The Connected Emerald Wasp by Peter F. Crowley

     Amidst the fickle fat, Jeremy learned how to navigate.

     His mom, Theresa, had stung a cockroach’s front thoracic ganglion, turning the beast’s front legs into Jell-o. Then she hit the brain, petrifying the roach. The third sting went deep into its second thoracic ganglion, under the bug’s armor, causing the roach to stretch out like a sunbather in paradise. That way Theresa could plant an egg on the roach’s leg where, when hatched, her larvae would be in a perfect position to crawl up the roach’s leg and chew through a weak part of its exoskeleton, so Jeremy could dwell inside the insect. Once there, the baby emerald wasp’s bottle would be the roach’s innards. When Jeremy became an adult, he’d break through the bug’s body, leaving a dead roach in his wake.

    But let’s go back in time a bit, shall we? 

    Before he was born, Jeremy was on the right path. Theresa had solar sail wings and a stinger that was other wasps’ envycomp. She learned how to fly at the Annapolis Naval Academy. Her husband, Jason, was a pint-sized, no-good manager who had authority over 100 no-good, nobody, male wasps. 

     When Theresa went at her target, to create a safe space where her child could gain nourishment and a natural, hands-on education inside a cockroach, things were looking up. Her no-good husband even hovered at a safe distance in front of the roach, to distract the beast. But because Jason had just come from gorging a decomposing grape, he passed out in front of the roach. This left it up to Theresa to take care of things: in addition to planting an egg, she saved her husband from being feasted on by the roach.

      Jeremy’s host was plump and offered ample developmental nutrients until he came into his own. He’d soon become a strong wasp who knew how to maneuver, delicately praising his mother’s wealthy friends and his no-good dad’s higher-up colleagues without them ever realizing being buttered up. 

     Everyone said that Jeremy’s future had a Miracle Whip throne in it. Some even thought that Jeremy might start his own Miracle Whip dynasty, where he could commandeer a few of the blue, red and white glass containers. 

     One of the dad’s friends, no-good, pint-sized Mr. Rameses, sat on a Miracle Whip throne and Theresa often had Jeremy spend weekends with him. Mr. Rameses explained to Jeremy how he had nothing growing up. He didn’t even have a roach to gorge during childhood. He was nursed by his no-good dad and stinger mom who had nothing. 

     “You,” he once told Jeremy, “are in luck. If you play your cards right, I’ll pass my Miracle Whip crown onto you someday.”

      Theresa introduced Jeremy to several other important wasps, including Mathilde, a yogurt-eating fiend. She was known for her courage, especially when a human hand was about to crash down upon her and other emerald wasps as they imbibed yogurt. Mathilde was always the last to leave but continued to emerge unscathed. 

     Her secret – she told others – was to look humans in the eye and then “they’ll understand that you’re someone, too, with full rights. They’ll pause what they’re doing and start talking to you.” 

     But Theresa didn’t buy it, so, she decided to watch Mathilde feasting on a yogurt bed as a human hand came down towards her. As she watched, she saw that Mathilde never communicated with the human. Yet instead of flying directly towards the hand, as so many other frazzled wasps were apt to do, Mathilde scurried away (not using her wings as all!) to safety. For her bravery and cunning, she ruled over several yogurt cartons. 

     Mathilde also taught classes for elite wasps titled “Self-actualizing your buzz,” which Theresa made sure to enroll Jeremy in. In this course, Mathilde taught young emerald wasps how to mimic the buzz of bumblebees, honeybees and hornets. 

    “Once you acquire this buzz,” she often reminded her class, “the world is your oyster.” Aside she thought, “If only emerald wasps could incubate their larvae in oysters, then the world would be their whale.”

    When Jeremy began his career, approximately two months after emerging from the depleted roach, he used his connections to gain monopoly control over yogurt containers and Miracle Whip jars. He barely had to lift his wings and at least five other wasps would be at his side, asking how they could help. Jeremy hired security guards, created his own police force and employed AI coders who built robotic wasps to experiment with various methods of harvesting cockroaches. 

     Micky, a wasp who Jeremy had briefly met after emerging from the roach, asked Jeremy for a managerial position as a security guard. Micky looked like a cockroach, a wingless beast who had no sticky, spiderweb-like bonds to connected wasps. As Micky continued to pester Jeremy, he could no longer retain his rage. He ended up burying Micky alive in a fresh batch of whole milk yogurt in front of an audience, as it’d be a good learning experience for other emerald wasps. 

     When Jeremy died six long months later, he had lived longer than any emerald wasp on record. His friends transported yogurt to a countertop and had waterskiing competitions in his commemoration. Jeremy’s body was held in a hollowed-out Miracle Whip container as a mausoleum, right beside the depleted carcass of the same roach that Jeremy was said to have harvested as a child. 

     Jeremy’s children Henrietta and Maude never had to work a day in their life. They piggy backed on the funeral’s yogurt-water skiing concept and had their underlings develop Jeremy theme parks. Yogurt skiing become the main attraction and Jeremy’s smiling face and convivial wink were omnipresent on all the rides.  

      Jeremy always told his children to stay ahead by always befriending the biggest wasp in the room. And, I suppose, he was right.

Peter F. Crowley is an independent writer from the Boston area. His poetry book Those Who Hold Up the Earth was released by Kelsay Books in 2020. Other work of his can be found in Pif Magazine, Galway Review, Opiate Magazine and Counterpunch, among other publications.