A Short Book About a Long Life
by Waverly Huff
Chapter 7: New York, New York … The City So Nice They Named It Twice
“Wow,” thought Franky Fly, wearing an I ♥ New York T-Shirt he bought from a fly in Times Square. “This has got to be the most spectacular city in the world.”
Ever since landing at Kennedy Airport and hitching a ride to Manhattan in the trunk of a Yellow Cab, Franky Fly had been touring. He followed a horse and carriage through Central Park, flew down Broadway and saw a show at Radio City Music Hall.
But it was the view from the top of the Empire State Building that really took Franky Fly’s breath away. As he circled the observation deck, he marveled at the splendor of the nearby buildings.
Franky Fly was trying to get a better look at the Chrysler Building when he saw a large black and yellow butterfly sitting on a small ledge. He landed nearby and set his tiny little backpack down next to him.
“Isn’t it majestic,” Franky Fly commented? “It sort of looks like the radiator grille of a car that almost hit me on 42nd Street.”
“It’s art deco at its most magnificent,” replied the butterfly in deep, resonant tones.
“What does art deco mean,” asked Franky Fly?
“No idea,” said the butterfly. “I heard a human use the word so I thought I’d try it out.”
“You’re a Monarch, aren’t you,” wondered Franky Fly?
“No, I’m just a regular guy,” he said. “My name’s Beauregard Butterfly. What’s yours?”
“Franky Fly,” answered Franky Fly. “Glad to meet you. Long flight up, huh?”
“I took the elevator,” Beauregard whispered. “To tell you the truth, I’m a little afraid of heights.”
“A butterfly that’s afraid of heights,” said Franky Fly? “That’s sort of odd.”
“Tell me about it! But I wasn’t always a butterfly,” Beauregard responded. “I used to be a caterpillar.”
“Get out,” shouted Franky Fly in mock amazement!
“It’s true,” Beauregard replied. “My name used to be Coronado Caterpillar … but when I came out of my chrysalis, stretched my wings and saw my reflection in a window … well, the name just didn’t seem to fit anymore. So I changed it.”
“Were you afraid of heights when you were a caterpillar,” Franky Fly asked?
“Of course not,” giggled Beauregard. “I had 18 legs and no wings. How high could I go?”
Franky Fly thought for a moment about Beauregard’s predicament.
“Wait a darn minute,” Franky Fly hollered. “You’re not afraid of heights. You’re afraid of falling from heights.”
“Look out there,” whispered Beauregard! “It’s a long way down.”
Franky Fly laughed. “But you have wings … big, beautiful wings. You couldn’t fall if you wanted to. You’d drift. You’d coast. You’d ride the wind currents until you landed … safely.”
Beauregard wrinkled his forehead in thought. He seemed to be imagining himself floating from one breeze to another. Then a broad smile covered his butterfly face.
“You’re absolutely, positively right,” exclaimed Beauregard. “I was so afraid I didn’t stop to really think about the physics of flight. The lift generated by butterflies is more than what can be accounted for by steady-state, non-transitory aerodynamics.”
“Huh,” wondered Franky Fly?
“ I’ve always wanted to see the Statue of Liberty,” said Beauregard. “How about you?”
“You’re on, pal,” shouted Franky Fly with delight. “Let’s go!”
For the rest of the day and part of the next, Franky Fly and Beauregard Butterfly visited almost every corner of New York City and even ventured into New Jersey.
On Staten Island, Franky Fly ate a bit of a Nathan’s hot dog while Beauregard sucked up some spilled Dr. Pepper. They saw a few innings of a baseball game at Yankee Stadium. They listened to street musicians in Soho. They rode the merry-go-round at Palisades Park.
They had so much fun that Franky Fly hated to say goodbye to his new friend. But he knew he must.
“I’ve had a wonderful time traveling with you, Beauregard,” said Franky Fly. “But I have move on. There’s so much more to see and I want to experience as much as I can. You’re going to live for almost a year. I only have about 18 days left.”
“I understand, “ Beauregard replied. “Thank you for being my friend, Franky Fly. I’ll never forget you.”
Franky Fly picked up his tiny little backpack and took off for the nearest airport.
As he flew, he smiled. Making friends made him feel warm inside. Or it could be the Nathan’s hot dog.
(To be continued)