The Soul Keys

a novel


All butterflies are insane.
     It starts in larvahood. A caterpillar is born a slow, ugly orphan, easy pickings for any bird, mantis, spider or wasp that comes along. Easy pickings, not easy death. A mantis seizes you and just starts chewing while youíre still alive. A spider injects poison to paralyze you, then wraps you up to wait until itís hungryóat which time it injects another poison to liquefy your insides, then sucks you up like a soft drink.
     But wasps are worst of all. A wasp stings you to paralyze you, hauls you off to its nest, injects its eggs into you and walls you up in a cell, where you wait helplessly while the eggs hatch and the waspís larvae slowly eat you up from the inside. The lifestyle of wasps is a powerful argument against a merciful Creator.
     The caterpillar has only about 200,000 brain cells, and most of those are devoted to insecurity. It overeats to compensate.
     Meanwhile, an oedipal-like crisis is developing. For all the caterpillarís life, plants have fed and sheltered it. Plants are like the parents it never had. And itís chewing the hell out of them.
     Finally the caterpillar canít take it anymore. It walls itself off in a cocoon and hides from the world.
     Inside that woven prison, that do-it-yourself rubber room, the tiniest of keys turns in the tiniest of locksóa few neurons fire, a few molecules trade places on a filament of proteinóand everything changes.
     When the former larva emerges, itís skinny, beautiful, and completely mad. It spends its adult life giving oral sex to flowers. Itís as gaudy as a flower, itself. In its insectish way, it probably thinks it is a flower.
     Then, one day, a flower turns out to be another butterfly of the opposite sex.
     They canít handle the shock. The male flies off and dies. The female lays her eggs and dies.
     The eggs start it all again.

This book was a figment of the authorís imagination. Itís becoming a figment of yours. As you read this, itís slipping into your brain, like a tiny mite crawling into a pore in your skin, to emerge someday, perhaps, as an invisible butterfly.
     (A mite would have to be insane to want to be a butterfly.)
     Or it might be a wasp larva.
     If this makes you at all nervous, please close the book and put it down. Do it now. Do not turn the page. This is your final notice.
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NOTE: The preview is from the proof of the novel and the final text will be a little differnet in places.