It was too dang hot to think, much less hoe a row, so I headed for the buzzing shade of the woods with my trusty piece o’ crap camera in my pocket. (Always carry a POC camera in the woods. You can throw it at a bear if you see a bear. You could not throw it and see if the bear wants his or her picture taken. Isn’t it always best to assume when you encounter a bear in the wild that he or she finds you appetizing? My bear knowledge is appallingly scant. I do know that hungry grizzly bears are dangerous. Let’s forget about bears. I’ve been told my POC camera is a girl’s camera because it is a creamy lavender color. It is not a girl’s camera, because it is my camera, and I am a man, with an Esquire sub to prove it. I’m obsessed with Esquire in the same way I imagine some of my female colleagues must be obsessed with Cosmopolitan. There are some pretty cool things about Esquire, but for every time they get something right they commit about six egregious errors of judgment. It’s kind of like that friend we all have, the one who’s always trying to get his act together but can’t help himself, you know? Also carry a POC camera in the woods because you might see Bigfoot, and you absolutely want to get pictures of that. Please send all Bigfoot photos to Thank you.)

The woods were buzzing with cicada song. The cicadas had returned after 13 years or 14 years or 17 years. (Go look up cicadas and you’ll see what I mean. Great Wiki page on cicadas. Can we trust Wikipedia on cicadas? What if some deranged person is purposefully spreading misinformation about cicadas? What in the name of Bob Johnson are we supposed to do then?)

I paused to examine the weeds around the garden fence. They were still there. They had not magically disappeared. I should have cut them a few weeks ago when I had the rest of the fence down and the mornings were cool, but I did not, and now the temperature was hitting 95 degrees well before noon.


The cicadas were loud. They sounded like a spaceship in a 1950s science-fiction movie. You expected a silver flying saucer to rise above the tree line.

The cicada I’d been photographing took off right into my face. Photo session over.

That cicada really has some kind of attitude, I thought.

I went home to look at the pictures on the computer. All the photos looked like … Blast! POC camera!

A cicada clung to the outside of the window screen above the kitchen sink. It had been there for a few days in the exact same spot, so I was pretty sure it was a goner.

That, or it was a very lazy cicada. I thought about thumping the screen. If it were dead, it would just fall away, a lifeless husk. There is enough sadness in the world, I decided.

Instead of wasting another minute on cicadas, I checked the Internet for important information. Indeed, the information was not without importance, and some of the information was quite wondrous.

I fired off several emails and washed my hands of the Internet. I dried my hands and pretended I was a boxer. Take! That! In-ter-net!

I hit the Internet a few more times. It felt good. I looked at the big to-read stack. I was not in the mood for a book.

I went to the front porch. It was ten degrees cooler on the porch. Scrappy Pappy and Da Rat Jr. were fully extended, trying to catch a breeze.

“Hello, fleabags,” I said. Neither cat moved a whisker.

The spaceship sound of the cicadas was loud, even on the front porch.

“I will come back and thump you later,” I said. I went to find Bob Johnson. It was easy. He shot out from the crawlspace like a yellow bullet.

“We showed that Internet who was boss, huh?”

I did my imitation of Bob Johnson’s growl. He bounced from side to side, all wound up. His eyes were bright and ready for anything.

“Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr,” I said. “Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.”

John Hicks is all about it.

About the Author

John Hicks

Havin' a wild weekend.

John Hicks lives outside the city limits, where eagles dare.

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