If you live in the northeastern part of the United States, next month, against all odds, you will not be thinking about Donald Trump, terrorism, or the possibility of needing a stronger antiperspirant. Every single brain cell you still posses will be consumed with sheer terror at what is happening on your very doorstep.
It will start innocently enough. You will have gone about your business, neglecting to notice small holes appearing on your front lawn. Then one day, you look will out your window, or go out to retrieve the newspaper, and you will notice large, barrel-chested insects all over the ground. Like zombies, they seem harmless enough, just sort of floundering around, waiting for your car to obliterate them as you back it out of the driveway.
You may feel sorry for them. You may consider trying to gather them up and bring them to a nearby nature preserve. A couple days later, while you are still in the feeling sorry mode, you may notice that one of the critters seems to jump up or even fly up into the air. You think this is an anomaly. You think, “Wow, this guy somehow got off the ground. Good for him.” You are a typical innocent victim of cicada terror tactics. Just when you are lulled into complacency, ALL BILLIONS of them seem to take flight. The outdoors becomes a large black cloud of cicadas, all headed for nearby trees. If your head is in the way, too bad. If your innocent toddler is playing on the grass, too bad. Like zombies, cicadas consider everyone fair game.
The cicadas are looking for nearby trees. Once they find them, there is the NOISE. Unlike zombies, who are basically silent, billions of male cicadas start screaming their cicada brains out, in order to attract cicada females. The noise is deafening. The noise will keep you awake at night. The noise will prevent you from binge-watching whatever you are currently binge-watching. The noise will even drown out the voices of the hyperventilating hosts on talk radio. It is a noise unlike anything you have heard before, except for Spongebob Squarepants’ laugh.
After mating (something zombies can only dream about), the female cicada will cut slits into the bark of a tree twig where she will deposit her eggs. Six weeks later, when the eggs hatch, the newly hatched nymphs will drop to the ground and burrow. They will live underground for 17 years, feeding on roots and having their bodies coated with anal fluids. Even the most immature, adolescent zombies would be appalled.
Then, 17 years later, when you have finally survived the PTSD of the last cicada attack, you will look out your window or go outside to retrieve the newspaper, and notice….