Taking a split-second away from the swarm of insects circling in a tight ball above a suburban street somewhere in Canada, Norman Gnat is trying to collect his thoughts on what the hell just happened in the last three-quarters of a minute.
“Uncle Jimmy got eaten by a biker, cousin Tim was swallowed by a dragon fly, and I think Ma just got caught by a low-flying bird but that was right when Jenny winked one compound eye at me, Laura told me it was now or never, Meredith asked if I was done yet, and Janine wanted to go over names for our first 100 babies. So unfortunately I didn’t get to say good-bye.”
A well-established gnat, Norman remembers back to his childhood of almost a week ago, when times were simpler, little gnats still respected their elders, everyone went to the trash on Sunday, and it was considered rude to mate without making eyes contact.
“Nowadays everyone is in such a frantic rush. I’ve never seen swarms like these. And with apps like Tinder and Snapchat out there, it’s all I can do to keep one arm free for myself, what with the others all busy swiping left and right, tweeting, snapping, and selfieing. Its a flea circus brother, I’m telling you.”
His moment of reflection done, Norman excuses himself, saying the next generation isn’t going to father themselves, then correcting that.
“Actually they will, that’s pretty much the whole idea. But I gotta get mine.” He says as he flies back into the mix, shouting as he goes: “See you in that big swarm up in the sky real soon Ma.” A delivery van barrels down the road. In their frenzy, and total lack of situational awareness, Norman – and everyone Norman has ever known – stands no chance. There is a brakeless, breathless, soundless, moment, and then an entire epoch of flies are pasted to a UPS windscreen. The wipers move. The driver wonders if he’ll get to hook up with Sheryl tonight, and hopes his mom had a good visit with the cardiologist. The truck rolls on.