Live Crickets

Fifteen cents for a live cricket, caught in a pet store cage with other chirping crickets.

A live cricket, unwittingly doomed to being bought by someone who has that necessary fifteen cents, on behalf of a bigger creature caught in another cage, who’s going to eat that live chirping cricket.

I wonder if, after the exchange of this pittance for their chirping bodies, those crickets get excited in their new brown paper bag home, believing they’re finally free.

Fresh Air! Light! Not so much constant chirping!

I am almost overwhelmed by a deep urge to buy them all, and set them free outside.

I immediately know what I’d say, as I watched them hop away.

Live Crickets, Live!

But I don’t do it.

It isn’t for fear they’d get eaten anyway, out in the wild, or get squashed on the highway of cars speeding by.

I don’t do it, because then I’d feel to blame for the next batch of chirpers purchased to replace the ones I’d set free.

I don’t want to be part of that cycle, so I turn away.

Just then, I hear a woman ask for some of those fifteen cent live chirping crickets. The woman’s daughter starts up her own chirping about the hungry snake caged at home waiting.

I turn around, and whisper quite loudly “Live Crickets, Live!”, and wonder if they can hear me over everyone’s chirping.

And then, instead of setting them free, I only set myself free, hoping I’m not unwittingly doomed like they are, to being eaten by something bigger, or squashed on the highway ahead.

What else can I do? I settle for writing this, wondering again if anyone can hear me over everyone’s chirping.

~ cj 2016.12.22/23

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