Early one morning before the sun came up, Millie the Hound had to go out to anoint the lawn. She never wakes up my wife Sandy. I’m always the chosen one. I guess I should be honored and, I am. Still, it’s hard to feel honored as I’m stumbling around the living room looking for my old shoes that are now serving as slippers. My old slippers fell apart one night. They actually broke into separate pieces. The front part stuck to my toes ok but, the heel end fell off my feet in a snow storm. I’ll find them in the spring. So, I drafted my old work shoes on the spot. I had pitched them in the trash can outside. So, I had to go out to the garbage can out on the street and, issue a reprieve. Good thing that they weren’t too far down in the can. I took the shoelaces off and saved them in my top dresser drawer. Without the laces to slow me down, the old work shoes slip on with light foot pressure. They’re hi tops. That gives a snug fit. Sure they smell a bit right now. That’ll go away in time and, now, I have a great and comfortable pair of slippers. The best thing is, they really didn’t cost a thing. Really, they saved me money. Good slippers cost quite a lot.
So, I’m standing out in the snow wearing my new slippers. Millie was sniffing around. There was a full moon, no wind and it had just stopped snowing. The full moon mixed with all that fresh snow, made it almost as light as day. We we’re over near the berry bush patch. Millie was busy fertilizing the area. It’s funny, but, I noticed a really neat phenomenon. The evening snow had just stopped like I said. We got about an inch. The snow that fell on the berry bush branches clung to the limbs for dear life. Every here and there, snow had fallen away leaving a gap between the next row of clinging branch snow. It sounds crazy but, the roundness of the clinging snow and the gaps between one row or, another made the remaining clinging snow look like giant catipillars crawling along the limbs.
On the berry patch alone, there were dozens upon dozens of these creatures crawling here and there on every branch. I looked up at the trees. There were thousands of them up above. Some of them being on the bigger branches of a towering tree were gigantic. They were three and four feet long and inches thick. I couldn’t count them all. Then, looking out into the woods and across the river, I realized that I was staring at millions of these creatures. I found myself surrounded by a prehistoric army of millions of giant prehistoric fur worms!!!!!! They had eaten every leaf on every tree and shrub. My God, what if they think dogs taste good or, maybe even humans???? They were crawling by night in search of human flesh and, there I was, the only human left alive in miles.
A man can go insane walking out in the snow at night in his pajamas. I did manage to slap myself back into reality. Still, the woods did look like millions of very big catipillars were everywhere. It gave me pause. There was most likely a time many millions of years ago when giant catipillars ruled the earth as giant butterflies commanded and darkend the skies. Cave dwellers kept their campfires hot and bright to scare them away. Drums beat feverishly as dusk descended to warn stragglers to find safety in caves. To be found alone out in the night meant certain death in the many arms of catipillar gangs roaming the jungle. Many natives were found at daybreak suffocated inside of huge cuccoons left barely alive only to be food for hatchlings once their fangs and appetite grew deadly.
Catipillars, I reasoned, must have ruled in this manner for eons. What was to stop their deadly advance? They just curled and stretched, curled and stretched their way from continent to continent in an unbridled squirming conquest. Vast catipillar webs stretched across deep mountain passes. Trees went leafless. Fig leaves were nonexistent. Mankind had nothing to wear. All was lost. It was then that I realized that maybe I shouldn’t eat hot pepper cheese steak with Worchestershire sauce and fried garlic and onion sandwiches before going to bed.
In any case Millie was done and was getting cold. We headed for the front door. Suddenly, a brisk wind blew down the valley from upstream. With the breeze, all the snow catipillars disappeared in a vast puff of snowflakes. One poof, and, they were gone. Just one lone six inch snow catipillar managed to hang on against the great breeze of extinction. It clung to a sheltered tiny twig just outside my bedroom window. I hoped it might hang in there but, knew that the morning sun when it came up in would finish it off. The poor thing held on for about an hour after sunrise and that was it.