I don’t have any pictures of Jacques.
I never thought to take any and now I wish I had.
Jacques is a shield bug--family Acanthosmatidae in the order Hemiptera, if I am not mistaken (thank you Wikipedia, no matter how much I mock thee...). He lived behind my door in my bedroom for two years. Why? I have no idea. Maybe he liked the company, maybe he had a wife and kids in the model Wright Brothers airplane box that has been back there for almost longer than I remember.
At any rate, he and I have been room mates for a long time. I have grown very fond of him, actually. Shield bugs are really amazing little guys—they belong to the same family as fire bugs and assassin bugs, but lack the ubiquity of the former and the nasty temperament of the the latter. I have never known a shield bug to bite, sting or stink places up--or to turn up in your bed, shower, shoes and clothing drawers.
I was saying good night to mum and dad the other night and stopped in the hall to give my aussie (dog) a good scratching. You know how, sometimes, when you’re stepping on something and you can just barely feel that it doesn’t feel right? Well, I had that niggling sort of feeling but wasn’t paying attention. After a few seconds, though, it dawned on me that I was standing on something. Now, the scary thing in my house is that it could have been anything from a harmless insect to an extremely venomous spider.
This is not because we are unclean people, but rather because we live near a river and have insects roughly the size of tennis balls.
You do the math.
At any rate, I had instinctively not put my weight fully on that foot, AND it was under my disgustingly high arch, so whatever was under there was more covered than actually stepped on. I snatched my foot away and scooted my dog back--and saw to my horror that it was Jacques. He was lying on his back, his little legs curled up.
“JACQUES,” I shrieked, both alarming and confusing my parents. I got down and put my face to the floor. “JACQUES!” he had not been crushed, I was glad to see. In fact, he looked FINE aside from the fact that he had, so to speak, assumed the position. I gently prodded him and--he moved. In protest, it seemed, but he wasn’t dead yet! I flipped him over gently and he took a few steps--and flipped back over and curled his legs up. He wouldn’t get up, he wouldn’t crawl into my hand.
I was near tears by this point.
My mom had come onto the scene and had taken stock of things by this point and got down next to me in her pajamas. She somehow coaxed Jacques into her hands--don’t ask me, I think it’s a mom thing. Maybe I can figure it out someday--and he seemed to revive some. She handed him over to me, and he immediately took a nose-dive off my hands to the hard floor.
Cliff jumping, anyone?
Mom took him in hand again and kept him this time. I felt quite the louse, but was determined to know what was wrong. “Maybe he needs water!” I was frantic. But you know, little bugs DO need water. Watch the firebugs in your bathroom sometime--the drink from those tiny beaded droplets with their long probosci. Mom followed me into my room, where I dribbled some water on her hands. Jacques did NOT like that. He was not thirsty, thank you very much, and made no bones of letting us know as he scrambled to get away from the couple of drops that fell into mom’s palm.
Unfortunately, that’s the limit of my knowledge for insect first aid. Mom put him in my hands again, and this time he seemed inclined to hang on. I took him carefully into her room, where she and dad keep live plants year-round, to see if he’d rather be in there. He was really lively by this point, acting quite as if he hadn’t scared me half out of my skin by playing dead in an expanse of hard wood floor. After about five minutes I coaxed him onto a long thin leaf of a spider plant (named so NOT because it houses spiders, but because of the arachnid-shaped runners it puts out to make more of itself) where he actually seemed quite content.
Exhausted by the excitement, we all went to bed.
I have not seen Jacques since. He may have transferred his affections to my mother, he may have made a bid for frozen freedom out the window, or he may still be happily clinging to the plant, out of sight. At any rate, at least I did NOT step on Jacques.
On a slightly more serious note:
To all of you who took the time to comment on my last blog entry--thank you. I am honoured to be the recipient of your thoughts and considerations. I’m hoping to respond to you all individually, and I am actually going to print the entry and all of the replies out and put them in my journal. I won’t risk losing such precious words of wisdom and love to the black-hole of the internet.
And on a slightly less serious note: Here’s the latest art. Some serious, some not so much, some simply bizarre. And if any of you have odd jobs that need to be done that might involve this mighty pen of mine--let me know, will you? I’m thinking I might have to resort to eating my notes and using my textbooks for warmth since my car took it into its head (engine?) to blow up.
I'll give anyone who's interested details on these--goodness knows I love to brag about my characters.
This Death Cannot Be by *Chajiko on deviantART
Kylee and Mace Gift by *Chajiko on deviantART
Proud of this one. Like, way.
The Mistress's Apprentice by *Chajiko on deviantART