Wednesday, October 9, 2013

In Gelata Sidereal

May looked wide eyed out the window at the towering, fleshy tentacles outside her window. The Gelata Sidereal floated gently past her apartment building. "Mommy!" She shouted, "It's here! It's here!" The velvety curves of the tentacle's edges reminded her of something (though she wouldn't know the word) ureteric and comforting. "Mommy! Can I play with it?"

Her mother shouted from the bathroom, "I don't know. . . will you be careful?"

"Yes Mommy!" Came May's instant reply.

They named it in Latin, and it stuck, even outside the scientific communities. Regardless of what its name was, we should have realized: sometimes they move in swarms.

Listen. Their poison needles are like spears from heaven and any living tissue sets it off: trees, a murder of crows, a gaggle of geese or children. Anyone over, about five feet, gives off enough heat to trigger the needle response, and those needles fire like rocket ships.

When there were only a few of the Gelata Sidereal, children would set their off the nematocyst spears for fun. They'd shoot them into the ground or the air and dance around the falling shadows.

In South Carolina, children already played and prodded jellyfish. So, when the  Gelata Sidereal, made landfall, the children ran between the tentacles, laughing and poking at them with sticks while it drifted toward the lights of Charleston.

But not now.

Now we're living in the subways, for the most part.

At first governments handed out peace prizes and science prizes, and the military was too stunned and the scientists won. The scientists let it float gently across the ocean, its tentacles dipping softly into the water. Please don't mind the few dead whales.

When the Gelata Sidereal made landfall, we thought it would stop, but it didn't. Alpha Gelata Sidereal made landfall and swept through France. Through La Rochelle, then northerly, toward Paris. 

We still don't know if Gelata Sidereal move toward light or dense biomass clusters.

Duo, Tribus, and Quattour Gelata Sidereal are just one each. Quinque onward are clusters ranging form a dozen to a hundred. There are rumors that Quinquaginta-unus, floating toward Beijing from Australia numbers over a thousand. A friend told me that when its projected path was announced, almost a fifth of Australians committed suicide.

(FWIW: This was supposed to be posted last week so there's at least SOME new content once a week, but apparently the auto posting function screwed up. So. A week late. Here it is.  --Ed.)