Imagine my surprise when I arrived at work one morning and was greeted by none other than the super rare Golden Mantis. Upon realizing just what was in front of me, I was filled with a mixture of terror and glee. The happiness stemmed from the fact that on the rare bug continuum, this critter was near the end of the line, hovering somewhere between "never been seen in recorded history" and "as common as cockroaches". Admittedly, its a pretty broad span from one ranking to the next. The happiness however was tempered with extreme fear. If the legend was true I was looking at not just any Golden Mantis, but the Golden Mantis.
In ancient times, before mankind was tearing around at breakneck speeds in 4000 pounds of Detroit's finest, the world was a different place. The bugs were more abundant. And bigger. Some were really big. Like, the size of a Datsun big. That's one big roach, right? As is common in all societies, everything eventually tends toward mayhem. It is unclear where the trouble first began. Some believe the Dung Beetles were at the root of the problem. Others feel the Honey Bees grew drunk on success and royal jelly. Ultimately, war among the various Arthropoda raged. The world was on the brink of destruction. The first group to disappear were the Trilobites. The Crickets and the Aphids were at an impasse, threatening each other over an unbreachable chasm, each with their little buggy fingers suspended over the button. Both sides waited for the other to blink and while neither wanted to burn their world to the ground, each too also seethed with hatred for the other. They were completely crazy. In a mad rage. Things were getting really buggy. (Sorry, I'm ashamed of myself for even writing that. That's why blogs need editors.)
Into the midst of this came one lone bug. She was cool and collected. She feared neither Aphid nor Cricket. Rumors abounded that she had left behind a series of husbands, none of whom had lived through their prime. It was also said that she had a den with a cozy fireplace, a stout oak desk replete with blotter and inkwell where the heads of all of her mates adorned the walls. She waded into the fray, quelled the fighting, throwing down all comers. But not without a cost. In the mighty battle to subdue the maniacal Aphids, the Golden Mantis lost her right front leg. Or is considered an arm? Anyhoo.
In the aftermath it quickly became apparent that the roaches had actually orchestrated the entire thing, longing to run free in the world, forever safe from the shadow of the ever-present shoe that hangs in the air, poised to end every roach's life. And they would have gotten away with it too if it hadn't been for those pesky Earwigs and their Ichneumon. But after the fall of the Aphids and the Crickets and the calming of all insects, the legend of the Golden Mantis grew. Stories began to circulate that she had retired to her home to live out her days enjoying fine sherry, the poems of Edgar Allen Poe and admiring the heads of her various husbands. Others believe she went into a witness protection program for bugs and is now living in Cleveland as a Firefly. One thing all of the stories have in common is that she was always icy cold and uncommonly lethal. And she was missing a leg. Or an arm. Whatever.
So now the question for me was, should I test her patience?