I am Cicada, King of Pests.
I come with a strong warning. Today, you enjoy peace. Today, the air is still. Today, the sidewalks are yours. But your reign of comfort is only temporary.
It’s been 17 years since we last felt freedom. Seventeen years since our iridescent bulbous bodies felt the glowing warmth of the sun. Seventeen years since we’ve sung our songs, filling the days and nights with the ominous thunder of a hundred million sexually frustrated insects.
You’ve been so caught up with other seemingly endless plights—coronavirus, electoral politics, the bleak mundanity of your friends’ daily Instagram posts of their boring children—that you forgot about us. But, we haven’t forgotten about you.
All this time, we’ve been down here below the soil, waiting for our time to emerge. Growing stronger by the day, feasting on the roots of your trees. Saving ourselves beneath the ground, in case of some Apocalyptic event that might require the almighty, resilient Cicada Kingdom to re-start millions of years of evolution after the weak and exposed have perished.
There’s really no stopping us now. Swarms of us. Not tens, not thousands, but millions of us, flying through your forests and neighborhoods, crashing blindly into your trees and your cars and your face, as we eat, fuck, and die wherever we please.
In the year 2020, we will start in the great foothills of West Virginia. Then next year, just when you thought it was over, the entire Mid-Atlantic will be alive with the glory and power of Magicicadas. Our gigantic, hideous bodies—alive and dead—will litter your sidewalks, streets, and storefronts.
In Biblical fear, you’ll cover your crops. You’ll shriek at our presence, worrying about skin-piercing bites and disease and venom. You’ll hide your children indoors.
Or, frankly, your own ignorance, fear, and paranoia. This letter, though penned in authoritative declarative sentences about circumstances out of your control, is not intended as a threat. I’ve never been much of a writer, unfortunately.
I’m just a cicada. I’m not Zadie-fucking-Smith.
We cicadas are not monsters. We are not harmful. We do not bite on purpose. After 17 years living in the literal dark, we are just very very stupid and extremely horny.