There’s something in my boot
I am riding in the back seat of Namfon’s truck talking to Philipp on our morning phone call when I feel something moving in my rain boot, and it’s not my toes. I squeal and yell, “I’ll call you back.”
Everyone is yelling and Namfon swerves to the curb. Whatever is in my boot hasn’t bitten me yet, so I gingerly remove the offending boot. I shake it and nothing happens. Joanna grabs the boot and hops out of the truck. As a group of police officers looks on from the distance, they watch the bedraggled white girl leap from the beat up Toyota truck and begin bashing a green rubber boot against the vehicle. Still nothing comes out, but we know it’s in there.
Last night Jo and I found a hissing beetle on Namfon’s porch. She is about the size of a ping-pong ball, and when you pet her, she makes a gentle “shhhhhh” noise. Hissing beetles do not bite, and Namfon picks it up lovingly where it begins to crawl lazily on her hand and arm.
People breed these beetles to fight. In nature, they live in holes, and it takes them 10 years to emerge into a world where they fleetingly search for a mate, lay their eggs and die. People collect the beetles, placing a female in a hole with a male on either side, and make bets on which male will win the fight. The males wrestle, one picking up the other and holding it above it’s head to determine the winner.
This female is simply flitting about our porch, and before long, it migrates to our guesthouse. I give holding it a try, and she crawls onto my finger. Her grip is strong and she walks tickling pin pricks up my arm. I start laughing and trying not to squirm.
I tell you this because I have the feeling this beetle has chosen my boot for her hiding place.
At our friend Rut’s house, Rut peers into the boot. “Awe!!!!” He says, reaching his hand inside and fishing out the beetle to which we’ve given the morning from hell. She crawls onto his hand spreads her wings and flies away.
We breathe a sigh of relief, and vow to keep our boots upside down from now on.