33: A mantis in Atlantis

Under the sea
Under the sea
Life is much better
Down where it’s wetter,
take it from me!*

I was strapped to a stool
facing a desk
on a concrete floor
under a hot light
Behind the desk sat a Mantis.
Unusually large (s)he was.
Triangular visage.
Opaque eyes.
Saw-toothed arms, chitinous wings.
Elbows on the desktop. (do they have elbows)
It wanted me to play the shell game.
With actual shells.
It lifted the centre shell
and placed a copper key underneath it.
I knew it would fit my locks.
With a whiz whiz here
and a whiz whiz there,
it stymied my eyes.
Then chittered out some tiny bubbles.
I was to pick.
Left-hand one: empty.
Right hand one: The key! I had done it!
Whereupon it raised up a grassy palm,
stopping my reach.
Pointed to the centre one.
I lift.
It’s me, miniature me. Runs around with a puny scream.
Mantis makes a grab. Stuffs mini me into mandibles.
Reaches out with saw-toothed arms…


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