A Script for a Two-Hour Theatrical Movie
Driven by a cold-blooded instinct for survival, an immense variety of immense insects make most formidable opponents for our entomologist-heroine and her FBI man. Most thrilling, what King Kong did to old New York, gigantic six-legged, chemically mutated monsters do to modern L.A. In the end, our heroes survive and thrive in a “balance of nature” — ruled by instinct, intelligence, and love.
- Sequence 1: The Train Wreck!
- Sequence 2: The Meeting in the Museum
- Sequence 3: The Aquatics
- Sequence 4: The Forest Primeval
- Sequence 5: In the Realm of the Ants
- Sequence 6: The Nocturnals
- Sequence 7: Bureaucratic Nightmare
- Sequence 8: Urban Warfare (a.k.a. All Hell Breaks Loose!)
- Sequence 9: The Hunters and The Hunted
- Sequence 10: The Balance of Nature
First Draft: May 18, 1994. Registered WGAw No. 560041.
Sequence 1: The Train Wreck!
A train speeds towards a bridge high over a moonlit gorge, as the unsuspecting passengers sleep. On the timbers of the bridge, unseen bodies work their way through huge earthen tubes. Accompanied by crunching sounds, the timbers give way, just as the locomotive runs atop: The train and bridge come crashing down into the gorge and explode into flames!
Sequence 2: The Meeting in the Museum
In the “Insect Petting Zoo” of the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum, entomologist Dr. Olivia Hartley (attractive, thirtyish) acquaints schoolchildren with dramatic examples of livings insects — and the instinctive reasons for their success. Stressing intelligence over instinct, Special Agent Frank Reasoner (handsome, in his thirties) of the FBI asks her help in an investigation.
In the laboratory, Frank’s skeptical, hardnosed partner, Special Agent Thomas (androgynous), and Olivia’s loyal lab assistant, Fuji (a Japanese graduate student), clash over everything. Frank silences all with the contents of a crate, evidence from the site of the train wreck: Apparently the exoskeleton shed by a giant termite!
Sequence 3: The Aquatics
Fuji, inquisitive, and Thomas, doubting, help Olivia and Frank investigate the scene of the train wreck: Accident, sabotage, or ?
Following a theory (large arthropods need water to buoy their weight while shedding their supportive exoskeletons), Olivia leads the party downstream to a mountain lake, into which she and Frank dive, with scuba gear. Thomas and Fuji set-up camp and competitively shoot at targets, Fuji with his traditional bow-and-arrow, Thomas with her gun.
Underwater, Olivia and Frank see nothing unusual ... even though they are almost grabbed by the predaceous young of a giant dragonfly — which “jet propels” itself underwater right into the silken net of a giant caddisworm!
In camp, as the sun sets and Thomas and Fuji practice their martial arts, on one another, they are suddenly attacked by a swarm of giant mosquitoes, one of which literally sucks the life out of Thomas, whose carcass falls into the reeds and is set-upon by giant water-scavenger beetles! Horrified and firing arrows, Fuji flees, only to be snatched up and away by a giant adult dragonfly!
Olivia and Frank emerge from the lake only to find their comrades gone, with blood on the ground and signs of a struggle. Changing quickly out of their scuba gear — and Frank grabbing a shotgun — the two race off after Fuji’s footprints, upshore.
Sequence 4: The Forest Primeval
Frank and Olivia reluctantly decide to enter a forest, by which Fuji’s footprints disappear.
Miles upstream by now, Fuji prays to the Kami (the spirit of nature) and gets an inspiration: He plunges his last remaining arrow by hand into a nerve center of the dragonfly, which reflexively releases him — he comes splashing down safely into the river below.
As they cautiously make their way through the dark, misty forest, Frank and Olivia are unaware of various wonders they pass: A huge moth with forewings camouflaged like bark, a giant measuringworm resembling a fallen log, a giant walkingstick insect and leafroller. Finally, Frank and Olivia come to rest amongst some “rocks.” As Frank studies a map, dumbfounded Olivia catches sight of a huge, camouflaged bagworm and spittlebug. Suddenly, the “rock” under Frank moves — it is a giant scale insect — and Olivia turns her head towards a loud buzzing, only to find herself face-to-face with a giant potter wasp, looking out from its boulderlike mud nest! As Olivia observes, “Frank, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore,” he blows the wasp away with his shotgun!
Alone and shivering upstream, Fuji discovers the giant egg-case of a praying mantid (nowhere to be seen), which he runs off with as evidence of his fantastic adventure.
Running through the fog in a panic, Olivia and Frank come upon a giant springtail and harlequin bug, which are as “startled” as they are (the latter bug making a big stink!). Suddenly, they run right up to a giant red horn: Although Frank runs on and catches glimpses of giant “eyes” staring at him, Olivia composes herself and slaps the rubbery horn. Frank blasts the danger with the remaining barrel of his shotgun; and a giant, eye-spotted hornworm rears menacingly: Laughing at his panic, Olivia reassures Frank that these have been but empty threats and, like their previous encounters, purely defensive behaviors.
As they walk off and bicker over whether their predicament is wonderful or horrible, Olivia and Frank suddenly find themselves cornered against some boulders by a giant tarantula! His shotgun emptied, Frank and Olivia express fondness towards one another as they face their fate, only to be saved at the last moment by a giant tarantula-hawk wasp, which does tremendous battle with the spider and finally stings and overpowers it and drags it off, as Frank and Olivia escape.
Walking into a scrubland, Frank and Olivia (somewhat sheepish about having revealed their feelings) come upon a giant Venus flytrap, which catches a giant wasplike fly. Suddenly, a giant bot fly, also attracted to the manure-like stench, catches sight of the two and quickly overtakes Frank: As they wrestle, the fly trying to “oviposit” (lay eggs) in Frank (“You ever see Alien?!” screams Olivia), his head comes perilously close to a flytrap. Thinking quickly, Olivia throws a stone, tripping the trap and distracting the fly, which Frank slugs back into another trap, which snaps shut on the insect. Although they sigh in relief — and come face-to-face — they compose themselves, only to be startled by a raggedly clothed woman, “Worker.”
Sequence 5: In the Realm of the Ants
Worker leads Olivia, relieved, and Frank, suspicious, to her home, in a secluded valley, crawling with giant scavenger ants! Olivia, enthusiastic, and Frank, reluctant, enter the valley with Worker, who sprays them with a smelly “adoption substance,” which protects them from the ants — one of which satisfies its “curiosity” by smelling poor Frank with its antennae and licking him with its “tongue.”
Although the ants nest in the ground, Worker lives in a little shack, which she now shares with Frank and Olivia. As Worker “zones out” on some fungal “fruit” raised by the ants, Frank and Olivia get information out of her: The government had dumped all sorts of waste at the site, for which Worker was the caretaker, but abandoned the experimental project years ago; and little by little, each generation of various insects exposed to the radioactive and other chemicals grew larger and larger — Olivia theorizes that bacteria Worker says were genetically engineered to consume plastics are living “symbiotically” with the various insects (like wood-digesting protozoans in termites), thus explaining the lightweight, yet sturdy petrochemical polymers in the shed exoskeleton of the giant termite that Frank had brought to the museum for Olivia to analyze. Frank and Olivia plan to hike out in the morning, to warn the authorities about this and apparently other sites; but as the shack is too crowded, Olivia decides (against Frank’s protests) to sleep in her sleeping bag out amongst the ants (pacified by the adoption scent).
In the middle of the night, Worker and Frank are abruptly awakened by loud, frantic squealing: Looking out the window they are horrified to see their passive, black scavenger ants being attacked en masse by giant white slaver ants, with long sickle-like jaws! Trapped in the shack, Worker and Frank watch helplessly as a slaver ant threatens Olivia: Thinking quickly, Olivia zips herself up in her white sleeping bag, which then looks very much like the cocoons the slavers are stealing from the scavengers: She, too, is then stolen away, as two giant ants wrestling collapse the shack, knocking Worker and Frank senseless.
Some time later, Frank wakes up, Worker comforting him, in the moonlit valley strewn with the carcasses of giant ants. Olivia is gone, and Worker’s “sisters” have been slain. Frank shakes Worker into action: They will use the nest-odor liquid from a gland in a dead slaver ant to infiltrate the nest of the attackers.
With Worker having followed the scent of the slavers, she and Frank find themselves at the entrance to the nest of the slavers, in the side of a mountain. Getting past a guard outside — and Frank getting “patted down” once more, but more roughly than before — the two come up against the head of a giant ant, plugging the entranceway. Worker paddles her hands, like antennae, up against the giant head, which then unplugs the hole: “Open ... sesame!”
Once inside the entrance tunnel, lit by their flashlights, Frank lassoes the entrance ant and leads Worker forwards, uncoiling the long rope behind them. They make their way through the maze of tunnels, Frank “fearlessly” (towards his dear one), Worker fearfully (amongst her mortal enemies). Suddenly, they find scraps of paper, with scribbling: Olivia has left them a trail, which leads, past chambers, to a fork in the tunnels. Worker, with a smoking pipe lit, and Frank, with his flashlight, split up.
Worker soon finds herself in a nursery chamber, with enslaved worker ants tending slaver ant larvae: Worker gets an evil look in her eye.
Frank soon comes upon the sleeping bag, but it is empty! He shouts, “Olivia!” but fears she has been eaten. Suddenly, he hears her voice calling him. He runs off, right into the queen’s chamber, where guard ants are ready to bite and sting. Olivia urges him to remain calm; and after the guards’ inspection, Frank reunites with Olivia, who — with knife in hand — informs him of her “coup d’etat”: The original queen is dead; and with her scent, Olivia is now being given the “royal treatment.” Nonetheless, she quickly decides to leave it all behind to exit with Frank.
Back in the nursery chamber, Worker is lighting the fuse to some dynamite they had brought along; and when reunited with Frank and Olivia, she urges them to leave quickly, without telling them why. As they follow the rope trail out, they pass through a chamber with an ant-tended “ranch” of aphids and “honeybarrel” ants, which “dump” their sweet liquid on panicky Worker, much to the delight of Frank and Olivia, now very close. Suddenly, however, they find that their lifeline has been severed; and the paper trail, cleaned up. When Worker panics, Frank forces her to reveal that ... suddenly, the tunnel is rocked by a tremendous explosion; and ants come streaming out, carrying young, etc., as the tunnel walls start crumbling inward! As Frank and Olivia run with the ants, Worker happens upon a mound of the fungal “fruit” to which she is addicted: She stops to gather as much as she can. Finally, Frank and Olivia drag her and themselves out of the tunnels — Frank blowing away the hole-plugging head of the entrance ant with his shotgun — just before the earth collapses behind them! As the dust settles, Frank and Olivia gaze into each other’s eyes. Suddenly, they hear the screams of Worker, who has been scrambling to gather the fruit she has dropped but is now falling into a large sandy pit, right into the jaws of a giant ant lion lying in wait! Olivia and Frank turn away in horror.
Sequence 6: The Nocturnals
Alone on a mountaintop, the lights on a highway faraway, Olivia uses some antibiotic “salve” from the ants to tend to a wound on Frank. Humbled, Frank admires the ants’ taking care of their own but decries their lack of freedom: “Funny, that’s what my grandma used to say about marriage,” remarks Olivia. Their laughter is brief: They still worry about their missing colleagues. Suddenly, the sky is gaily lit by giant flashing fireflies, accompanied by the belligerent-, then sweet-sounding songs of crickets. After a brief disagreement (prompted by the hormonal perfume of a moth on the night breeze), Olivia and Frank melt into each other’s arms: “Mmm, mmm, mmm. Bees do it.” “Even educated fleas do it.” “Let’s do it ... let’s fall ... in ... ” Fade-out.
Sequence 7: Bureaucratic Nightmare
Back in the lab at the museum, Frank and Olivia reunited most happily with Fuji and announce to him their having wed on the way home. Fuji proudly shows them his giant mantid egg-case, enclosed in a clear-plastic terrarium: “The authorities will have to believe us now, won’t they, Doctor Hartley?” “They better,” replies Frank, “There’s trouble brewin’ out there; and in Lord only knows how many hot spots, all across the country.” “Any way you figure it,” adds Olivia, “We’re up against the largest, most complex gene pool on the planet.” “But THEY’re up against the most INTELLIGENT species on Earth,” replies the young man reassuringly, but prematurely ...
In an intercut sequence — sentences started in one setting completed in the other — Frank confronts a federal bureaucrat; Olivia and Fuji, a foundation bureaucrat (“Tweedle-Dee” & “Tweedle-Dum,” so to speak): For various “common sense” and “highly sensitive” reasons, the bureaucrats are not going to recommend any immediate action be taken on these stories of giant insects mutating in government installations; however, their reports will be taken — in quadruplicate — and dealt with “through the proper channels.”
Reunited in the lab, the three are resigned to have faith in “the system.” Besides, Fuji is now the proud “father” of baby giant mantids, hatching out of the egg-case, in his terrarium.
In a montage spanning several months, a deluge of bureaucratic form letters are addressed to Frank and Olivia, while in the forest a giant caterpillar feeds, spins a cocoon, and metamorphosizes into a giant moth, which lays countless eggs.
With Frank in the lab, Fuji dotes over the one mantid nymph surviving: “Survival of the fittest: You are what you eat!” Suddenly, Olivia rushes in with good news: “Now, I’M gonna be a father!” announces Frank. However, their joy is interrupted by the federal and foundation bureaucrats, looking quite grave: Despite Frank having been reassured by their form letters that “things” had indeed been taken care of — all very secretively, of course — they were not, at the 1,389 experimental toxic sites, in remote regions all around the country. Frank and Olivia must accompany the bureaucrats immediately back to Washington.
In the “war room,” the bullish General (“My name ... well, that’s not important right now and, to be quite blunt, it’s none o’ your damn business.”) addresses an assemblage of military officers, bureaucrats, and scientists — including Olivia, with Frank. The “situation” has suddenly “gone all t’ Hell.” Despite his wanting to continue to keep the whole thing under wraps, the General has been ordered to narrate a Top Secret video-tape, documenting the crisis, for this advisory group. In a forest, a soldier with a flame-thrower cautiously approaches a giant paper wasp nest, only to be attacked by a giant hornet, returning with a deer: The soldier is stung to death and the flame-thrower starts the forest afire (as seen from the P.O.V. of the camera-operator, retreating in panic). In an orchard, giant fruitworms consume entire trees; in a grain field, a swarm of giant locusts descends; in a cattle yard, giant biting flies start a stampede; in a rural village, giant fleas spread the plague; and in a cotton field, the “fittest” — that is, the most insecticide-resistant — individuals in a population of giant boll weevils survive an attack by a cropduster, whose plane is then caught in the web of a giant spider! Although the government has been successful— barely — in hushing-up a great many such isolated incidents in rural areas, the cover stories (as of quarantines) will not last much longer; and they are running out of options: “Some of their body armor’s tough as Kevlar; and in any case, there’s gettin’ to be just too many of ’em, and they’re poised to invade more heavily populated areas, where we can’t just go in guns a-blazin’. If I hadn’t had my hands tied by those political pantywaists,” cries the General, “I woulda nuked ’em when I had the chance.” But Olivia reminds him that the exoskeleton of an arthropod is resistant to radiation. “So what DO we do?” implores the General. After some blood-chilling scientific prognoses, Olivia answers, “Pray! Just pray.”
Sequence 8: Urban Warfare (a.k.a. All Hell Breaks Loose!)
As they fly back to L.A. aboard a commercial jet, Olivia and Frank try to reassure themselves that the problem is finally being addressed.
In the suburbs of L.A., a man trimming his hedge notices an unusual shrub — actually a giant, foliage-like katydid, which lunges for him!
At a suburban intersection, a woman driver sits at a red light, as her son tells her the “T. rex” story for the “umpteenth” time: The light changes to green, but the giant velvet-ant — that has just turned the corner — is red!
In a home center, a suburban woman flips through a pile of Oriental carpets. Suddenly, she uncovers a writhing brood of giant carpet beetle larvae: Customers run screaming out of the store, as a giant woodboring beetle larva bursts out of a load of lumber!
At the loading dock for a shopping mall, a worker opens the rear door of a truck of “Woolens”: Out lunge giant clothes moth larvae, which soon chase customers out into the mall from a department store.
As the jet carrying Olivia and Frank approaches LAX (Frank jokes, “Say, Honey, don’t they look like ants down there?”), a giant centipede runs down the runway, just under the landing gear. The plane comes to an emergency stop, and the passengers hustle down the chutes. Suddenly, the centipede turns after them. Olivia and Frank run off, towards the sea.
Soon they find themselves amongst the throng at Venice Beach, which is suddenly dispersed by a ferocious giant scorpion, which grabs and stings a colorful performer and then takes off after others in the terrified crowd, including Frank and Olivia, whom the scorpion soon corners at the end of the pier. Just before it can sting, the two throw themselves into the ocean and swim to shore. Frank and Olivia wake a taxi driver, who drives them off only after seeing the scorpion rapidly approaching in the rear-view mirror!
On the San Diego Freeway, the taxi passes a sewage-treatment plant in the distance, over which hover giant filth flies. Suddenly, a giant bombardier beetle runs onto the freeway and blasts its hot, caustic spray at oncoming traffic, including the taxi, which exits to the east.
In Beverly Hills, the fuming taxi cruises onto Rodeo Drive, where a giant tool-using wasp is using its jaws to pound one luxury car into another. It quickly notices the taxicab. Just before the wasp grabs the cab, the driver runs off one way; Frank and Olivia, the other, eventually into a Metro Rail station and onto a subway train.
Still fairly soggy, Frank and Olivia catch their breath. Suddenly, the train comes crashing into a giant white grub, plugging the tunnel. The passengers quickly exit, into a nearby station; but Frank and Olivia cannot: Down the stairs snakes a giant millipede! After firing his gun to no avail, Frank shoots the knob off a service door; and the two exit, soon finding themselves in the total darkness of a storm drain. Their footsteps soon make a squishing sound, and they quickly find a ladder on the wall: As Olivia exits up through a manhole in the street — and nearly gets hit by a car that must screech to a halt — she looks down to see Frank knee-deep in giant maggots! Horrified, Frank quickly emerges up out of the manhole, into which the angry driver of the stopped car then peers: Suddenly, he is grabbed by a giant trapdoor spider and pulled into the manhole, its cover slamming shut! As onlookers scream and run off in panic, Frank and Olivia commandeer the stopped car and race off northwards.
They drive past the Hollywood Bowl, in which a janitor is suddenly snatched into the cobweb of a giant black widow spider, within the acoustic shell.
On the Hollywood Freeway, Frank and Olivia drive eastbound, past the “Hollywood” sign. On a studio backlot, an action hero and villain battle on a balcony. The hero swings away on a rope, right into the pincer-like “tail” of a giant earwig!
As there is smoke coming from downtown, Frank takes the offramp onto the Pasadena Freeway; and they soon find themselves on the streets of Chinatown. As Frank and Olivia race through, they barely steer clear of a giant stag beetle, which crushes two baby-strollers that have rolled into the street during the pandemonium: Just before the crushing footsteps, however, the black baby in one stroller is saved by a Chinese teenager; the Chinese baby in the other stroller, by a black teenager — near an ebony-and-gold “yin-yang” sign.
Driving down Hill Street, Frank and Olivia are horrified to see National Guardsmen losing battles, defending City Hall etc.: A giant stinging caterpillar impales men with its poisoned spines, a giant pillbug rolls itself up into a ball and survives a missile blast, and a giant blister beetle sprays troops with its blistering chemical. Frank and Olivia decide against going to FBI headquarters and try for the museum.
As they race along an inner-city street, down a side alley two gangs face off; but one abruptly runs away: No sooner does the remaining gangleader brag, “Oh yeah, we be bad!” than he turns to see behind him a giant assassin bug — “You be worse” — which ignores the gunfire and impales the gangleader with its beak.
As Frank and Olivia race their car past an inner-city mini-mall, a giant cockroach sends Latinos running for their lives. One young man helps an old lady to safety; but as he runs to get himself into a car, another man pushes him aside: The cockroach consumes the heroic man; and the old lady laments, “Oh Lord, why HIM and not the selfish one?” Seeing the cockroach walk away, the selfish man, safe in the car, smiles to himself, “Nobody said life was fair” ... just before a giant Goliath beetle squashes the car as flat as a tortilla!
Finally, Frank and Olivia race their car up to the museum, in Exposition Park. National Guardsmen are firing at a giant grasshopper, which loses a leg, spits “tobacco juice,” and then hops far over the neighboring Coliseum. Safe at last within the museum, Frank can breathe a sigh of relief with Olivia, who sheepishly remarks, “And I thought the fires, quakes, and riots were bad.”
Sequence 9: The Hunters and The Hunted
Back in the lab, Frank and Olivia are shocked to find Fuji lying dazed on the floor, the clear-plastic mantid cage empty, its side chewed-away: “I forgot that with her symbiotic bacteria,” Fuji says of his now man-sized mantid (nowhere to be seen), “She’s acquired a taste for plastic.” Frank runs out, with his pistol drawn; Olivia — despite Frank’s “macho” urgings for her to stay put — loads a tranquilizer rifle (“from the boys down in mammology”) with a hypodermic cartridge, containing cyanide from her collecting jars, and marches off; and Fuji, coming to, pulls out some ninja gear.
In the dimly lit Hall of North American Mammals, Frank stalks past the grizzly bear diorama; in the African Mammal Hall, Olivia stalks past the lioness diorama; in the Asian Mammal Hall, Fuji stalks past the tiger diorama.
In the Old West Hall, Frank suddenly finds himself facing the monstrous mantid. Like gunfighters, the two stalk towards one another, step by step (“This museum ain’t big enough for the two of us ... stranger.”). As the mantid rears, Frank shoots; but his bullets are deflected by the armored forelegs of the mantid. His back now to the wall, Frank suddenly looks off to one side and shouts, “What’s THAT?!” The mantid reflexively lurches back and turns towards that direction; and when it turns back to the wall, Frank is gone (An old flag is left rustling nearby).
In the hall of dinosaur mannequins, Olivia suddenly confronts the mantid. It stalks towards her. She holds her ground, aims, and shoots! But the mantid uses its hyperactive reflexes to catch the poisoned dart midair! Tossing it aside, the mantid corners Olivia, who suddenly spots the control switch and hits it: The animated dinosaurs start moving and roaring, disorienting the mantid, as Olivia runs out.
In the hall of antique automobiles, Fuji proceeds cautiously but then catches a glimpse of the shadow of the mantid. Yelling a ninja yell, Fuji pivots around, flailing his “nanchuku.” Mesmerized only momentarily, the mantid grabs the chained rods and eats them! Chased by the mantid, Fuji turns and does a flying somersault overhead, just between the grasping forelegs, and lands out of sight. As the mantid stalks away, Fuji carefully peers out from an old American convertible.
In the hall of fossils, Frank cautiously makes his way amongst the towering skeletons. As he exits, unbeknownst to him the mantid appears “out of nowhere”: It had remained motionless, camouflaged against the mural of the prehistoric tar pits.
In the hall of minerals, Olivia makes her way cautiously through the collection, the gleaming facets of the gemstones not unlike those in the compound eyes of the mantid, watching her, in a “mosaic image,” as she exits.
In the Egyptian Hall, the mantid stalks past a mummy and a decorated coffin, out of which peers Fuji as the mantid exits.
In front of the skulls of ape-people, Frank cautiously backs through the Anthropology Hall, as does Olivia, from the other direction — the two suddenly collide, then turn, Olivia with (empty) gun raised, Frank with fists clenched. Relieved, they realize that they had better work together, as a team: “Intelligence over instinct.”
In the Pre-Columbian Hall, Olivia walks alone, calling to the mantid. Suddenly, by the ghastly Mayan burial cave, she comes face-to-face with the creature. Olivia turns to run away, the mantid close behind. Entering the Revolutionary War room, Olivia taunts the mantid, just outside. The mantid charges; but just as it enters, Frank — suspended above — swings a razor-sharp sword with all his strength and decapitates the beast! In doing so, however, Frank falls to the floor; and the mantid — headless but far from dead — reflexively starts flailing away with its grasping forelegs, as it stalks forwards blindly! Frank and Olivia must retreat into the next room, a dead-end hallway, of Asian-Pacific artifacts. Their path blocked, Frank and Olivia — professing their love for one another — are backed up against the end-wall by the headless monster, whose flailing spined forelegs soon happen upon and reflexively grab onto Frank and Olivia: The monster raises them up in its crushing grasp! Suddenly, at the other end of the hallway, a masked figure in samurai armor slowly levels its spear: Letting out a blood-curdling scream, the samurai races down the hallway and plunges his spear in through the body of the mantid, impaling it to the wall and making it drop Frank and Olivia, breathless, to the floor. With the mantid in its final throes of death, the samurai takes off his mask: It is Fuji, who proudly proclaims, “There now! THAT should complete my insect collection.”
Sequence 10: The Balance of Nature
At sunset, Olivia cautiously leads Frank and Fuji out onto the roof of the museum, with a view of the city all around. It is unusually quiet nearby. Suddenly, Olivia is thrilled to see in the distance a variety of giant insect predators and parasites, feeding on a variety of other giant insects: “Yep, Pilgrim,” she brags to Frank, “Mother Nature’s cavalry is riding to the rescue!” Fuji adds that with properly selected and cultivated pathogens and nematodes (round worms), they should be able to bring the pest populations under control. “So you see, Frank,” remarks Olivia, “Survival of the fittest required instinct.” “AND intelligence,” adds Frank. “And love.” As they hug and kiss, Fuji looks out in wonder towards the setting sun.
A few years later, at sunrise, Fuji happily drives a pickup truck down a country road: In a cage in the bed of his truck is a giant silkworm. Fuji pulls up to a ranch, where Frank is pitching leaves into a compost pit worked by giant grubs, millipedes, and earthworms; Olivia is gathering buckets of honey from giant, stingless honey bees, dancing on their honeycombs in the barn; and Frank and Olivia’s twins are exiting a playhouse carved out of a giant pumpkin, in a garden lush with giant vegetable plants and sunflowers. As the friends joyfully greet one another, they delight in the sight of a huge flock of giant monarch butterflies flying off towards the rising sun.
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