CH. 20 «No Bugs»

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Whenever I’m devouring a meal on my back patio or smoking a cigi in an outdoor cafe, I enjoy not double checking my drink for bugs. Seemed like clockwork back on Earth; if you bring a beverage outdoors you’re gonna have to fish an insectoid swimmer out before it’s finished. It’s just nice to not have to worry about a fly doing the backstroke in my margarita.

I don’t even consider looking down before taking a sip anymore. I know there won’t be anything there, not large as a flutterby nor small as a gnat. You see, there’s a general lack of insect life on Mars–or all fauna for that matter, but that’s an issue for another day. Who knows if it’s because this world is mostly devoid of moisture, or because of pest genocide operations performed by terraformers against indigenous wildlife, or if they just have more sense than make a home in this forsaken place. All I know is its one of the few things I surely prefer about Mars.

Never have I found myself smacking a random body part and returning my hand with the bloody pulp of a mosquito around here. I can’t ever remember seeing praying mantises or dragonflies scouring for their next meal. I haven’t yet caught a Callitian caterpillar or watched a Venus water strider shoot across the pool. I hardly even see any bees or ants…just wasps and termites, come to think of it. I scarcely even hear a cricket chirp at night or have to wipe a chitinous smear off my windshield while plowing down the freeway.

I do see cockroaches though, many more than I ever spotted back home, and then it was only around the major metro areas that you could find those pests. I guess a similar standard applies here, since they do need the moisture and the refuse of a culture to survive on, but I notice a lot more as a result of populated areas being more dense and interconnected. I have to admit, I must have committed overkill on the first dozen or so I squashed, thoroughly compressing them into a small grease spot on the carpet before I was satisfied it was dead. But it was because I’d always heard tales of their tenacity and practical immortality, after all, they’ve survived several mass extinction events on Earth without batting a compound eye. I guess it’s fitting they should flourish in such an inhospitable environment.

Of course, there are also the notorious spiders of Mars. Probably the most proliferate and feared creature that stalks our homes and workplaces; the smaller the deadlier. Everyone complains about them here, especially toward the end of summer when you can find them all hatching, building chains and bridges with their bodies and tossing a sail the wind to float off into some unsuspecting structure.

Come to think of it…maybe that’s why theres no bugs left here.

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PREV: CH. 19 «Martian Couples»

PREV: CH. 19 «Martian Couples»

NEXT: CH. 21 «Caravans to Cuffed Hands»

NEXT: CH. 21 «Caravans to Cuffed Hands»


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