I don’t have a problem with cicadas, personally. If anything, I have some sympathy for them. Imagine living underground for 17 years at a time only to emerge for a few weeks with the sole intention of getting your freak on and making some music, but you can’t see and most of the monsters you come across—humans—are trying to find new and innovative ways to kill you. Not me, necessarily; if you don’t mess with me and mines, then I don’t got a problem with you and yours. So you can imagine how annoyed I was by the blatant disrespect that befell my home yesterday at the hands of a cicada I named Earnest for the short period of time he was part of my household. Earnest is no longer with us, but I thought it only right to tell his story since I champion the telling of as many Black stories as possible.
But first, some background. My kids are terrified of cicadas. My kids take tennis lessons twice a week in a group setting. The park they go to is out in Maryland and has been littered with cicadas. On this past Saturday (and there’s video floating about of this) they literally had to shut down class because the kids (both mine and other folks’ kids) were unable to focus because to little kids, cicadas look like they will bite off your face and take your cookies. I don’t know if they’re capable of doing such things; all research implies they cannot. However, it only takes one and next thing you know folks tell you not to go out like Willie Lump Lump who nobody has met but everybody has a story about. I’m saying, legends never really die. Where was I?
Oh yes, my oldest son, in particular, is mortified by these things. In my neighborhood, we haven’t seen a ton, but lately we’ve been seeing more and more climbing up the side of our house, possibly believing my house is a tree (they’re blind, remember) so several times a day my son lets out a loud, incredulous yelp of sorts and at first I thought we had burglars but it’s just cicadas climbing up the water spout. (I guess they are burglars of sorts since they’re stealing spiders’ vocations. I’m losing my way.) He’s so afraid of bugs getting into the house that if you go out the door and leave it open too long, like 2 seconds, he will both yell at you to close it and/or slam the door closed himself. My son does not mess with cicadas; he is paralyzed with fear and inconsolable about it. Which brings us to the point of this here chronicle.
Have a seat, it gets real.
My mother left yesterday for back home after visiting with us for a week. Her flight was at 12:50 p.m. but we planned to leave at 11:00 a.m. to get to the airport with enough time to make it through security, etc. Around 10:30 a.m., I decide to take the trash out. In my home at this time is my mother, my wife, my oldest son, my youngest son and me, myself and I. I (of me, myself and I fame) gathered some trash stuffs, and walked outside onto my back deck. It’s hot as balls in D.C. right, so I broke a sweat immediately as I walked down the steps and placed the trash bags in the trash receptacles like a motherfucking boss. Simone Biles could never. Now, it’s important to note that when I walked out of my house, I closed the door behind me because cicadas, and the last thing I need is for one of the flies God forgot to shrink to get into my home and for my son to see it.
After sticking the landing on the trash dumping (I even clapped when I landed), I looked around to make sure that no cicadas were haplessly flying towards my door and once the coast was clear, I walked inside my house. I may or may not have done a victory dance but nobody can confirm or deny one way or the other. And I’m no snitch.
About two steps into the house, I felt something on my neck. It felt like...water. Like a drop of water had fallen on my neck. I raised my hand and then I heard the wings of this fucking cicada go into over drive as it lifted off of my neck, crashed into a wall and then landed somewhere in my kitchen amidst all of the snacks and shit that my wife and kids would invariably desire at some point and need to access. Now, I’m not afraid of cicadas, I wasn’t afraid of it being in the house or anything, but my IMMEDIATE thought was, “oh shit...what if [son’s name] comes down here and sees this cicada!!?” We’d have to move AND burn the house down. And I’m only kind of half joking.
So immediately I’m in panic mode: 1) there’s a cicada in my house flying around like a toddler with wings, smashing into shit, falling down only to try to do it all over; 2) my mother needs to get to the airport; and 3) I desperately need my son NOT to know or ever see this thing. Oh, also, my youngest child, who is 8 months old, is screaming his head off because he wants to get picked up but I’m chasing a cicada around my kitchen.
Though the baby is screaming—my mother couldn’t calm him down, either—I could hear the cicada flapping his wings and located him behind the a small flower pot candle thing my wife probably spent way too much money on from Amazon or Bed, Bath & Beyond. Which sucks because I didn’t want to kill the candle thing that my wife probably spent too much money on, but I found a bottle of Raid under my sink and unloaded the whole can on this damn cicada and candle thing and watched Earnest drop behind the Keurig. And when I say I unloaded, I mean I let that choppa spray.
At this point, my wife calls me because the baby is screaming and inquires about why the baby is screaming and I told her, “because I can’t pick him up...a cicada flew in the house that I’m trying to get out.”
And that’s when shit got real. All I hear is, “A CICADA?!?!??! THERE’S A CICADA IN THE HOUSE?!?!” APPARENTLYMYWIFENEVERGOTTHEMEMOTHATYOUALERTEVERYBODYTHATTHEYREONSPEAKERPHONEWHENITSCICADASEASON.
So upstairs I can hear my son go into MAJOR panic mode, crying and screaming about the cicada so I have to make up the fact that I got him out the house—which I absolutely had not—and then I have to back up that Minority Report ass lie I just told a 6-year-old. Point of note, my wife is also not a fan of cicadas so at this point she probably fired up Redfin, looking up open houses for that afternoon willing to take CashApp for down payments.
I hang up, tell my mother that my son knows there’s a cicada, and run into the kitchen hoping to find this little demon-fly behind the coffeemaker. Except he isn’t there. Apparently cicadas do Raid like lines of coke or something because I couldn’t find him, which, set off a new round of panic. Or at least it would have if I didn’t look in my kitchen sink and see this 8-foot-long cicada (I mean, he looked 8 feet long) laying on a plate surrounded by water. I can’t tell if he OD’d on the Raid/coke or if he tripped, fell into the sink and drowned. It’s probably a combination if we’re being real. I tell my mom that I found him and she does the most humane thing she can think of, she comes into the kitchen and dumps Earnest into the garbage disposal and turns him into Black history.
I alerted my wife that she could definitively alert my son that the cicada was properly disposed of and no longer in our home. Which is a pun. Also, I’m not entirely sure if Earnest peed on my neck—I saw a video of cicadas peeing and I’m just not ready for the reality that maybe I got pissed on by a blind reptilian super fly. But for 30 minutes a cicada got into my house and tried to eat my family and thankfully I’m alive to tell you about it. RIP Earnest.