Author: Andrew Dunn

They come every seventeenth year. Momma says they are evil, each one a little piece of hell called forth by her ex-husband to torment springtime before summer’s heat dries our corner of Georgia to a crisp.

“Cicadas.” Molly said. “They’re just bugs.”

Molly was unshouldering her bra in my bedroom, and then unzipping her shorts. We were too young to be doing what we were doing. The only thing that could have stopped us would have been momma bursting through the door wailing about how Adam gave up a bone from his rib cage so that Eve could come into this world and tempt that poor boy with an apple. We were well past Adam and Eve. Molly Jenkins was my Salome, dancing her own version of the seven veils as she peeled off socks and planted her hands on her hips.

Outside the shrill piercing sound of the cicadas roiled up in one of those crescendos I imagined washed over everywhere like a sonic tidal wave. Momma was in her room oblivious. She was glued to that news channel where they’re sure whatever any given democrat is suggesting will unravel life as we know it on the third stone from the sun, or least within the bounds of ‘Merica.

I never knew why momma called daddy Satan, and I wasn’t inclined to ask after I felt Molly’s body against my own. I didn’t know whether I was Adam or Herod either, as my fingers passed over her rib cage, sheathed in soft pale skin. What I knew for sure, as my lips found Molly’s, was that I was molting free of childhood as I danced with her toward my bed.

I knew afterwards, me and Molly would find the world outside littered with cicada hides. Where would I hide the skin I was shedding as my body merged with Molly’s for the very first time?

Maybe I’d leave it raw, bare, and evident for momma to find, a mystery easy for her to unravel.