Animal Dilemmas – Cockroach Pig

short story about persistence

Short Story

 

After all the food was consumed and the lizard ran off without a trace, the pigs settled on the uneven dusty dirt floors again. They were not thinkers and never thought a second time about the lizard. They thought that if there was a little more food it would have been nice. They thought if the food had had more fat in it and less vegetables it would have been even better.

But even these immediately important to them thought didn’t linger much. After a grunt or two, the Pig settled in the doorway on top of a dry pile of tree bark. The moment it touched the floor with the whole length of its side and its skinny legs stuck out in the air, it thought no more. Instead it sunk dosing into greasy sleep.

In this dark unconscious state the Pig’s metabolism entered a special pace. A pace perfectly suited for slowly transforming nutrients into fat. Fat that cushioned the Pig’s entire body. A thick layer of it ran under its skin. It isolated the Pig from hot and cold, and it gave it a pleasantly round appearance. Round was good.

There was a lot of pigs in the yard. But there was even more cockroaches. A beetle-like insect with long antennas and legs, feeding by scavenging. Pigs and cockroaches had in common that both didn’t mind filth, which made them neighbors.

Cockroaches occupied the dark wet corners and creases between the mud bricks. Pigs’ excrements and piss were their home and food. They thrived on it. The pigs didn’t mind. Occasionally they would eat a cockroach or two that had fallen into the mix. More fat!

The conditions were so good for the cockroach population that their numbers were out growing the available space for accommodation. They have outgrown the dark creases and some solitary renegades were forced out.

That was the case with the giant cockroach climbing the doorframe where Pig was sleeping. The cockroach was out-casted despite its size. Because of it, in fact. It was greedy and ate fast and selfishly. It was not a shortage of food but the fear of it, that made the rest cast it out.

The cockroach was climbing the ramshackled doorframe in the open light uncertain of up or down. It had eaten so much so fast that it was driven by pure excess of energy. Not thoughts. It was in need of climbing. In need of a challenging task to burn as much calories as possible. A task like walking on the ceiling.

And it was getting very close to the ceiling indeed.

It was on the threshold between wall and ceiling. Its antennas couldn’t sense a thing. It was too far from anything that sent signals. Far from its world. It was happy. It crossed over to the ceiling and was now up side down. It marched forward in this unnatural condition. Still no signals reached it. The world was quiet, silent and distant.

The cockroach felt free, unbiased and unburdened by society. It thought it could fly. On that thought involuntary its grip on the ceiling was loosened. And it flew indeed. It flew down and landed in the ear of the Pig.

It immediately liked the ear cavity. It was dark, wet and greasy. It was a dream home. It filled up on some fat and explored the cavity. It went deeper and deeper, unafraid. It was alone it seemed that no one hade ever lived in that ear.

The Pig wasn’t alarmed by the tickling in its ear at first. It grunted a few times, flapped it and went back to sleep. Not for long for the tickling was strangely persisting. The Pig stood up and shook its head like never before until it saw stars. It grunted obtrusively rude to all the other pigs. That was the only treatment to its ills the Pig ever knew.

The cockroach was displeased with all the rumbling and throttling. It somehow correlated its intensity with the depth of its exploration. So it relocated out in the shadow edge of the ear.

The Pig was relieved but the relieve signals vibrating through all layers of fat took one second too many to travel to its brain. So the Pig gave its head a violent bang against the wall.

This earthquake from the perspective of the cockroach shook it off the ear and back on the wet filthy ground.

The Pig felt its legs collapse and it followed them down to its former sleeping nest.

The cockroach bounced off briskly and leaped through the yard. It half-flew, leaping and bouncing finally over the fence. It embarked on a new directionless pilgrimage.

 

next story: Animal Dilemmas – Fruit Fly Cockroach

previous story: Animal Dilemmas – Pig Lizard

all stories: Animal Dilemmas

photograph by Ryan McGuire

 

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