After Miller handed off the envelope to the woman, No. 1 had a monarch butterfly follow her, more as an escort than an object of surveillance. The fate of Plot 82 in part hinged on the envelope’s contents, but the more important destiny, that which was mirrored in INSECT’s resolve, would ultimately be a more significant factor. Magnets of fear and aspiration collide to drive the agenda forward and fracture the emotion into unlikely shards of finger pointers, avoiders, aggressors, and desensitized ones who just want to be left alone, having excluded themselves from the agenda of bedlam. We do have lives to live, cups to fill with slices of time and plates on which to carve out unfamiliar eats, some to our families, a bit to the neighbours, pieces to the restless and the remainder wrapped tightly in plastic and stuffed deep into the freezer in the off chance we might use it again.

It is with some trepidation that the totality that makes up Plot 82 will simply vanish, with no records on file, no history recorded and no lasting imprint of any kind. It will have been, it will have not. Sad to some, indifferent to most…we do all have lives to live. Even as the woman walked a straight path, the butterfly’s flight was chaotic, with investigations and interruptions a constant feature of its journey, and yet they ended up in the same place, living their same lives.


She was a relative of a relative of a relative, the product of the tourist thing in Michoacan, Mexico where hanging around in oyamel fir trees and dreaming of the long flight back to Illinois was a popular butterfly pastime. Keeping warm in the cool mountain air by crawling over and under one another and disregarding the other’s world of social distancing was the ingredient time and history granted for their survival.

Now, away from the Mexican wintering grounds, the day started when the sun rose high enough and was strong enough to persuade the butterfly that a search for nectar would be the first task of the day. Wings ridged, but becoming more flexible with each temperature tic, a face washing using nearby dew and leg stretches befitting Golds Gym, she began to stir from beneath the fir sapling that sheltered her warming stone, the night’s comfy inn. Clear blue skies encouraged her awakening and the sweet smell of a billion specs of pollen confirmed it was time to start the day.

Flight, unwieldy at the best of times, started out like an amateur comedian trying to loosen up a room full of accountants, but eventually she hit her stride and the accountants indulged in a few martinis, and the morning progressed as it should. A patch of cultivated asters, not as sweet as the wild stuff, swayed in the breeze catching her attention and being ready for one of her frequent breaks from flight, the monarch descended cautiously. Her soft proboscis penetrated and sucked, leaving an odd but satisfying taste in her mouth as she fluttered from blossom to blossom until landing on an orangish teddy bear being held tight by a little girl, sleeping. What a strange creature she thought, no warmth, a fuzzy texture but still exuding a calming quality to anyone or anything close by. She pierced the teddy bear with her proboscis and that which was the teddy bear was now the butterfly.