and slender legged companions. One day we will inherit the Earth…Remember the prophecy? I have read that in case a nuclear conflict takes place, only we will remain alive. We will be well guarded here, underground, while the biped scoundrels toast at the surface, deservedly. Can you imagine our drunken carousals afterwards? It will be all ours… From litter right up to all computers…”
“Well, that is if we have time to hide down here. If you are in the library when the “Big Boom” comes – where you will probably be you, you greasy book addict – then you won’t inherit anything at all! You will be just one more roasted date. Besides, what nuclear war do you refer? The only two giants that could do us this favor have already made up! It is all demoralized now! The Russian chief, that blond cardiac bear (she meant Boris Yeltsin) with Mongolian eyes – his mother must have had a Japanese neighbor way more attractive than her own husband – has turned into a capitalist! Instead of using his plump fingers to push the missiles’ launching button, he has fun just pinching his secretary! It is discouraging…”
“Don’t lose hope, Kiti” – She is gracious, with long eyelashes, a brain full of mad and right intuitions, all mixed up. A hogtie, she is basically just pheromones and reproducer organs. She is famous for being frivolous, but up to now no one has ever had the courage to bear witness against her, because she is influential and revengeful. She is the owl face academic’s fifth wife. And he goes on patronizing:
“Parodying what an American businessman has already said, no one up to this day has ever lost money when betting on the stupidity of ruffian state leaders. Or rather, in the stupidity of the human species, with no exception, who claims to be so rational. We who know them rather well, and who eat everything they throw away, we know what they really are deep inside, what is behind them. Especially what is on their “behinds” …”
He made a pause to nibble a piece of putrid banana and continued, erudite, pleased to hear the voice he knew so well how to modulate with such authority:
“Fortunately, the so called emerging powers are there, concerned with mastering atoms and, with that, scaring their neighbors. Therefore, do not dispirit yourself. One day, they will be making atomic bombs in their backyard. Our day will come, Kiti. I have always believed that our ideals of justice and supremacy will end up prevailing. The power of the empires goes up and down, just like a seesaw. It is written in the history books that I lick – I mean – read. Power switches sides. I feel it in the air, especially in the polluted air – this pleasant and stimulated air stemming from the trash – the signs that our turn is coming! The current system of domination is extremely unfair! Any human being, either smart or dumb, no sooner spots us eating a miserly crumb on the kitchen floor – even when we are at the verge of starvation – instantly opens the eyes wide like a mad killer and chases us ready to smash. Why such prejudice? In the end, we are cleaning their kitchens without even charging for it! They would save up a lot with house maids! We could all get along, in harmony! At night, the humans would lay down their dirty clothes on the floor, go to sleep naked, and we would break in, eating all the digestible dirtiness left on cups, bodies, plates and silverware. The clothes would be instantly dry cleaner. We would rinse everyone in the house, sparing them from the morning shower. A grand economy! They would wake up totally laundered! However, all the beasts do is crush us!”
“What if we set up an underwear buffet? We could make some money out of it…”, Kiti proposes, her eyes gleaming, always mindful to get some profit out of any idea. She considers herself a great entrepreneur.
“Well, you would be the one to take care of it. I do not like involving myself with money affairs…I feel as if I would lose my dignity.”
“It is all fine with these theories of yours. You know I don’t make a fuss about these readings. I personally only enjoy speed readings; but right now I’m interested to know what we would eat, in case of a nuclear war. Wouldn’t the supplies be contaminated by the radiation?”
“Oh, well…” – he sounded surprised. He had never thought of that. He labeled his wife’s lightings of good sense as “sparks from the beast’s horseshoe”, as once said a famous Brazilian critic. But he did not admit he was wrong. “Indeed, of course hum, in fact I had already thought about that… For some time, which our technicians would determine, we would not eat what is on the surface. We have, in the sewer, a gigantic and delicious natural supermarket stock, all of it ready and seasoned for our consumption. Therefore, we would only have to wait a while in the gutters, until the radioactivity decreased.” He made a pause again to lick, snapping his lips, a type of chocolate mousse extracted from a white piece of paper – square and of soft texture - and concluded:
“That would be true Glory!, as if we were at Cambodia right now…”
“Because there has been a juicy civil war in Cambodia, which lasted 25 years. During this period, between 6 and 10 millions of landmines were planted. The result is that now, every month, between two and three hundred people “go up in air” in Cambodia. And not on airliners. It is the country that – though tiny – has the highest level of amputations in the world. Let’s say, it is an earthly paradise, ‘isn’t it? If there was tourism between our species… wow, can you imagine that? Yummy….just the thought of it makes my mouth water! What about the flamethrower? We would be able to even choose between raw meat, well done, stagnant, rare, medium…”
“There you go with your polyglot exhibitionisms…”
“And the specialists say it will be necessary about three hundred years to find and deactivate all landmines.”
“Why did they grow so many bombs? Wasn’t it possible a more traditional type of agriculture?”
“Kiti…You need to read more carefully. No one plants bombs, my darling, they stuck explosives in the ground! Each group, when withdrawing, would spread the mines to fuc… – I mean, to mess (he did not approve of dirty language on the mouth of great leaders) - with its rival. And since there were many comings and goings in the ongoing skirmishes, losing and regaining territories, the result is that Cambodia has been turned into a vast slaughterhouse, supplying legs, heads and arms in separate pieces. For us, a real paradise, since we are really tiny and we can walk around without setting off landmines. Our Cambodian cousins, those lucky bastards, have blood and fresh meat at hand, at all times. It is even damaging their liver now, they say, due to the excess of iron in their food. It’s just like getting plastered, it gives you that terrible hangout the next day. The “tremendous intelligent” humans, ha! ha!” – he laughed, raising his eyebrows, frilling his wings in disdain – “never thought that, one day, the shootout would end? They forgot that old definition that they are “human bipeds”? Since they can’t fly, they tread…and then they fly.”
“I’ve heard that a terrible little English princess – I think Lady Di was her name – had been advocating the prohibition of landmines. Do you think this misfortune will come upon us as well?”
“Unfortunately she is dead now.”
“Unfortunately?”, Kiti spread her wings, surprised. “What is wrong with you? It is a good thing she died which made this disgusting campaign stop.”
“You have no vision whatsoever, Kiti…I say unfortunately since with her death the press began to worship; thus strengthening her ideals. I’d rather have her alive, only pestering…She would be – alive – less threatening to our cause. They persecuted the infamous for years and years, surveying her, taking pictures of her from a distance, criticizing and gossiping all the time. They even wanted, because of her, the downfall of the monarchy. Now, all it took was for the evil reformer to die is for and there you go! She became a goddess! And it is there that the danger lies! Henceforth, in a consciousness crisis – such a sickening thing among humans – and specially to sell more magazines, the media would want to put into practice her policies. This is how it works with human beings. Only after the person is dead – no longer a cause of envy in others – she is cherished. All I hope is that the little English princess, uglier than hygiene – and I’ve heard humans saying seriously, the contrary – does not have posthumous success in her absurd campaign for the abolishment of landmines. But, even if there isn’t a nuclear war, they will die anyway though slower, cooked in dribs and drabs of the greenhouse effect or poisoned by carbonic gas. They are too dumb and ambitious to stop in time.”
“Do you think one day we will be like that too, I mean with these character flaws the humans have?”
“Probably…” Glutof sighed. “I’m sorry to inform…But this is the price of civilization.” – He felt proud of his coldness of a statesman. “Unless we create new Ethics, on which I have been working for years, with the deepness peculiar to my profile. To start with, we need to invent a reinforcement of duress, a cockroach-god, our image and similarity: husky, with large antennas, powerful and revengeful. You know, not everybody will obey directors, presidents or chiefs. But a cockroach-god, with the true power of life and death will be feared and followed by the planetary cockroaches... I will talk in private with “it” – my own self, of course – once a week on the rooftop of a tall building” – he smiled, ironically closing his owl eyes – “and then I will transmit to our people the message that only I was allowed to listen. What do you think?”
“And you really think that our people will believe this, in this divine private conference? Our people are more suspicious than the humans, because they have suffered way more than them…”
“They will believe, because it’s good for the soul to believe. One always believes in what one wants believes.”
“But do you believe it yourself?”
“Of course not. However, no one will ever be able to prove my lack of belief. Unless you open your pretty little mouth, of course; but in that case you know what awaits you. I only sell a truly necessary product - hope. I’d even say essential, as long as there is fear in the heart of the cockroaches. It’s only business. And speaking of fear, the human race is sinking exactly by lack of fear. Their “must” right now is a deep understanding of the motivations of human actions. The dorks want to “understand”, mind you… The result: they have learned for example, that it is of no use filling up prisons, since prisons do not bring back anyone. Of course, they don’t! But does impunity change for the better, by any chance? They walk around, like dizzy cockroaches – oops! I meant dizzy humans – not knowing what to do. And astutely find a way of combining the old desire to withdraw from circulation the detestable thief and in the same time praise themselves by saying they are making a tremendous good deed, by “reeducating him”. Me, when I’m in charge of this crap, I know how to solve such a problem: death penalty with immediate effect to all the cockroaches who commit a serious crime. This will be a great example to all. We won’t spend money and time with lawsuits, paper, prisons and specially food. To small infractions we would torture the guy, by keeping him in a morbidly clean place for a few days. For him it will be like death! He will never want to mess up again. In case he does, back to neatness.”
“Wow! How much finesse! When you want, you can be real mean… Maybe it would be better to just kill them all at once…But how would we kill the most perverted criminals anyway as we don’t have any weapons, teeth or even hands?”
“We would train the rats. They are clever, but dumb. There is a great difference between shrewdness and intelligence. All they think about is gnawing and fornicating. Unless they also undergo a mutation like ours. Then we will be in a fix as they have a bigger brain…and teeth…By the way, I have already given instructions to our staff to inform me about any radioactive material found in the sewer. We will immediately isolate the area as anything could happen with radiation. But if the rats become like us, well, goodbye to our future millennium of glories! They will replace men and reign over the Earth.”
“But back to the new restaurant around the corner, you should see the neatness of the kitchen! All sparkling! Not even a little speck to… “Stop! Stop!” – he interrupted her, shouting, stomping on the floor, shaking, brute, crumpling and throwing away the toilet paper chocolate-stained. “I can’t take this dirty talk of yours no more, especially now, right at meal time! Do you want to make me throw up?”
“Geez…Did you need to yell like this? You’re disgusted by the cleanliness? Hummm, what a delicate sensibility…You sound just like a little girl…”
“Hey, watch your tongue” – his antennae vibrated with indignation. He had never beaten his wife, but he was about to.
“You’re getting the poets’ nervous fits, from reading too many human books, another ivory tower sensitive. Watch out, huh…I know one who has become a fag…”
“What books would you like me to read, you stupid ass? Have cockroaches got editors and publishing houses? Now we are smart, of course – so much that the humans don’t even suspect, because we know how to disguise it. But we have to for the time being, draw the available culture, until we can elaborate our own, which will be of course, way superior than the human one.”
“I only said that to upset you…Because you were rude to me.” With her two specially gracious big antennae she stroke Glutof’s antennae, smoothing it, at the same time emitting pheromones which turned him on. But he soon controlled his impulse because he found it dangerous to have sex right after large meals.
“Sweetie…”, she asked, with tenderness, “why do you read so much? Don’t you think you exaggerate? It can damage your sight… And we still haven’t got opticians among us. Speaking of it, I think you would look super cool wearing turtle glasses. A more intellectual look would just be impossible. Aw, you’re my molded bread, my putrid apple pie. There are many husky crooks around who envy me; you think I don’t notice?”
“I read since I want to be prepared to organize our species toward the new millennium if a global cataclysm happens. We, cockroaches, will not repeat the same mistakes made by humans.”
“What mistakes, my darling? Excuse me, but with or without mistakes, they are on top…They are millenniums ahead of us. Our genetic mutation - thanks to the praised radioactive dirt that they throw around – is too recent. The humans still squash us anyway. Or they poison us with those mortal squirts. I almost died the other day, didn’t I tell you? You are close to almost being talking to a ghost right now. I think I even have sequels. I haven’t been the same you know; I have a weird sensation in my womb…The housewife, despicable and promiscuous – probably recently coming back from a party - she had huge shadows around the eyes – had just turned on the light and then she saw me there, dizzy because of the brightness; she run and got a can of insecticide. The cruel woman didn’t want to dirty her expensive shoe sole. At this moment I ran around huffing and puffing , until I remembered it would be better to escape under the door opening to the backyard. Meanwhile, the assassin beast, panting and whirling, afraid I would climb on her, tapped a warrior dance, trying to spray the insecticide towards me. Fortunately, it barely hit me, nevertheless just with the haze I felt a terrible colic immediately. I think I had an abortion…It came out all mixed up. They don’t make mistakes, my dearest one. The world is theirs, no matter what we do…I still regret not climbing up her legs, up to their end. I would give a little bite with care right there. I assure you that the vagabond would pass out from dread.”
“When I talk about mistake, Kiti, I’m referring to the human behavior towards their own species. They will eliminate their own race, be it through bombing, pollution, or urban criminality. We do not need to interfere. All we need to do is to wait. In Algeria, some fanatic guys a couple of years ago – who won an election but not assume power - are beheading hundreds of people in remote villages. These victims - including children - have nothing to do with the political illegality. They also raped young women because no one is made of iron. And they kill with axes. Our Algerian cousins are the ones who regale with these devil humans.”
“Regarding us”, Glutof continued, because he felt specially inspired, “and also the rats, for example – these resistant scoundrels, clever however short sighted, also attack us when starving - they, the humans, are really efficient…Well, partly efficient, because I have heard that in the Pentagon there was once a plague of thousands of American cockroaches, right under their noses, skilled computer techies. Yes, humans know how to kill but fortunately for us, they hate each other. They love each other during small intervals in life; but once vexed, they turn love into hate. One disagrees and is instantly screwed. A father hates the son and vice-versa. Amazing, isn’t it?”
“Excuse me, but I don’t find quite the same…”, Kiti felt a subtle pleasure every time she found a flaw in Glutof’s arguments, “Some human beings are not aggressive, even with us. Last week, I and about fifty friends were on the sewage pipe´s roof, talking, gossiping, when a worker from the public system, walked down through a little ladder. Spotting us just a few centimeters from his head, he shouted over to his colleagues, who were right above, at the street level: “All clear, guys! No danger!” And then he started working on the piping without causing us any damage whatsoever. A saint, an exception. I was shaken… I almost flew to his lips to give him a kiss… Really, human beings can be astonishing… They are not always evil.”
Glutof smiled, stuck up, amused by his partner’s ingenuity. “So, the pretty girl thought that the man spared you because he liked you? None of that, my darling. He let you live since the fact that there are cockroaches down in the wastepipe means there are no toxic gases around. It is only when there are none that there lies the danger. If there are cockroaches, they can work with no fear. They only spare us when we’re useful, get it?”
“Dear God! They´re always covering themselves” bewildered, Kiti scratched her right armpit, as she always did, when she felt ridiculed. “How you know it all, sweetie… Why don’t you, with all this knowledge, organize a mass attack against humans? They are fearful. They eat a lot and have such easy lives. I have seen a big man jump like a monkey, panicky, just because there were two cockroaches on his shirt, which he put on in the dark. Or just because an innocent little colleague of ours flied and casually entered into an old man’s mouth. He was practicing respiratory exercises, making a movement of deep inspiration. It was indeed the death kiss. The poor little one was spilled as if she was a disgusting thing and…crumbled! The scariest of all is that the old man then went off to pray!”
“I know that humans are scared, but they have the technology of death. In war, we would be defeated. We would only win a few initial skirmishes, by giving them a few spooks. Flying, for example in their eyes, or into their mouths, or hiding ourselves in the underwear of a few big shots, vibrating our wings near their testicles. But that would be all…Scares, little things. At most a few heart attacks, because these big shots full of power, pizza, lasagna and filet mignon won’t go too far anyway, they have tubes – what is the name of it, again? Oh yes, arteries! – full of fat, just as much. Nature has been a stepmother. We do not even have stingers. If a mutation towards this was possible….But they occur with no control whatsoever. Now we have intelligence, but you have noticed not all of us. We are really far from being able to manipulate genetic engineering. Without hands, little beings that we are, what could we do meanwhile? Just think and organize ourselves. And wait for them to kill each other, which is almost certain to happen. For those who love action, we have IRA, ETA, and the Middle East. They will never, I hope so, reach an agreement to live together because the greed for lands and power does not allow it. Peace does not interest them, actually. All those warlords, terrorists and anti-terrorists, will never be happy to return to their quiet life, dull, tedious, earning little in factories, offices or departments. Would they trade off an exciting life, full of ideological charm, easy money and money for jobs such as postman, cooker, sales person, market vendors, etc? No way! That would be demoralization!”
“But, my darling, some even explode with their bombs…They sound idealistic.”
“Right, right…but only the jerks…The intellectuals, the big bosses, they never do that. Terror warrior explode; big bosses don´t. Never! After all, “the cause” needs its powerful brains. Right? On the other hand, what did the opposite flank, which has been spread throughout the world, imagine? That they would retake their old land, hundreds of years later, evict the locals in turbans, colonizing without any reaction… I don’t know, they are the humans let them understand each other. Maybe they will never do actually! That is what we wish.
Besides we must never forget the sacrosanct AIDS, the nectar of the Gods! It is a plague that, I hope will make a large mop-up because we are immune against it. And the drugs, then, our revengeful allied, that once tried is impossible to get rid of! Being weak as they are - and they know they are - the human clowns still try them, only to check and in the end see that it was just like it is they said. Maybe they do it to roguishly be in the position of victims, poor ones, addicts; actually a good idea, because then everyone cockers them. Addicts don’t need to work, neither study, nor do anything at all. He only needs to remain landmine addict. A stroke of genius! Speaking of it, I have had an involuntary binge because, when the police arrive, the first thing which a drug dealer remembers is to flush all the white powder down the toilet. Without any concern with our health, as we live down in the sewer. I saw that light powder floating and I instantly thought it was sugar. I sucked all of it. When I realized it I was jumping all over the walls and challenging big rats to wrestling.”
“Let us not forget” – Glutof continued – “the wonderful hospital infection, one of the few segments in which we can personally contribute for the success of our cause. We are organizing courses of orientation on how to suck the infected gauze and then nibble the patients´ food. Especially the children’s, since it is much better to kill the enemy at its root. While the cleaners keep on pretending they mop the hospital floors and their chiefs pretend they supervise it – in fact they are afraid of the cleaners, or afraid of sounding “authoritarian” – things will go wonderfully. But, back to what I was saying before, we, cockroaches need, above all, to disguise our recent intelligence. Have I told you about what happened to Horace?”
“I don’t think so…You talk so much, darling, that I get giddy sometimes…”
“Well, that´s quite like you anyway, …Horace is a cockroach as well, he was a friend of mine. He was one of the first mutants. But, instead of disguising and pretending to be stupid, he gave in and showed himself off. And it ended up really bad, of course. One night, he embarked on a journey through a long wastepipe he didn’t know – ah! The illusory appeal of the unknown – a real long, long one and he ended up in the drain of a solitary cell. When the prisoner saw him, he had an idea: “I’m going to train this cockroach. Otherwise, I will go insane. I still have three years in.”
Glutof continued: “This prisoner had murdered his wife, imagining that she had betrayed him – and he was right – but then he thought that he had made a mistake – which he hadn’t – but then it was too late anyway. The sorrow he felt in jail was doubled, for he was regretful. So, he patiently – he had once been a dog trainer – taught Horace to write famous quotes from great mentally retarded people, I mean human thinkers. Horace would dampen his little leg on the ink-pot and then he would write a deep thought. Sometimes he would mix the source, but who would check it? The fact that a cockroach could write was a phenomenon by itself.”
“How could this Horace lower himself so much? Human philosophers! It makes me noxious!”
“Interest, naturally. Horace soon learned to write the nonsensical phrases, but he would conceal his speed in learning because each time he would write a certain philosophical thought he would get a candy. Being gluttonous as he was, he stretched this process as long as he could, pretending to be assimilating it all very slowly. He could not show his geniality being a cockroach. If he would write it all down at once, he would only eat one single time. And so six months passed. Then, since there was yet a long time for the “reeducated” to be released – another human stupidity, for in prisons no one changes for the better, only for worse – he taught Horace to dance upright, on his back feet, imitating Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain…”
“Wow, that is certainly extraordinary…”
“And that is not all! He also taught Horace something else really astonishing: to dance can-can, just like those French dancers, with vigorous leg kicks, kicks that many times brought Horace down on the floor. After all, our short little legs were not made for Folie Bergère. If nature has given us six legs, how to cope with just two? And yet, Horace, extremely vain and inebriated with stardom, would turn his back to the invisible audience shake his little wings and cram his backside, just like those showgirls who pulled up their dresses and showed their butt. I think the prisoner even thought that Horace was a female. And finished the exhibition, Horace would take bows, sending kisses to the audience and screaming with a feminine voice, almost inaudible: “Je vous aime! Je vous aime!” I think that, with a few more rehearsals, Horace would be able to have his sex changed.”
“Darling, I’m sorry to interrupt you. I was concerned with the time…Don’t you think we should be going home right now? Soon the rats will awaken…Tell me right away how your friend’s story ends, please.”
“Well, when the penalty ended, the prisoner left the jailhouse, taking Horace in the pocket of his suit, inside a little box…He wanted to look out for a manager. He hoped to be very wealthy because never, in the history of show business, there had been a similar spectacle. He would win loads of money…But, unfortunately things just didn’t quite work out…”
“I know it, I know!”, Kiti anticipated herself, euphoric, clapping her hands. “The manager fooled Horace!”
“No! Damn it! How lousy your mind is! What a nasty type of joy! No, but it was in fact something much worse that happened…There had been a long time since the ex-prisoner last drank a good beer, an ice cold and good one. In prison all he could get was a “Crazy Mary”, worthy of its name because in it there was even varnish. So, he headed to the bar with the idea of regaling with a “blondie”. But he ended up drinking four or five glasses. And he simply could not refrain from showing off a little bit. He took out the little box from his pocket, told Horace to come out and placed him on the counter. He was about to tell him to dance and squeak some excerpts from the song La Vie en Rose. He then called the barman and proud, half drunk, pointed to Horace with a finger, while saying “See that?” But the barman, annoyed, as soon as he saw that husky cockroach on the counter, crushed it with a rackety slap. And so, stupidly, died a great artist…When we, from the Committee, heard about the case, we transmitted an instruction forbidding until further notice, intelligent demonstrations of any type in the presence of humans.”
“What a sad, sad story…a martyr! How did the ex-prisoner react?” Kiti wanted to know.
“He jumped over the counter at the same time and strangled the barman, crying and guffawing at the same time, like a madman. It was the fastest case of criminal relapse in the history of Criminology. Criminologists, unaware of our mutation, spent liters of ink dissertating about this case, even suggesting possible passional and Freudian attachments between man and cockroach, this one symbolizing the man’s mother. All of this mental imbalance a consequence of the brutal isolation of the prison regime. These criminologists even made analogies with a guy named Kafka, a nut who wrote drivels about a man that went to bed as a human and woke up as a cockroach. As if such an abrupt improvement was possible. No one believed the defendant´s story that the cockroach danced can-can and sang in French.”
“If we come to dominate the Earth, you should set up as a way of paying tribute to this great hero, a “Horace Prize”, equivalent to the human´s Oscar. Even I would love to compete…I love the stage, any type of stage…”
“It is not your case, but actors – all of them – can’t help but have a real bad character. How could it be possible to spend one’s whole life pretending to feel something they don´t, without having a screw missing, at least in the character.
“Well, I am starting to get real dizzy. You are so profound that after about ten minutes listening to you, a great somnolence engulfs me…I’m going to sleep just a bit and afterwards watch the television news to update myself.”
“Watch out, don’t believe too much in the news! The press is also our big ally and…”, he stopped, for he heard Kiti snoring, gently.
He felt sorry for her. She seemed so foolish and helpless…He gently waked her. The time for going home had passed already.
Entwined, they slowly walked towards the hole down the sink of the house in which they lived. They did not notice two big rats, esurient and with evil eyes, coming right behind them on their tiptoes, already with water in their mouths for the “dates” that they could almost taste in their stomach.
Kiti, lighter and less gluttonous, miraculously escaped the attack, but lost two of her legs, an antennae and a wing. She cried copiously the next day mourning, in her husband’s funeral. Or else, at the two little hairy thighs and one wing’s funeral – all that was left from “Glutof, the Rescuer”, the great leader that had already joined history.
But she was pregnant, and soon – very soon, indeed – all those projects of a hero, still numb in their eggs, would be born, replacing their father in the heroic creation of a new civilization.
Note: – This tale was translated from Portuguese by Engracia Maria Victória Fernandes (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org)