A Short Book About a Long Life
by Waverly Huff
Chapter 8: Travels With Franky
For the next couple of weeks, Franky Fly traveled far and wide throughout the United States of America.
After his first experience on an airplane, he learned that it’s easier to get on with the clean-up crew. They busied themselves with picking up trash and loading food. They never noticed a fly clutching a tiny little backpack hiding in a dark corner.
In Boston, Franky Fly met a very smart grasshopper named Gladys on Boston Common. They had a lovely lunch and then went on a Duck Tour of the city and harbor. The driver of the amphibious bus wore a silly costume and was very funny.
In Memphis, Franky Fly visited Graceland, the house that once belonged to the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. There were lots of humans outside the gates taking photos. Everyone was very quiet and respectful … so quiet that Franky Fly could hear a very soft voice singing.
He flew around and found the source of the song – a beautiful green cicada with transparent, reddish wings.
“That’s lovely,” Franky Fly said when the song was over.
“Thank you,” replied the cicada. “My name’s CiCi. What’s yours?”
Franky Fly and CiCi Cicada had a long and very interesting conversation about all sorts of things. Franky Fly learned that CiCi had an extremely long life cycle of 13 to 17 years.
“Wow,” exclaimed Franky Fly. “That certainly is better than 21 days.”
“Don’t let it get to you, Franky Fly,” chirped CiCi. “It’s not how long you live, it’s how much you live that matters. And it certainly sounds like you’re having a wonderful time traveling all over and seeing the most remarkable sights.”
Everywhere he went, he made more and more friends.
In Chicago’s Millennium Park Franky Fly met Benny Beetle and his life partner Barry. The three of them stared at the giant silver bean for hours, lost in its reflections.
Franky Fly spent half a day in Kansas City, Missouri … and the other half of the day in Kansas City, Kansas. A wasp named Willie tried to explain the “same city name – two adjoining states” deal to Franky Fly. Willie Wasp finally gave up in frustration, admitting that perhaps he really didn’t understand it either.
In New Orleans he visited the French Quarter and spent an illuminating day with Montague Mantis. Montague prayed a lot but otherwise was very sociable.
Timothy Termite approached Franky Fly at the Alamo in San Antonio. He wore a very small cowboy hat and chewed on a matchstick. Franky Fly thought he was cool … except for the whole eating wood thing.
Little Rock … Santa Fe … Denver … Colorado Springs … Los Angeles … Seattle.
Somewhere along the 19th day, Franky Fly arrived in Las Vegas. Like many visitors to the city, he thought he had seen it all and done it all.
No way, José!
José was a honeybee who lived at the Wynn resort on the Las Vegas Strip. He and a few hundred of his close personal friends had formed a hive under a ledge outside the parking garage.
José Honeybee was a friendly sort, and gave Franky Fly a tour of the city.
They saw the Bellagio Fountains light up, the waters moving to the music. They went inside the casino to experience the most beautiful flower garden Franky Fly had ever seen.
At the Shark Reef in the Mandalay Bay Hotel, Franky Fly and José flew down a transparent tunnel surrounded by fish, sea turtles and even sharks.
They saw the “volcano” erupt at the Mirage, the pink flamingos in the Flamingo Garden and The Star Trek Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton.
But the best part of the tour was José. He was a natural comedian, with a sense of comic timing found in few insects. Franky Fly laughed every time José called someone “honey” or said “mind your beeswax” or “who do you think you are, the Queen Bee?”
It wasn’t until Franky Fly went to sleep that night, on a tree branch near José’s hive, that he remembered the next day was his 20th.
(To be continued)