I was home alone yesterday when I heard a distinct "scratchy scratchy" sound. I thought maybe Garland had shut herself in a closet or bathroom, so I went to investigate. I realized the "scratchy scratchy" sound was not coming from a closet; it was coming from underneath Garland's scratching post. This means that whatever was going "scratchy scratchy" was a) small enough to fit under a scratching post, but b) large enough to make a loud "scratchy scratchy" sound that could be heard from across the room. I'd never stopped to think about this before, but small + mysterious + scratchy = bad.
Now, if my life were a movie, this is the part where the audience starts screaming at me not to move the scratching post, for the love of God! Of course, I ignored the audience and lifted the scratching post, only to find ....
It was a scene out of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom! We! Are! Going! To! Die!
OK, OK, fine, it was one beetle. He was about an inch long. Although I've never been too squeamish about bugs, it was still a little disturbing to find in my house. He looked kinda like this:
I tried to think of a way to gently usher him outside, but then I realized that WCK would probably want to see him before he was released into the wilderness. I went to her room and got her bug-collecting kit, which consists of an enormous pair of plastic tweezers and a see-through plastic "bug house". I gently lifted the beetle inside the bug house, and then The Bug and I had to sit there together for the rest of the afternoon.
After a while, I wondered if The Bug was uncomfortable or hungry, so I Googled him. Based on the photos I found, he was a "ground beetle", and ground beetles are predators. Of course. What else would you eat in the Temple of Doom? Fresh plants? No. You're going to eat monkey brains. So The Bug just had to starve until WCK got home from school.
WCK was pretty impressed. She named him Fred. As we prepared to release Fred into the wild, we noticed that he appeared to have, well, passed away. WCK announced that we were going to have an elaborate burial for Fred, and just as I was thinking, "We still need to do homework and cook dinner, and I do not want to hold a frigging funeral for an insect," Fred weakly waved one of his many arms.
Thank God. Because I was concerned for him.
I suggested that Fred was merely weak from hunger, and that he'd feel better when he could be out in the grass. We released him into the yard, where I hope he was able to meet some other nice beetles who gave him directions back to the Temple of Doom.