Vox Populi

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Chuck Taylor: Nature has many faces, more perhaps than the gods of Hinduism


Vampire had a green-gray slug that liked to sleep in his ears. He was a musical slug, and had a soft buzzing way of humming Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. It was quite relaxing, and helped Vampire — a nervous sort — fall asleep. Vampire had no idea what the slug lived on, besides water, but suspected earwax. During the years they lived together Vampire’s ears were clean as a soccer referee’s metal whistle, and Vampire could hear much better than usual. Hearing is essential to a creative stalking at night.

During the day, while Vampire worked off and on various part time jobs, Pierre stayed on a plate with a little water on it, covered by a second plate, back at the house, on the back porch. The slug always looked slightly worried when Vampire left. His lovely small antennae would tremble in the air. Vampire was convinced slugs preferred damp, dark places where they were safe from the dangerous diving beaks of birds.

When Vampire got home they’d watch TV together. Sea Hunt, starring Lloyd Bridges, was his favorite show. Pierre loved the underwater diving and the SCUBA gear and the magical rising air bubbles. When Pierre’s time was up he left a message written in silvery slime on Vampire’s dark desktop. The message was sad and touching, too private to share with you here.



Vampire knew a man who trained a Peppered moth to sit where his shirt buttoned at the neck, in order to make a living bowtie, a bowtie exceeding the beauty of anything made by human hands. The man kept a cotton swab dipped in sugar water pinned just behind the top button on his shirt so the moth could feed.

Most people feel slightly uneasy about staring for long at a man’s neck with a bowtie, so few made the leap of imagination to see that what was actually before them — the world’s only living bowtie — and no one dared risk appearing stupid by asking, “So is that an icky moth you’ve got sitting there at your throat?”

The moth was marvelously and mesmerizingly patterned—far beyond what any textile manufacturer could pull off—and slightly fuzzy, so it looked like a warm and fuzzy fabric beyond any fabric known to man.

The moth could remain still for hours and was quite pleased with itself, pulling off such a grand deception.


Copyright 2017 Chuck Taylor

Death’s-head hawkmoth (Acherontia atropos)



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